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Feature Story:

Partners In Arms: IFA Teams Up With Job Creations Network To Defend Franchising »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Franchising is fighting back.
Organized labor and activist groups have been hammering away at the franchise business way of life. But now the International Franchise Association (IFA) and Job Creations Network, an advocacy organization dedicated to educating employees about government policies that negatively impact their business, have formed a dynamic duo to help defend franchising.
The new partnership will provide IFA and its membership non-partisan education tools about how existing and prospective government policies affect their workplace, now and in the future.
"Millions of jobs and small businesses are now at risk due to the unprecedented nature of the recent National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruling that franchisors and franchisees can be designated as joint-employers," said IFA President & CEO Steve Caldeira, CFE...

Feature Story:

For Sale!: Ensuring A Successful Business Or Property Sale »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Corporations are holding record levels of cash, interest rates are low and the housing market is rebounding. The result? Merger and acquisitions professionals are buying more businesses and high-end homes are selling faster - Silicon Valley had a 26 percent increase in sales of $1.5 million-and-up houses in the first half of last year.
If you're considering selling a business or property in 2014 - while business is good and before mortgage rates climb - keep in mind: Focusing only on the price can short-change you in the long run. "A lot of sellers are rushing to close the deal because they're worried about what may be around the corner," says attorney John Hartog of Hartog & Baer Trust and Estate Law. "My first rule: Sell smart, not fast...

Feature Story:

Positional Power: 5 Ways To Find Common Ground With Your Business Partners »

By Dan Schneider

If you happen to be an active majority partner in a business, you may sometimes find yourself struggling for alignment with your minority partner or partners, especially if the minority partners are also involved in the business. They assume because they have some percentage of ownership that they may have the positional power to make unilateral decisions that move the business in a direction that suits their liking. In short, they throw their "weight" around; and they pay little attention to the unintended consequences of doing so.
If you currently find yourself in this position, here are some approaches that many have used successfully to get everyone moving in the same direction again. Your success with them will depend largely on how strongly you believe and how well you remember that the deceptive or coercive use of these principles can further complicate the situation...

Feature Story:

Phishing - Don't Get Hooked!: The Basics On Avoiding This Old-School Scam »

By David Ellis

Phishing may be old news, but it still works. Ongoing education about phishing scams is essential for anyone who uses your system. It doesn't matter if you have the most secure security system in the world. It only takes one untrained employee to be fooled by a phishing attack and give away the data you've worked so hard to protect.
As part of your security awareness program (PCI requirement 12.6.1), your personnel should be trained at least annually on phishing. I recommend sending monthly memos, or displaying a poster outlining the telltale signs of a phishing attempt. (You can also hang this article in your break room!)
Phishing continues to remain a lucrative criminal profession in our email-packed world. Hackers send out more than 150 million fraudulent emails daily, hoping just a few will click on attached links, documents, or pictures (80,000 people fall victim to these scams each day)...

Feature Story:

Anger Management: Handling Irate Customers And Difficult Situations  »

By John Tschohl

It's a tough job but somebody's gotta do it.
Facing off with a screaming, unreasonable, irrational customer represents the ultimate test of any employee's service skills. It can take you to your breaking point if you are not aware and careful. Staying grounded and above the fray requires you to find inner strength, and persevere beyond the initial difficulties.
With many employees a screaming irate customer will ruin their day. It's hard to keep motivated when 20 minutes into your shift a customer lets you have it. The bad news is most employees have never been trained to successfully handle these customers. Their ego gets in the way. They call management for support. In some call centers the employee just hangs up thinking no one will know...

Feature Story:

Recruiting And Hiring: Experts Offer 6 Ways To Use "Inboarding" To Improve Employee Productivity »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Four out of five companies can testify that onboarding new hires leads to such positives as higher job satisfaction, better job performance, greater commitment to the organization, and stress reduction. According to the author of a new book on business trends, many companies are now doing the same for existing employees, a process called "inboarding."
"Inboarding is really just an extension of the idea of onboarding. There is no reason to think that it is too late for the rest of the roster who arrived after onboarding began or have already gone through onboarding," says Dana Borowka, co-editor along with Ellen Borowka of the new anthology Cracking the Business Code.
According to Larry Cassidy, a contributor to the new book, the purpose of inboarding is to set existing, rather than new, employees up for greater success...

Feature Story:

Talent Management: Hiring, Training, And Retaining Great Employees »

By Eddy Goldberg

The benefits of having employees who are better trained, more engaged, and who stay longer are clear. You might even call it the Holy Grail of HR. What's not so clear is exactly how to achieve that cherished goal. Some multi-unit operators rely on their franchisor-provided training, but that primarily teaches new hires about the brand and how to perform their job. Others supplement this with their own programs, adding training and education in customer service skills, teamwork, coaching, and their organization's values and culture. But not everyone has the resources--or the know-how--to do that.
One basic choice in how to hire, train, and retain top-performing employees is whether to do it in-house, or to outsource parts (or all) of their employee and management training...

Feature Story:

Come Together: CEO Shares Tips For Turning Wasted Meetings Into Fruitful Gatherings »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

In survey after survey company meetings get knocked by everyone from employees to senior executives as being among the biggest waste of work hours.
In one poll, by Office Team, 45 percent of senior executives said their firms would be more productive if they banned all meetings at least one day a week!
"The problem that often occurs - beyond the obvious, like lacking a clear agenda - is the underlying current of competition that each person brings to the table," says Berny Dohrmann, chairman and founder of CEO Space International, and author of Redemption: The Cooperation Revolution.
"Competition pulls people apart; cooperation brings them together. Signs that competition is causing unproductive meetings include one or two people dominating the floor; individuals touting their achievements; people consistently failing to contribute their ideas because they fear being criticized or ridiculed," he says...

Feature Story:

High Return Rate: Avoiding The Most Common Mistakes That Cause Employees To Leave »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Employment rates in the United States are steadily increasing, meaning businesses are growing and, as a result, seeking the right talent to fit their teams. With all the positive growth, one thing business owners have to be cognizant of is the danger of employee turnover.
Terry Powell, founder of AdviCoach, a national provider of business coaching and advisory services customized for small- to mid-size businesses, says that "identifying the type of employee you want and how to reach that talent may be one of the hardest parts of the hiring process. However, once you know who you want to hire, it's important to have the systems in place to keep that employee happy to avoid costly 'repairs' down the line."
On average, turnover costs U...

Feature Story:

Healthy Choices?: Franchisees Have Only 6 Months To Comply With The ACA »

By Kerry Pipes

It's mid-2014 and nearly every American is required by the government to have health insurance coverage as outlined under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). However, multi-unit franchisees, who have been anxiously tracking the ACA, were granted a temporary reprieve and are not required to offer full-time employees insurance coverage until January 1, 2015.
But that's not stopping some franchisees from taking a proactive approach, offering their full-time employees coverage now. Others are taking a wait-until-it's-required approach. They both have compelling reasons.

Just the facts
The ACA was passed on March 23, 2010, upheld by the Supreme Court in 2012, and has been through more than 50 votes in the House to repeal, change, or otherwise weaken it...

Feature Story:

Corporate Culture Rules: The Right Culture Fosters Engagement, Loyalty, And Productivity »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Corporate Culture Rules: The Right Culture Fosters Engagement, Loyalty, And Productivity

If you're the CEO of a company, the realization that much of what you do can be copied by your competitors may be distressing, but veteran sales manager, consultant, and business speaker Jack Daly says not so fast.
"Sure your competition copy what they can, but there are two things they can't: your people and your culture," says Daly, author of Hyper Sales Growth, (www.jackdaly.net).
"I specialize in corporate coaching and sales, the latter of which really counts on the talent and sustained motivation of the sales force. Even your best salesperson needs that extra shot from time to time, and the best way to ensure a driven team is to create a culture that fosters the results you want," he says...

Feature Story:

Negotiating Success: 6 Tactics To Becoming A Better Negotiator »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

If you think negotiating is about winning or losing, you have already lost and should keep reading.
Negotiating is about striking the best possible deal between parties without short-changing any party involved in the transaction. However, many negotiators disregard the goals of the process and allow their emotions to take hold of them. This could crash a productive or profitable deal.
To avoid simple mishaps, Jenny Q. Ta, entrepreneur, author and CEO of Sqeeqee.com, the first-of-its-kind social "networthing" site, offers six strategies to follow that will help you become a better negotiator:

1) Plan Ahead:
Make a list of meeting goals and items that should be discussed, as well as a list of possible outcomes...

Feature Story:

Neo Guerilla: 4 Fresh And Novel Approaches To Guerilla Marketing »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

The continuing evolution of media consumption has made it increasingly challenging for an advertiser to both capture and hold an audience's attention.
"A decade or two ago, media was relatively consolidated; advertisers knew they could reach a significant segment of their targeted audience via newspapers and television commercials, which almost seems quaint today," says advertising entrepreneur Patrick Walsh. "We live in what academics call the Age of Choice, where reaching a broad audience and funneling their attention to a business has become trickier than ever."
In the past, guerilla marketing - the unconventional and creative use of traditional marketing tools like stickers, print ads, and billboards - has been an effective means of jolting public awareness...

Feature Story:

Social Media Tweaking: 3 Ways To Benefit From Paid Ads And Boosted Posts On Facebook »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Social Media Tweaking: 3 ways to Benefit From Paid Ads and Boosted Posts on Facebook

It seems nothing changes faster than the big social media platforms - Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. No sooner do marketers figure out how to best promote a product or business than they change the rules!
That's been especially true for Facebook, which had to find new ways to make money after going public two years ago. Twitter has also been making changes since its IPO in November, but most of them - including a visual redesign, tagging people, and uploading multiple photos - are geared toward user friendliness. Even Google+, owned by Google, which went public way back in 2004, is constantly tweaking.
But the tweaks bringing the most squeals of protest are those being made by Facebook...

Feature Story:

Breaking Through The Clutter: Get Your Customers From Where They Are To Where You'd Like Them »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

There's a lot of competition out there. As the economy continues to show signs of improvement, new franchises are entering the marketplace while existing brands open new stores or add new service providers.
While this growth is certainly positive, many of us are noting an almost opposite trend in our customers. We may be giving them more options, but their waning attention spans and "get-it-now" mentalities make it even more challenging for us to actually get their business.
How do you break through the competitive clutter with your advertising message? Reach your customers where they are - and inspire them to move to where you'd like them to be.

Location, Location, Location
Many successful businesses use geo-targeting to deliver promotional messages that resonate with their unique demographic niches...

Feature Story:

Retail Traffic Reports: Interpreting The Indicator Data With A Grain Of Salt »

By Mark Ryski

Retail traffic is an important indicator of shopper behavior and a bellwether for retail sales results. If more people are visiting stores, there are more opportunities for retailers to convert shoppers into sales. When traffic is down, retailers have fewer opportunities, thus, typically, fewer sales. More traffic doesn't guarantee more sales, but store traffic and sales are correlated.
But traffic is notoriously difficult to measure. If you scanned the headlines about retail traffic during this past holiday season, you would likely have been more confused than enlightened. Depending upon which index you referred to, retail traffic was either significantly down, somewhat down, or up.
Why are there such discrepancies in these indexes - and whom should you believe?

Is retail traffic up or down?
The answer depends on where your numbers come from...

Feature Story:

Overcoming Excuses: 6 Ways To Gain The Edge And Meet Your Goals »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Great people throughout history often fail, quite miserably, before finally reaching their goals, says international business strategist Dan Waldschmidt.
"Van Gogh sold only one painting during his lifetime; Winston Churchill lost every public election until becoming prime minister at age 62; Henry Ford went bankrupt five times; Albert Einstein was a terrible student and was expelled from school; Sigmund Freud was booed from a stage," says Waldschmidt, author of Edgy Conversations: How Ordinary People Achieve Outrageous Success, (www.EdgyConversations.com).
"Ideas, brilliance, genius - they all mean nothing without the guts, passion, and tenacity necessary to make your dream a reality. But often, people fall back on excuses and give up on trying to reach their goals...

Feature Story:

Time For Common-ism?: Managing Uncertainty Through Cooperation »

By Darrell Johnson

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) implementation, potential minimum wage increases, and likely overtime rule changes add to the ongoing challenges of managing the expense side of any business. For multi-unit operators, the implications are increased costs. However, there are a few efficiencies to be gained from the scale multi-unit operators enjoy that can lessen the impact.
The ACA represents one opportunity for efficiency for larger multi-unit operators not shared with smaller franchised and most non-franchised SMEs subject to the 50-employee trigger. Managing a larger pool of hourly labor employees allows greater flexibility. It also comes with additional costs in the form of management time; but therein resides the efficiency, in that incremental additions to labor, in theory, should not have similar incremental additions to management time if management is operating efficiently...

Feature Story:

In-House Or Out?: Focus On Your Best And Outsource The Rest »

By Eddy Goldberg

Franchising is all about outsourcing. Someone comes up with a great concept and essentially outsources its growth to franchisees so corporate can focus on its core task of system development. Why not take that idea and apply it to your own multi-unit organization? After all, if the prevailing wisdom at larger companies is to focus on their core competencies and outsource the rest, why should it be any different for you?
"The important thing to remember is to take on the responsibility for the things you do best. Outsource the things that are time-consuming or a challenge for you, so that you can focus on strategy and growth," says Sean Falk, a multi-unit franchisee with 12 units in the food sector.
Key questions in making a decision to outsource include: What are your core competencies? Can you afford it at this stage of development, or are you still feeling you have to keep doing it yourself? What should you outsource, when, and for how long? And perhaps most important: Can you let go?
Smaller and younger companies often don't have the $150,000 to $175,000 to hire an in-house CFO, or an in-house sales person at $60,000 to $80,000 a year plus 5 percent of sales...

Feature Story:

A Balanced Approach: Fundamentals And Feelings Can Co-Exist »

By Carol Schleif

If the nation hadn't been in the midst of a government shutdown and debt ceiling debate, last year's Nobel Prize winners in economics probably would have received more attention and commentary. Two of the three winners--Eugene Fama of the University of Chicago and Yale's Robert Shiller--are as different as Tea Party Republicans and Democrats in their theories about the rise and fall of stock prices and other assets. Investors can learn a lot from both.
To Fama, markets are efficient systems where relevant information is immediately and rationally reflected in stock prices. So, for the most widely researched portions of the market, such as domestic U.S. large cap stocks, that means active management is nearly impossible.
Numerous studies show just how difficult it is for active managers to consistently outperform the market when operating in the most efficient and liquid asset classes, since thousands of other individuals are able to simultaneously adjust to each bit of information just as quickly...



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