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Feature Story:

Local Store Marketing 101: Molly Maid Case Study »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Twenty-year-old Michael Silva-Nash's family bought the Greater Little Rock Molly Maid franchise in 2005. "If you were part of the family, you had to come to work at Molly Maid, folding rags, filing, weekends," he says. Soon he was making customer phone calls and beginning to take on marketing-related activities. Now he's appearing on a local television station sharing cleaning tips on the air.
About a year ago, they revamped their marketing. "We started doing radio with a local personality we enjoy listening to and who spoke to our clients, the women we were trying to reach. She's almost a personal endorsement, like a friend," he says.
For someone so young, he seems to have his fingers on all the right marketing buttons. "You have to adapt your marketing to the local area and tie all your marketing together," he says...

Feature Story:

Getting It Right: 10 Tips For Hiring Winning Employees »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Earlier this year we interviewed representatives from companies that specialize in helping business operators hire smarter. These experts identified characteristics of the best hiring strategies and processes that can be utilized by multi-unit franchisees. Some of these may seem like no-brainers, while others may provide an "Aha!" moment. Implementing these practices into your hiring process will generate improvements in the performance of both your front-line employees and your bottom line.

Feature Story:

Whose Gift Card Is It, Anyway?: Navigating The Tricky Waters Of Escheat Law For Franchises »

By Ronald Tramazzo

Gift cards! Often viewed as giveaways or as marketing ploys. You may want to think twice before you throw them into your offerings mix -- there are potential obstacles you may not have considered. Franchisors sometimes offer gift cards for their franchisees to sell, usually through programs funded by the franchise system's ad fund. The big question to consider is, once the franchise system collects the funds, what happens with the unused portion (the "breakage") of these gift cards? Are these funds kept by the franchisor? Are they turned over to the franchisee?
Many states have "escheat" statutes (the process of re-assigning legal title of unclaimed or abandoned assets to a state authority) that require these funds be turned over to the state after the passage of a prescribed period of time...

Feature Story:

E-Satisfaction: Everything You Do Should Focus On The Customer »

By John Tschohl

"A business that fails to satisfy its customers is worth nothing."

I made that statement in e-Service, a book I wrote in 2001 about how to build a successful e-commerce business, and it's as true today as it was then. If you don't give your customers what they want, when they want it, and how they want it, you won't be in business long.
If you want to survive--and thrive--especially during these tough economic times, it's critical that you focus on customer service. If you don't believe that, look at Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of amazon.com, which had sales in 2011 of $48 billion, a 41 percent increase over the previous year.
Amazon has 164 million customers, more than 20 million products - and a reputation of providing unprecedented customer service...

Feature Story:

Shifting Control: Survey Finds Employers And Employees Reaping Rewards Of Healthy Choices »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

More employers are offering benefits that encourage employees to improve their health in 2012, according to a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) released this past summer.
Over the last five years, benefits that reward employees for improving their health have jumped - a sign that organizations recognize employees value these benefits and are looking for ways to cut business costs. For example, the percentage of employers offering health and lifestyle coaching jumped from 33 percent in 2008 to 45 percent in 2012, and rewards or bonuses for completing a health and wellness program increased from 23 percent in 2008 to 35 percent in 2012.
"Employers recognize that providing employees with the opportunity to improve their health can increase morale, confidence, and productivity," says Mark J...

Feature Story:

Guerrilla Marketing In The Real World »

By Eddy Goldberg

Innovative, creative, low-cost marketing tips you can use

Many consider a mailer not delivered by mail--placed on the hood of a car or on a doorknob of a house--to be guerrilla marketing. This is like comparing a paint-by-number portrait to the Mona Lisa.
True guerrilla marketing is much more bold, creative, and, most important, surprising. In fact, all successful examples of this type of marketing feature unexpected placement, timing, or messaging.
Apples on trees in the middle of winter, a carton of undamaged eggs on a baggage claim carousel, a crushed car in the middle of a valet parking lot--you must understand what is expected in a situation and then do the opposite.
It's not a marketing medium for those who prefer to play it safe...

Feature Story:

Above & Beyond: Creating A Culture Of Surprise And Delight »

By Jack Mackey

The Multi-Unit Franchising Conference was held in Las Vegas this past April. Would it surprise you to know that 70 percent of all revenue generated by Las Vegas casinos is non-gaming revenue? It's true. You can walk around the Strip and see that Las Vegas offers many experiences other than gambling, and that, after years of having the reputation of being "sin city," Las Vegas is becoming a family town. When someone pointed this out to me, I started to notice all the inter-generational activity. For those who attended, did you notice how many older men were with their 30-something daughters? It was great to see how the family is getting back together in Las Vegas.
I couldn't resist telling you that story, and I have a point to make. I continue to admire how Southwest Airlines is the only air carrier that uses humor to surprise and delight customers...

Feature Story:

Veteran Experience: 2012 Military Friendly Franchises List Is Out »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

The total number of veteran-owned franchise businesses among the most military-friendly franchise companies jumped nearly 35 percent to a record 11,469 in the last year, with the average percentage of veteran-owned franchise businesses in military-friendly franchise systems climbing to 28 percent, a spike from 17 percent just a year ago.
As a result, veteran-owned franchises generate more than $41 billion annually and employ 1.5 million people. You can see which brands made it onto G.I. Jobs' 2012 Military Friendly Franchises list here (http://www.militaryfranchising.com).
The list satisfies veterans' need to know which franchises they should consider, which ones give them the best financial incentives and training, and which have the highest number of veteran franchisees...

Feature Story:

When Disaster Calls: Do You Have A Crisis Management Program In Place? »

By Eric Reed

Any competent business management planning will include a plan for potential disasters. Disasters come in all shapes and sizes and at any given moment. Disaster plans help to reduce the negative impact that the company will face in such hard times. Crisis management planning is the component to disaster recovery that can make or break the future of the business.
Creating a Crisis Management Planning Team to handle any and all potentially disastrous situations should be a top priority for business management planning. This team will absorb all of the research, planning, and development of disaster recovery plans.
The first thing the team will want to do is identify what threats there are to the company. What disasters, foreseen and unforeseen, can demolish the business? For example, consider the physical location of the business...

Feature Story:

Shake Up Sales: 3 Ways To Give Your Business A Boost In A Slow Market »

By Will Dylan

A slow market can be especially tough on small businesses, as they are often run on a shoestring budget which leaves very little room for the cost cutting and expense reductions that corporations implement in times like these. Whether it's real estate or certain sectors within the retail industry, there are always ups and downs in various industries.
Since you don't have a lot of room to cut costs for your business, the only other way to boost bottom line profits is to increase revenue. With that in mind, here are three things you can do today to shake up your business and stir up some sales if you find yourself in a slowing market.

Offer a Deal: Discounting is not a long-term strategy for success, unless you're the size of Walmart and can afford to make small margins by moving huge volumes of product...

Feature Story:

A Passion For Business: Examples Of Great Leaders Who Had Emotional Commitment »

By Timothy Bednarz

Depths of personal commitment allowed the great leaders to execute well in all aspects of their business, as well as to overcome any barriers and adversities they encountered. Sam Walton (Walmart) noted, "I think I overcame every single one of my personal shortcomings by the sheer passion I brought to my work. I don't know if you're born with this kind of passion, or if you can learn it. But I do know you need it. If you love your work, you will be out there every day trying to do it the best you possibly can, and pretty soon everybody around you will catch the passion from you - like a fever."
Admiral Hyman Rickover (U.S. Navy) supported this perspective when he stated, "When doing a job - any job - one must feel that he owns it, and act as though he will remain in that job forever...

Feature Story:

Developing Leaders: Implementing A Mentoring Program That Gets Results »

By Greg Smith

How do you retain and prepare your best talent to lead? Mentoring programs are one of the most effective tools in achieving business results. The authors of the book, War on Talent reported, "Of those who have had a highly helpful mentoring experience, 95 percent indicated it motivated them to do their very best, 88 percent said it made them less likely to leave their company, and 97 percent said it contributed to their success at the company."
Many organizations have discovered providing a mentor for high performing employees not only helps them settle into their job and company environment, but also contributes to a lower employee turnover rate and greater job satisfaction.
A mentor is essentially someone who serves as a counselor or guide...

Feature Story:

Customer Care: Hiring For Outstanding Customer Service »

By Mel Kleiman

Let me get right to the point. The keys to success in any business are: (1) the quality of the products or services you offer, and (2) your employees' ability to deliver outstanding customer service. And I'm not the only one who thinks so.
When 555 CEOs of mid-sized to large firms were asked to name the most important source of competitive advantage, product or service quality and customer service came in neck-and-neck at 45 and 44 percent, respectively.
Ted Levitt, former editor of Harvard Business Review, summed it up this way: "The purpose of business is to create and keep a customer." And the best way to keep customers is through exceptional customer service. Yet, customer service specialists report the average business loses half of its customers every 5 years and doesn't even realize they lost the customer or know why...

Feature Story:

Stimulus Package: Ten Principles Of Employee Motivation »

By Nido Qubein

One of the questions I hear most often from executives is "How do I motivate my employees to do the things I want them to do?"
The answer is: You don't!
We can't motivate people. They are already motivated. But we can determine what motivates them and use this knowledge to channel their energies toward our company goals.
From my 20 years of helping executives solve their people challenges, I've learned a few basic principles about motivation. Let me share them with you:

1. All People Are Motivated.
Some people are like water in a faucet. They have the motivation; all you have to provide is the opportunity. The water is already motivated to flow. But it doesn't have the opportunity until you open the tap...

Feature Story:

Uncommonly Poor: 12 Simple Solutions To Create Exceptional Customer Service »

By Lisa Ford

Customer service is mostly average, mediocre, or worse. I find it amazing that the delivery of high quality customer service is so uncommon even with all the talk and focus on the topic. When speaking to groups of CEOs recently, the attendees indicated that customer service is "not rocket science." The reality is many of their employees are not delivering the basics. It is tough to move on to a discussion of "customer experience" when the basics are not the standard.
Here is my list of the 12 fundamentals of customer service. The list is short and to the point - no need to elaborate on simple steps that should be the norm for all teams interacting with your customer.

Feature Story:

What's Next?: Four Trends In Customer Experience Management »

By Jack Mackey

At the recent Multi-Unit Foodservice Operators Conference, Service Management Group (SMG) conducted interviews with executives on how their customer satisfaction efforts are working. These conversations ended with the question, "What's next in customer experience management?" Here are four key trends that emerged from our study.

Trend 1: Executives are looking for more than just scores from their customer satisfaction measurement programs; they want to know how to improve the customer experience.
Multi-unit managers know unit-specific improvement plans are needed. These plans should be based on improving the customer experience where those improvements will have the biggest impact on raising average transaction amount, driving frequency, and stimulating intent to recommend...

Feature Story:

Building An 'A' Team: It Starts With The Hiring Process »

By John Tschohl

Steve Jobs was a master at many things. He built Apple into a multi-billion giant, and he did it in large part because of the people he hired. His goal, he said, was to hire people who were creative, wickedly smart, and slightly rebellious to help him build "the company that would invent the future."
To say that he met his goal would be a gross understatement. In Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson quotes his subject as saying, "I've learned over the years that, when you have really good people, you don't have to baby them. By expecting them to do great things, you can get them to do great things. The original Mac team taught me that A-plus players like to work together, and they don't like it if you tolerate B work."
Bradford D. Smart, Ph...

Feature Story:

Taking One From The Team: Seven Negative Roles And Behaviors That Undermine Team Performance »

By Timothy Bednarz

Along with the existence of positive and constructive team roles, negative and destructive agendas can emerge that undermine the ability of individual teams to function and perform adequately.
Negative and destructive roles emerge for a variety of reasons, including personal agendas, resistance to change, immaturity, and lack of motivation and/or team leadership and management.
One of a leader's major roles is to observe individual team members and watch for destructive and negative behaviors. When problems surface, they need to encourage the team to collectively recognize and handle them within the team environment. If this fails, it is up to leaders to take specific action with the offending individuals.
Leaders need to be watchful for the following negative roles and behaviors within their individual teams:

Aggressor
The aggressor criticizes everything said within the team environment, and is in effect an active naysayer...

Feature Story:

Capital Access: Sunita Sagar Takes A Turnaround Shot »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Sunita Sagar got her first shot at franchising in 2007, when she was given the chance to buy an underperforming Denny's in Campbell, Calif.
"That restaurant was going downhill," she recalls, "and we turned that restaurant upside down. We turned the people around, we turned the operation around, and we turned the sales around. We started staffing the restaurant with the right people, and then we had an opportunity to purchase more. So we bought three stores in Fresno in 2008."
Sagar stepped in on each, where she could see for herself what needed to change. "We took over those three stores and managed those stores for a few weeks," she says. "We made some staffing changes, found people right for the business, and took a few months to bring those stores around...

Feature Story:

Health-Scare Reform: "There's Still More That We Don't Know Than We Do." »

By Debbie Selinsky

Since national health care reform was signed into law in March 2010, it has generated strong reaction from multi-unit franchisees and small-business owners across the nation. Among its provisions, the law ("Obamacare" to its opponents and critics) requires employers with more than 50 full-time-equivalent (FTE) employees to provide healthcare insurance or face harsh penalties. However, when it comes to the actual impact of the law, the sentiments of many franchisees can be summed up as, "There's still more that we don't know than we do."
Misty Chally, deputy executive director of the Coalition of Franchisee Associations, agrees there's still much to be learned about the law. "But as of today, in 2014 there will be a mandate for all employers with 50 or more full-time-equivalent employees to provide health insurance coverage," she says...



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