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Feature Story:

6 Keys To Keep Your Franchise System Growing »

By Steve Olson

To stand out among the more than 3,000 active franchise opportunities in today's market, you must seize your buyers' attention with benefit-driven programs and systems. Stay tuned to the cycles of the economy, your industry, new competitive influences, and buyer interests. Savvy franchisors do what it takes to 1) maintain compelling franchise programs, 2) remain sensitive to their buying audience, 3) understand what those buyers want, and 4) know how to package their opportunity to successfully recruit them.

Here are 6 key tips on how to keep your successful franchise system moving ahead in today's marketplace.

Feature Story:

A Business Call: Giving Call-In Customers Great Service »

By John Tschohl

You have only one chance to make a first impression.
While that statement is something you've probably heard at least 1,000 times, many of us think of it only in terms of meeting someone in person. We fail to realize the importance of that first impression when meeting someone over the telephone.
The truth of the matter is that, when interacting with a customer on the telephone, you must work even harder to ensure a great first impression than you would if you were meeting face to face. Why? Because your voice--and your words--must compensate for the lack of visuals that would connect you with your customer when talking to each other in person.
Here are some tips I urge you to put into practice in order to provide your call-in customers with the best possible service:

1...

Feature Story:

Cheating The Family »

By Lois Lang, Psy.D.

How to Handle Embezzlement in a Family Business
Hearing about embezzlement in a public company rarely shocks anyone, but when it happens in a family business, people are often stunned. "How could he steal from his own family?" "Doesn't she know she's hurting her siblings/cousins/parents?"
As tough and painful as embezzlement is, it's not as uncommon as many of us would like to think. Sure the kind of embezzlement that results in jail time is rare, but other levels of it happen daily.
How could this happen? Many factors lead to embezzlement, including chronic financial strain, a general sense of family entitlement, lack of internal company controls, and the reality or perception of being overworked and underpaid. To make matters worse, often the embezzler doesn't even know that what he or she is doing is wrong...

Feature Story:

Work Order Relief: Track Your Facilities Assets To Save Time And Money »

By Kellie D'Andrea

How much maintenance information do you have on all of your locations? Do you know how many of your HVAC units will need to be replaced this year? Are your signs still under warranty? What maintenance is the landlord required to do, and when? How often do your floors need to be stripped and waxed? When should your backflows be tested and fire extinguishers inspected? Do you know how much you are spending on repairs, and are those charges consistent at different locations?
Tracking your facilities maintenance transactions may not be a priority; treating this as a reactive component to your business is standard practice. However, if you believe that your locations are your #1 asset and that maintaining them could lead to more business and a better customer experience, you would want to simplify this process, correct?
If you had a work order management system that was easy to use, you could quickly find all of this information and automate your maintenance programs using the following key features found in work order systems:

Feature Story:

Quick Service Restaurants Missing Big Opportunity: Study Finds Satisfied Customers Are Four Times More Likely To Recommend QSR's »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

A new survey that asked consumers to weigh in on food, order accuracy, speed of service, menu, and other items at the top 62 QSR brands found that, not surprisingly, the likelihood of a return visit to a QSR increases from 20 to 81 percent when guests report a higher satisfaction rate. The study was done by Empathica, which provides customer experience management (CEM) solutions to multi-unit enterprises.
The Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) Benchmark Study surveyed 10,000 U.S. consumers on the 62 top QSR brands, measuring food, order accuracy, speed of service, menu, restaurant atmosphere and cleanliness, staff, and value. Results determined brand rankings in these categories as well as the drivers behind customer loyalty and satisfaction...

Feature Story:

Productive Failure: Turn Your Mistakes Into Learning Opportunities »

By Dr. Nido Qubein

We learn by doing. Think about the basic skills you've acquired in life. You learned to walk by pulling yourself up, turning loose, and taking a step. You fell the first time, but you got up and tried again. Each time you did it a little better than the time before. You were learning by doing.
You learned to drive a car by taking one out on the highway with an experienced teacher who could give you instructions and point out your mistakes as you drove.
With each endeavor, you started as a novice, and you learned proficiency from the mistakes you made. It's that way in any undertaking. When you take action toward your goals, you will make mistakes. Don't worry about it. Everybody makes them. Successful people learn from theirs...

Feature Story:

Family Inheritance: 5 Tips For Family Business Succession Planning »

By Lois Lang

When it comes to family business succession planning, one thing is certain: Most family business leaders don't do it, they don't do it well, or they wait to do it until it's too late. While the CEO longevity in non-family businesses is an average of six years, for family owned businesses CEOs tend to stay for 20-25 years.
Sure that long tenure contributes to leadership stability and consistency, but it can also fuel flat growth, narrow business focus, and decreasing leadership drive. Additionally, when the CEO and other top level executive family members do not step aside in a timely manner, it causes a high level of frustration in the next generation who is ready to charge forward and make their mark. Once it becomes clear that the children might reach their mid- to late-fifties before taking over, it becomes hard to hold on to the ambitious ones...

Feature Story:

Making Real Estate A Core Value Of Your Franchise System, Part 2 »

By Scott Simcik

Hopefully, you are adopting a standardized real estate process that encompasses a clearly defined all-in-one strategy for site selection, lease negotiation, and legal review. I realize that, as a franchise executive, you may not have the time, resources, or capabilities to put this process in place. This four-part series highlights 11 key points for standardizing your real estate process. Click here to read or review Part 1.

II. Looking Closely at Legal Strategy

Don't let legal language limit your real estate services.

To identify the root of this hands-off real estate approach motivated by self-preservation, we must take a closer look at the current legal strategy in play. Franchise agreements are consistently drafted so that franchisees have the right to select their final choice of location...

Feature Story:

Lead Generation Success: Measure Results To Improve Performance »

By Steve Olson

Audit your advertising and increase results

What you don't know, you can't measure. And what you can't measure, you can't improve! Successful recruitment programs invest in marketing intelligence and monitoring tools to 1) determine their most productive selling sources; 2) create compelling, direct-response advertising for each media source selected; and 3) stay ahead of or in step with the competition.

Good news for you smart execs! Many franchise companies still don't track their marketing performance - which provides competitive advantages for those intelligent franchisors who do successfully monitor, measure, and modify their lead generation programs. By knowing where you are and where you want to go, you build the shortest road to get there...

Feature Story:

Customers As Consultants: Ask Them Questions And Listen To Their Responses »

By John Tschohl

Who are your customers? Do you know what they want? Do you know what they think about you and your products and services? If you don't, you have some work to do.
It's critical that you know your customers, so that you can give them what they want. You must be proactive. Instead of waiting for your customers to start leaving you and wondering why they are heading to your competitors, you must research their needs and determine their opinions of your business.
As soon as I mentioned the word research, most of you are probably thinking, "Oh, great. Now he wants me to spend a lot of money; money I can't spare."
The type of research I am talking about doesn't have to cost you anything. And it basically involves two steps:

Ask...

Feature Story:

Performance Issues: 4 'Bad Leader Behaviors' That Affect Productivity And Profits »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

What can business leaders and managers learn from watching the earnings of publicly traded companies?
"Plenty," says Kathleen Brush, a 25-year veteran of international business and author of The Power of One: You're the Boss (www.kathleenbrush.com), a guide to developing the skills necessary to become an effective, respected leader.
"When looking at the corporations reporting lower-than-expected earnings, you need to read between the lines. They are not going to admit that the reason is a failure of leadership, but 99 times out of 100 that's what it is."
She cites Oracle, the business hardware and software giant, which recently reported a quarterly revenue shortfall based on a decline in new software licenses and cloud subscriptions...

Feature Story:

Trust Factor: Change Cannot Be Achieved Without The Building Block Of Trust »

By Timothy Bednarz

The need for trust in the workplace and communication therein is understood by many leaders to be the foundational building block of the organization. The degree of trust developed will impact employee performance and retention, the development of teams, and implementation of organizational change. Regardless of size and industry, organizations are comprised of individuals who desire the same thing: the ability to trust those they work with. People cannot trust an organization, but they can trust their superiors, employees, and associates.
Issues of broken trust and personal betrayal are far from just the result of restructuring, downsizing, or other major organizational events. They are the product of the numerous micro-decisions that leaders and managers make every day...

Feature Story:

Control Issues: Even When You Can't Control Events, You Can Control How You Respond »

By Moe Glenner

As a professional pilot, I meticulously pre-plan my flight including strong and continuous consideration and planning for the weather. I can't control the weather, but I can control how I react to it, including choosing to divert or not fly in it at all. However, there are times that, despite the planning, Mother Nature has her own little surprises. Regardless, as Pilot in Command (PIC), I must continue to safely fly the plane.
It is no different with life's surprises for any of us. Sometimes we can anticipate them and pre-empt either the change itself or its impacts. Other times we may not be able to control the events themselves, but we can certainly control how we react to them and our consequential actions afterwards.
Ask yourself this question: Do events control you or do you control events? Or better yet, are you influenced by life events or do you influence life events? How many times are we faced with a situation that seems hopeless and resign ourselves to whatever fate presents?
Typically, this will happen at what I call a "failure moment...

Feature Story:

Business Survival Strategies: 5 Tips To Lead Change In Challenging Times »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Putting the right people at the helm has launched many high profile, highly successful turnarounds, from Jack Welch in his early days at GE to Meg Whitman at eBay.
But companies don't have to fire the entire C-suite to put "new" leadership in place, says Barbara Trautlein, author of Change Intelligence: Use the Power of CQ to Lead Change that Sticks (www.changecatalysts.com). ?"Leadership is the key to successful major organizational change, which has had a failure rate of 70 percent for decades," she says.  "It is possible to lead successful and sustainable change - if it's led effectively.  The problem has been that, so often, it's not." 
Workforces in every industry - from manufacturing to service to healthcare to high tech - are confused and bruised, she says...

Feature Story:

To Grow, Reinvest In Infrastructure, Technology, And People »

By Richard S. Weissman

Many franchise leaders are slow to embrace the idea that the best time to grow is in uncertain times. Even those who may reluctantly agree are often constrained by the demands of stakeholders for bottom-line performance, and use the excuse of the "bad economic storm" to cut expenses to meet those bottom-line expectations. Historically, however, the fact remains that the strongest companies are those that create working systems to grow during all economies, and that see the opportunity in bad times for accelerated growth.

In my experience as the CEO of a national early childhood education franchise, while the majority of others in the field experienced difficulty securing new franchisees to continue growth, our reinvestment and leadership speaks well of the brand, and has allowed us to see exceptional growth during recent economic tumult: more than 410% growth since the 2008 recession...

Feature Story:

Lead Generation Checklist: Time To Review Your Process? »

By Steve Olson

The following is a review of the lead generation principles and best practices outlined in my book, "Grow To Greatness: How to build a world class franchise faster." For a more in-depth examination of successful lead-generation practices, ordering information is available at the end of this checklist.

✓ Embrace the four successful lead generation principles that high-growth franchisors use to expand their brands:

Feature Story:

Avoid These Common Hiring Mistakes: 10 Ways To Hire The Wrong Person Every Time--guaranteed! »

By Mel Kleiman

In my 20-plus years of teaching and consulting with business owners and hiring managers about how to "hire tough so they can manage easy," I've discovered there are 10 commonplace mistakes almost everyone makes that are guaranteed to result in bad hiring decisions and waste untold time, money, and effort. Thank God I've never had a client who's made all these mistakes at once, but it really only takes two or three to sabotage your efforts to hire great people. Are you guilty of any of the following?

Feature Story:

A Clean Transfer: Key Considerations For Succession Planning »

By Gerald Marks

A franchise is not an ordinary business asset. You don't really "own" a franchise outright as you do a traditional business. What you own is a right or license from the franchisor to operate the business under the franchisor's name for a period of time (the franchise term). More important, when retirement, disability, or death requires a sale of the franchise, you cannot change ownership unless you meet the franchisor's requirements.
This difference becomes even more complicated when it involves multi-unit franchisees, who may be area developers or subfranchisors and who may have more than one unit in two or more unaffiliated brands or sectors (think donut or burger franchisees who are also hotel and convenience store franchisees). Not only are there different franchise terms for each of the franchises, there may be different franchisor requirements in the franchise and area development agreements controlling transfer upon retirement, disability, or death of the managing member or members of the multi-unit franchisee...

Feature Story:

A League Of Their Own: Female Business Owners Have Some Competitive Advantages »

By Marsha Friedman

"What's your best advice for women in business?"
It's a question I hear frequently as more and more women strike out on their own, whether it's to start their own company, write a book, turn their great idea into a product, or otherwise monetize their talents. The number of women-owned businesses in this country is growing 1.5 times faster than the national average. From 1997 to 2011, they increased by 50 percent.
I love seeing this surge of confidence! Putting yourself out there is risky, but it's better to try and fail then to spend a lifetime wondering, "What if?"
Yes, I do have a favorite piece of advice for women in business but first, a word about self-employed women. Did you know that our businesses added 500,000 jobs over 10 years while other privately held firms lost jobs? That in 2007, we accounted for $1...

Feature Story:

Have It All Done?: There Is A Difference Between Continuity Planning And Succession Planning »

By David J. Ciambella and Loyd H. Rawls

Over the years we have encountered hundreds of successful business owners who have made the statement "I have it all done," as they describe how well they have planned and documented their business succession plan. Unfortunately, in most cases these business owners were referring to the work they have done to implement their wills, trusts, buy/sell agreements, and life insurance, which we would constitute as business continuity planning. You may be asking yourself, what is the difference?
Business continuity planning addresses transferring a business to the next generation, whereas business succession planning addresses transferring a business through> the next generation. Frankly, achieving business continuity is a relatively simple transactional project addressed within your will, trust, and/or buy-sell agreement to transfer your business to your children or partners...



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