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Feature Story:

Building Success: Business Lessons From A Small Business CEO »

By Marsha Friedman

I found a fascinating website while trolling around the Internet recently. It's called Statistic Brain (www.statisticbrain.com) and it has data and rankings on all kinds of topics, from hair loss to consumer spending.
The numbers that caught my eye had to do with start-up business failures. Did you know 25 percent of start-ups strike out within the first year? Thirty-six go down in the second, and 44 percent in the third. Nearly three-quarters of businesses that start in one year will be shuttered 10 years later.
Why? "Incompetence" is the No. 1 reason, according to Statistic Brain. My fun new website cites specific pitfalls including "living too high for the business," "lack of planning" and - this one's a doozy - "non-payment of taxes!"
All those numbers made me want to pat myself on the back...

Feature Story:

Failing To Lead: Avoid These 3 Leadership Myths »

By Erick Lauber, Ph.D.

Bradley was failing, and failing badly.
Not only did the members of his team avoid him in the lunchroom and never stop by to say “good morning,” they had begun taping a target to his back every day and everyone had signed up for archery lessons. Bradley’s leadership style just wasn’t working.
Unfortunately, Bradley’s core problem was that he suffered from several leadership myths he’d picked up from pop culture. Like many of us, he didn’t have any formal training in leadership so his beliefs came mostly from watching movies. Leadership to Bradley was square-jawed men taking on insurmountable odds, rallying the troops with award-winning speeches, and humbly waiting for passionate kisses from pretty co-stars. Bradley thought he was prepared to be a great leader because though he didn’t have a square jaw and no one had tried to kiss him in years, he had been practicing his motivational speeches in the mirror...

Feature Story:

Get It In Writing: Do You Have A Written Income Plan For Retirement? »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

"Age 85 is a bad time to go broke," says retirement planner Jeff Gorton. Personal savings, various investments and, yes, Social Security may prove to be short of what you'd expected.
"Budgeting how you spend money before retirement can often be a misleading measurement of how you'll actually spend it during retirement," says Gorton, a veteran Certified Public Accountant and Certified Financial Planner, and head of Gorton Financial Group (www.gortonfinancialgroup.com).
"Spending 40 hours a week at work not only earns you a paycheck, it also keeps you from spending money on more vacations, matinee screenings at the movie theater, extra trips to the mall, or shopping online. You need to be exceedingly realistic in your planning, and the five years before retirement are actually the most crucial in solidifying post-employment stability...

Feature Story:

Break The Habit: 4 Things To Stop Doing To Improve The Customer Experience »

By Lisa Ford

The customer experience is all about doing things that will be memorable and of value to the customer. Start with the basics and fundamentals. Once you have gotten them right, you will have earned the customer's trust and repeat business. To keep them loyal, break out and be different. There are plenty of companies offering what you offer, so be decidedly different. With that being said, there are things you must stop doing if you want to stand out.

1. Stop asking the customer to repeat information they have told you already. This includes asking them to repeat identifying information already keyed in while listening to prompts. Make certain transfers are smooth and seamless by sharing key information with the next team member...

Feature Story:

Getting Press: 4 Steps For Writing An Effective Press Release  »

By Marsha Friedman

As a rule, I believe most press releases are not worth the time it takes to write them.
Newspapers, magazines, and online news outlets publish articles, not press releases, which means publishing your news will require extra steps for them. And we all know how quickly extra steps can derail a close!
But that's not to say a press release is never appropriate, particularly for announcements that editors aren't likely to devote much space to.
For business owners, press releases are great for announcing upcoming events, awards, or reaching a milestone. There is a chance your release will catch the interest of a reporter or editor who then decides to interview you and write a story, but the odds aren't great, which is why my public relations company doesn't use them as part of our standard operating procedure...

Feature Story:

Maximize Your E-Sources: Using Social Media As A Recruiting Tool »

By Nate DaPore

"Google," which became a verb in June 2006, is among many new verbs that have transformed the way we speak--and interact. Today we "friend" someone on Facebook, "bookmark" a website, "blog" an article, and "text" from our phones. Social media is rewriting how we connect with each other--and it's happening in every aspect of our lives. Twitter transformed how we get our news; Groupon revolutionized how we consume; Foursquare revamped how we "check-in"; and now, social media is redefining how we hire.
More than a decade ago, HR saw the emergence of job boards that allowed employers to reach an expanded talent pool with the click of a few buttons. Since that time, virtual hiring portals have dominated candidate sourcing. As social media infiltrates everyday life, franchisees must leverage these resources to connect with both their consumers and candidates...

Feature Story:

Growing A Franchise: Lessons Learned Along The Way »

By D'onn Genovese

As many in the beauty industry have likely noticed, Massage Envy has experienced explosive franchise growth in the last several years. A provider of therapeutic massage, facials, and other spa services in the United States, Massage Envy has expanded to nearly 840 locations in 46 states. While this growth is exciting, increasing demand for a franchise can pose challenges for individual franchise owners to manage, especially when it comes to quickly hiring, onboarding, and managing staff.
I started our first Massage Envy franchise with my husband, son, and daughter-in-law, because the idea of running a business with family appealed to me. Furthermore, I was supportive of the spa industry's overall mission - I think we can all get behind the idea that there is too much stress in this world, and the long-term health repercussions from this are huge...

Feature Story:

The Human Element: Drive Performance By Managing The Whole Employee »

By Marty Martin Psy.D.

The term "human resources management" is essential in business. But have you noticed that the majority of the literature about the topic focuses on the "resources" and the "management" aspects but barely addresses the "human" element? As a result, most managers see their employees as resources to be managed, and not as a whole person that can contribute so much more.
Managing the whole person means acknowledging that everyone is multi-dimensional and has numerous roles to balance in life--all of which affect job performance. However, this goes much deeper than simply work-life balance. It's about recognizing all aspects of an employee to ensure a work-life "fit" that benefits the company and each individual. In fact, when you focus on the whole person rather than just on an employee's work performance, you build more meaningful connections with employees, resulting in greater loyalty and productivity...

Feature Story:

Beyond Just Surviving: How To Awaken The Steve Jobs In You »

By Michael E. Gerber

Just like everyone else, small business owners get caught up in their personal economic successes and woes. They're trying to find more time; trying to deal with the exigencies of life; trying to just survive.
The latter is both the cause and result of the broken and failed businesses we see in such large numbers. I know because I've been helping entrepreneurs fix their businesses for 40 years. In that time, I've also found a few small business creators who have discovered the secret of what I call "going beyond." They go beyond the ordinary. They go beyond the seeming limits of their personal economy and the barriers that keep so many others consumed with just getting by.
Early in my career, the driving question became: What's the difference between the survivors and the thrivers? What's the difference between entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs and the Murray Smiths who were my clients?
With only $5,000, Jobs and his partner and an unlikely idea they called the personal computer created what would become the most valuable enterprise on the planet: Apple, Inc...

Feature Story:

Well-Balanced Life »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

5 tips that go a long way towards a healthy "life worth"

People are overwhelmed with the complexities of their own lives and are desperately seeking a way to maximize happiness in their home and work lives, says Gary Kunath, an entrepreneur, speaker, and former CEO who works with some of the world's top corporations and business schools.
"I used to be caught up in the spin cycle of thinking that net worth automatically afforded me life worth," says Kunath, author of Life ... Don't Miss It. I Almost Did: How I Learned To Live Life To The Fullest (www.lifedontmissitbook.com).
"I sacrificed time with my family with the justification that I was providing necessary material things, but at a certain point you realize that money doesn't make you rich, it just allows you to buy more stuff...

Feature Story:

A Disengaged Workforce: Recognize 'Human Equity' And Focus On Individuals' Strengths »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

A Gallup poll from earlier this year shed light on an ugly little secret in the business world: Most American workers either hate their jobs or don't care one way or the other about them.
Less than a third of Americans are actively engaged in their work, meaning they're passionate about it, enthusiastic, and energetic. They're consistently productive, and high performing.
Gallup estimates the 20 million who are "actively disengaged" - openly negative and unhappy have a staggering effect on the economy, costing the United States $450 to $550 billion each year in lost productivity.
"To engage the 70 percent of non-committal or 'actively disengaged' employees, business managers need to change how they view human capital," says Trevor Wilson, CEO of TWI Inc...

Feature Story:

Franchise Sales: Setting Standards And Measuring Sales Performance »

By Jeff Platt

We asked Jeff Platt, CEO of Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park, how the brand sets standards and measures the performance its sales and development department. Sky Zone, creator of the world's first all-trampoline, walled playing courts, opened its first trampoline park in 2004 in Las Vegas. Today the brand has more than 30 parks in the U.S. and Canada.

We first pay close attention to our leads to determine how many we are driving and where they originate. Most important, we evaluate the effectiveness of our marketing initiatives by conducting a comprehensive analysis of the results achieved in comparison to the amount of money spent. For example, say we spent $100,000 on franchise marketing and closed 50 deals. We would have averaged a marketing cost of $2,000 per license sold...

Feature Story:

Happy Values: NBA Co-Owner Shares His 5 Tips For Staying Happy »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

In his years as a successful entrepreneur creating and selling corporations to the likes of Coca-Cola and Kimberly-Clark, Richard Jaffe, one of the owners of the Phoenix Suns, found a few constants to guide him in business and in life.
"Love myself; live my values, and learn to give back," says Jaffe, who gained respect as an inspirational leader.
The most important of these and the key to happiness, he says, is learning to love himself. It's a recurring theme in the poetry he's been writing for decades and recently published in, Inner Peace & Happiness: Reflections to Grow Your Soul www.richardjaffe.net.
"I've found that loving myself is fundamental to my happiness," he says. "The one person I have a relationship with for my entire life is myself, so it's essential to make that relationship my priority...

Feature Story:

Understanding Millennials: What You Need To Know About This Generation »

By T. Scott Gross

The Millennial generation is here. They feel entitled. They negotiate everything. And they'll tell you exactly what is on their mind...even if you don't want to know. Let's see you make a team, and a profit out of that!
Before we go any further (and before those of you with short attention spans form an opinion and clock out)...let me apologize. Sort of.
When talking about Millennials I like to warn people not to bucket. I warn them and then go right ahead and do it. I bucket. It's easy. It's convenient. It's fun. And it makes about as much sense as asking, "What's your sign?"

What Defines a Millennial?
A generation is defined by its value-shaping experiences as anchored by the media and ceremony of the times...

Feature Story:

What Are Your Customers Telling You? »

By Jack Mackey

Demolishing three customer experience survey myths

Without customers, you are out of business.
It seems to me that part of learning "how-to-make-customers-loyal" is to ask customers to give you feedback on their experiences of doing business with you. Yet some franchisees still push back against the idea of surveying their customers. Why is that? The arguments against measuring the customer experience usually start with these three:
Myth #1: No one takes these surveys. If you are a person who never takes surveys, it's easy to assume that no one else does. Guess what? Millions of people take customer satisfaction surveys every day. The fact that these survey-taking-customers don't think and act like you demonstrates exactly why you should ask them what they think!
The truth is a range of customers take surveys--from satisfied to dissatisfied...

Feature Story:

Teach Your Children: They Will Inherit Your Assets, Not Your Wisdom »

By Carol Schleif

"Death and taxes." Given that estate planning combines two of the most dreaded eventualities, is it any wonder that most folks have a difficult time warming to the topic?
A monetary legacy can provide an incomparable "leg up" and open a world of opportunity to the next generation--if that generation is adequately prepared. Inelegant handling of the training stage can, however, create generations of enmity, or breed unmotivated offspring with an entitlement attitude. Missteps are easy to make, since the issues are complex and multi-faceted. Here are a few key areas parents should consider as they grapple with intergenerational transfer issues:

Feature Story:

Business Busters: 10 Ways To Avoid Career Killers »

By Daniel C. Steenerson

Fundamentals are stressed in everything from sports to business. Focus in on basic tackling and blocking and success is much more likely to follow. Here are 10 ways to avoid career killers.

10. Set 'em and forget 'em goals. Successful people treat goals as "do or die."
9. Complex communication. You can't persuade people who don't understand. Keep it super simple.
8.  One-shot-wonder effort. If it's worth trying once, it's worth following up and persevering. Most achievements occur after several rounds of follow up.
7. Treating others how you want to be treated. Instead, deploy Tony Alessandra's Platinum Rule: Treat others how they want to be treated.
6. Trying to make brilliant decisions instead of facing the hard decisions...

Feature Story:

Customer Focus: 5 Steps To Keep Your Customers Loyal »

By Lisa Ford

Customers are fickle, demanding, and opinionated. That's why keeping your customers loyal, satisfied, and saying positive things about you is crucial. There are plenty of things that must be done via your technology, people, and processes to make your culture customer focused. Here are five strategies that need to be incorporated into your daily efforts.

Feature Story:

Plastic Fantastic: How To Create Key Tags And Loyalty Cards That Get Results »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Businesses that offer plastic membership cards, loyalty cards, and key tags to their clients and customers are giving their customers a great incentive to keep coming back and take part in their loyalty programs, promotions, and special offers. To make sure that your customers will want to join your program over that of a competitor, you should put effort into designing an eye-catching and effective key tag or membership card that will appeal to and attract more customers. These five easy steps to designing an effective key tag will help you get started.

Step 1: Develop your message
First it is important to develop the message for your key tag. What will it be used for and what is its key purpose? Ask yourself who will be the target audience...

Feature Story:

How Would You Grade Your Sales Team? »

By Marc Kiekenapp

How would you grade your sales effort? Is a "C" okay for your company? Are your competitors scoring higher?

With 2013 trending to be one of the best years in the recent past for franchising growth, we must make sure we are prepared to take advantage and grow our franchise brands.

To do that, we need to examine our systems and procedures and create a "scorecard" for success. Today's franchise buyers expect the best in marketing materials, in systems, and in professional sales consultants who can guide them to a franchise that can meet their financial and personal goals.

The franchise systems that will be most successful today will have taken the time and invested the capital to implement the critical changes they need for success...



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