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Feature Story:

Giving Credit: 4 More Reasons Franchise Owners Should Explore Prepaid Expense Cards »

By Toffer Grant

Corporate prepaid credit and debit cards offer a new approach to managing day-to-day employee spending that, until now, was available only to the largest corporations. Unlike standard business credit cards, a prepaid expense card ensures employees never have direct access to the company’s business credit line. Employers no longer need to worry about exceeding credit limits or getting hit with late fees or interest charges.
Franchisees across a wide variety of industries across the globe are implementing prepaid expense cards to streamline their business expenses. Here are four more reasons to consider a corporate prepaid expense card program for franchise businesses.

1. Prepaid expense cards are less limiting than credit cards...

Feature Story:

Employee Credit: 4 Reasons Franchisees Should Explore Prepaid Expense Cards »

By Toffer Grant

As a franchise owner, your employees are likely making purchases on behalf of you and your business, which can conflict with the strong need you have to control expenses and limit risk. The dilemma here is that many franchise owners are uncomfortable handing over a business credit card to their employees.
Your comfort level when it comes to providing spend authority can be managed based on the type of tool selections you select. However, most options on the market for expense management are credit-based. These require a personal credit guarantee by the business owner to accept the responsibility of the debt if your company cannot pay. It's a big decision.
Companies with workers on the road now have a game-changing option: corporate prepaid expense cards...

Feature Story:

10 Rules For Managing Franchisee Innovation »

By Jacob Grosshandler

Develop a System-Wide Vetting Process

Who is responsible for innovation? For many franchise concepts, innovation is the sole domain of the franchisor as it safeguards the brand's equity: "Do only things that I say, and do them exactly as the operations manual specifies."
Franchisor-led product innovation is most prominently seen in food-related brands in the form of the centralized test kitchen. However, franchisor-led product innovation often leaves an invaluable resource untapped: the franchisee. Think McDonald's Filet-O-Fish, invented in 1962 by franchisee Lou Groen to make up for slow Friday burger sales.
Also, despite the positives provided by franchisor-led product innovation, a brand runs the risk of becoming entrenched in its own singular manner of thinking--a competitive threat in the face of ever-changing consumer tastes...

Feature Story:

Customer Differentiator: The Key To A Successful Customer-Focused Culture »

By Lisa Ford

Customers want a consistent service experience. It seems like that would be easy to deliver yet it is not the norm. Since it is not the norm, consistency becomes a customer differentiator. Check how well you deliver consistency with these strategies.

1. Be reliable. Get it right the first time. Whatever the customer needs, they want you to be reliable and accurate. Customers don't want to deal with an organization multiple times due to your shortcomings. Deliver what you promise.

2. No surprises - unless they are positive ones. Most surprises are ones where the company does not deliver as promised. Surprises can include interactions with challenging employees, lack of follow-up, and slow responses to social media communication...

Feature Story:

Extreme Mentoring: Don't Hesitate To Give The Gift To Someone Else »

By Steve Farber

What if you could give someone a really special gift that would cost you no money at all? And what if that no-cost gift could significantly change another's life? Well, you could and it will.
You can give yourself as a "gift" to someone you love, believe in, or admire by taking that person on as your Greater Than Yourself (GTY) Project. Think of the Greater Than Yourself approach as Extreme Mentoring, if you will.
I'd highly encourage you extend yourself in this deeply meaningful way. I think you'll notice all kinds of payoff. And to help you make this relationship official (whether or not you already have a GTY Project), we've created this gift certificate for you to use.
Please read the following text from the certificate...

Feature Story:

Technology Backlash: Good Old-Fashioned Personal Touch Can Bring Business Success »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Hello? Is anybody there?
One of the biggest problems sales people face with social media and technology is the lack of real, meaningful contact and communication.  Sure, it's quick and easy. But when it comes to closing deals, does it really produce the results you need? These lessons can also apply to franchisees and their employees.
Joanne S. Black, author of the new book Pick Up the Damn Phone! How People, Not Technology, Seal the Deal, is on a mission to help people learn the importance of personal contact.  Her manifesto is simple - to make a real connection and achieve true, meaningful communication, you have to make a personal and even in-person contact. Her goal is to get people to tweet less and talk more to the customers and contacts who really matter...

Feature Story:

Relying On Protection »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Three "players" you need on your business' offensive line

Peyton Manning just completed his most productive season ever as a pro. If anyone is surprised by that, they shouldn't be. According to ESPN, what many fail to realize is that statistically the Denver Broncos have the number one offensive line in football. The fact that Manning was rarely sacked last year and was sacked less than anyone else in the league contributed greatly to his banner year. If you're a business owner who wants Super Bowl-level success for your business, says Sean Castrina, you should put together an offensive line that can provide your business the same level of protection.
"Offensive linemen are paid to protect their quarterback," says Castrina, author of 8 Unbreakable Rules for Business Start-Up Success...

Feature Story:

No-Fear Feedback »

By Dr. Tasha Eurich

It’s a give and get strategy that can reap great rewards

Because most of us dread being called out for mistakes or weaknesses, leaders who hope to give honest feedback run the risk of angering employees and decreasing their productivity if it isn’t delivered correctly. This explains research findings revealing a negative relationship between feedback and employee engagement—it’s often given ineffectively. In one study, researchers analyzed more than six hundred studies of performance evaluations.* Their results were astonishing. In 30 percent of cases, performance reviews made performance worse. I’ll pause for a moment so you can read that again. The authors suggest that as feedback feels more and more personal (and less about behaviors or tasks), it becomes less and less helpful in driving improvement...

Feature Story:

Aim High: Achieving A Great Reputation Requires High Standards »

By Jim Cathcart

When you drive up to Disneyland the message is clear: "The Happiest Place On Earth."
That not only announces their intention, it also defines their performance standards. If what you are doing as a Disney employee (correction: "Cast Member") doesn't produce happiness, then you need to reconsider how you are doing it. They hire people who will keep the place happy, manage to the measures that have been shown to produce happiness, and discharge people who do not fit their culture. Consequently, they are the happiest place on earth.
FedEx tells us up front that we should choose them when "it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight." So timely delivery is built into their policy manual, their training, their hiring practices, and the metrics they track each hour of each day...

Feature Story:

Franchising For Veterans »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Four questions military veterans should consider asking
More than 5,000 veterans and military spouses have become franchise business owners in the past two years, according to the International Franchise Association. In addition, the IFA reports that about one million veterans will be returning from Iraq and Afghanistan over the next three to four years and returning to the workforce.
One brand, Maid Simple House Cleaning - the home-based cleaning franchise from Maid Brigade - asked its veteran franchisees to reveal what makes them successful franchise owners. And the four questions veterans should answer before making the move to franchising.
1. Am I a natural leader?
Running a successful business requires hard work, dedication, and superior leadership skills...

Feature Story:

The Swahili Lesson: A Lingua Franca For Franchising Is Under Way »

By Darrel Johnson

Swahili is a language used throughout eastern Africa. It is a lingua franca - a language used to make communication possible among people not sharing a common mother tongue. Some of the Swahili vocabulary derived from Arabic and European languages over many centuries of contact with traders, empire builders, and others. It was the only way commerce could be done without lots of miscommunication that lead to mistakes. While its origin traces back to a single tribe, today it is used by more than 140 million people across many countries.
What does this have to do with franchising? Franchising has many constituencies inside and outside of the actual execution of the business model. We are all familiar with those operating inside the business model...

Feature Story:

Need For Speed: Customer Service Must Be Delivered Quickly »

By John Tschohl

Need For Speed: Customer Service Must Be Delivered Quickly

By John Tschohl

Among the many tools and tactics companies can use to improve the customer experience, speed is the most overlooked. That's unfortunate because a major factor in creating a positive customer experience is speed. There are three major obstacles to improving the customer experience through speed:

Feature Story:

Can Money Buy Happiness?: 3 Tips For Changing Your Attitude Towards Wealth  »

By Doug Vermeeren

Although we live in the richest and most advanced society the world has ever known, many of us say we need more money in order to be happy, notes best-selling author Doug Vermeeren.
"Even some of those in the top percentile of earners often feel like they don't have enough money," says Vermeeren, an international speaker who consults with celebrities, business executives, and professional athletes.
"The math is simple: More money does not equal more happiness. It's our attitude toward money, not the amount, that influences our happiness the most."
Happiness researchers Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton, professors at the Harvard Business School, recently published research indicating that it's not money that makes people happy, nor the things people buy with it...

Feature Story:

Twitter Makes Changes »

By Marsha Friedman

Social Media Strategist Shares Pros and Cons of 4 New Measures

A couple of months ago, our lead social media strategist at EMSI Public Relations started noticing interesting changes involving the Twitter accounts we manage for clients. Tools were suddenly disabled. Twitter's technical support, which hadn't been good, improved.
So when news broke in late September that Twitter had already formally taken steps toward going public back in mid-July, Jeni Hinojosa, a social media strategist at EMSI, wasn't surprised.
"The changes appear designed to make Twitter more appealing to investors when the initial public offering is finally made," Hinojosa says. "In some ways, they're also improving the experience for users. But in other ways, some users will be disappointed...

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:

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:

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:

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:

Economic Obstacles »

By Darrell Johnson

Despite the economy, it's been a good time to be a multi-unit operator



Multi-unit franchise operators are about to exceed the 55 mph speed limit (or in this case, the 55% limit). We can now officially say that they control 55% of all franchised units in the U.S. The 80/20 rule also applies now to franchising. Those 55% of all franchised units in the U.S. are controlled by 20 percent of all franchise unit operators. Both are records.
The steady expansion of multi-unit dominance got started in the late 1980s so it is relatively recent in the context of the franchise business model. As recently as eight years ago there were more units controlled by single unit operators. The pace of change has been consistent and rather predictable with a current rate of change of about one percent each year...



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