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Feature Story:

Top 10 Franchise Lead Generation Trends For 2015 »

By Thomas Scott and Joe Mathews

A blog from the Franchise Performance Group examines 10 trends in franchise lead generation for 2015. What follows are edited highlights. For the complete version, which explains each trend in further detail, click here.

Smart franchisors have seen these "game-changing" new trends in how franchise buyers research opportunity, how search engines affect website traffic and results, leading a reinvention of how they recruit franchisees. Here are our Top 10 trends for franchise lead generation in 2015 and beyond:

Trend No. 12015 spells the end of VPs of Marketing controlling the franchise development advertising budget. Marketing to franchise candidates is totally different than marketing to just about anyone else. For decades, franchise salespeople have been held captive by the marketing department, forced to use pretty but otherwise ineffective marketing materials...

Feature Story:

It's A New World!: Technological Convergence Brings Sweeping Changes »

By Carol M. Schleif

Throughout modern history, periods of heightened innovation and technological advance were followed by a relatively radical step up in the human condition as new industries, processes, routines, and services became commonplace. In the mid- to late-1800s, the United States became truly united with the completion of the transcontinental railroad and interconnected waterways, while subsequent advances in electricity, plumbing, engineering, and medicine accelerated the efficiencies of life and business dramatically.
Recent advances in such things as robotics, computer processing and storage, sensors, materials science, and synthetic biotechnology have brought us to the verge of another new era, one with significant long-term implications for investors...

Feature Story:

Franchising Expected To Have Another Growth Year »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Franchise businesses are expected to grow and create more jobs at a faster pace than the rest of the economy in 2015 for the fifth consecutive year, according to "The Franchise Business Economic Outlook: 2015" released today by the International Franchise Association (IFA) Educational Foundation and IHS Economics.
"Franchising is an American success story. Independently-owned and operated local franchise businesses are growing faster, creating more jobs at a quicker pace and producing higher sales growth than other businesses. Franchising is a vital engine of economic expansion in the United States and 2015 looks to be another strong year for franchise businesses," said IFA President & CEO Steve Caldeira.
But Caldeira added a word of caution about the franchise outlook...

Feature Story:

Overcoming Three Top Challenges In 2015 »

By Chuck Pistor

Multi-unit franchise operators are fostering the growth of franchise profit across the United States. In 2014 alone, franchise organizations drove about 3.5 percent of the total U.S. GDP and franchise operators employed over 8.5 million Americans. Multi-unit operators played an instrumental role in advancing franchise operations across the country this year, and will continue to move the needle on franchise success in the new year.
In an always-evolving retail, restaurant, and service economy, being part of a franchise corporation gives new and seasoned entrepreneurs the means to hit the ground running. Starting an independent business is tough, but existing as part of a larger franchise network provides the support and direction it takes to see success early on...

Feature Story:

Coalition Of Franchisee Associations To Meet In March »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

This year's annual CFA Day Forum will be in Washington, D.C. from March 24-25 at the Omni Shoreham. The forum will include informational sessions, an attorney's round table, congressional visits, a Cherry Blossom Dinner Cruise, and a closing luncheon on Capitol Hill.
  Traditionally, the CFA Day Forum has provided an opportunity for franchisees and their vendor business partners to hear from well-known political speakers including Sens. John McCain, Lindsay Graham, and Rand Paul, as well as Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, Reps. Howard Coble, and Jared Huffman, and political pundits like Bill Kristol, George Will, and Sam Donaldson.
This year's agenda will feature subject matter experts on legislative hot topic issues and will boast a variety of informative and educational topics relevant to the franchisee community...

Feature Story:

The Secret To Getting Things Done »

By Rowdy McLean

What's the difference between those that do and those that don't?
After decades of asking myself and thousands of others that same question, I have come to the conclusion that your success comes down to just one thing.
Whether you're trying to lose weight, save money, climb mountains, win a grand final, run a marathon, get a promotion, pretty much anything! One thing sets the winners apart from the losers, the achievers from the underachievers, the successful from the unsuccessful.
I have watched thousands of documentaries, read thousands of stories, and interviewed thousands of people and in every single case it's the same.
It's not having a positive mindset (although that helps), it's not having a secret formula (although having a plan helps), it's not where you were born or where you went to school, and it's not who your friends are or how much money you have...

Feature Story:

Building (or Acquiring) Success: Key Growth Factors Franchisees Should Know »

By Kerry Pipes

No one ever said franchise growth was easy. Operating one or two locations is hard enough, but growing to 10, 20, or more is challenging for even the most seasoned operators--especially if any of their new builds or acquisitions turns out to be a poor performer. We tracked down five successful multi-unit franchisees who have been there and done it--and who bear the scars and trophies to prove it. Among the key factors in multi-unit success, they say, are timing, funding, cash flow, people, infrastructure, and identifying the right opportunities. Their insights into what to look for and how to proceed once you decide it's time to grow may contain just the missing ingredient you need.

Right time
Deciding when to grow--and if you're ready--differs for each franchisee...

Feature Story:

Reminder...Customers Still Use The Phone »

By Lisa Ford

There is a lot of talk about customers and their use of social media. Data tells us customers are using it more and companies must be responsive and innovative with their use of it. However, I would like to remind organizations that customer still pick up a phone and call. In many cases, they've already tried social media or your website. A 2012 Sitel Study reveals when customers have a problem with a product, 57 percent of customers search for a solution online first. So when calling, their expectations are high and their frustration could be also.

Let's review a few fundamentals of a great phone experience.

Feature Story:

IFA's Franchise Action Network: Building Industry Strength »

By Erica Farage

The franchise business model is under unprecedented attack by anti-business activists launching a coordinated campaign in cities, states, and at the federal level. From discriminatory wage increases in Seattle and potentially Chicago, to federal regulations that would recast franchisors as employers of their franchisees' employees, these attacks are like nothing we have ever experienced. Franchise businesses must unite under a single, unswerving, strong, and collective voice to defend the franchise model against these increasing threats.
1) It's time to mobilize, now. This summer, the IFA board approved a new strategic initiative, the Franchise Action Network (FAN) to mobilize and unify the franchise community. Through FAN, franchisees, franchisors, and suppliers are working to educate lawmakers, regulators, key influencers, and the public about the crucial economic advantages provided by the franchise business model across the country...

Feature Story:

Keep It Simple: Customer Service And The Simple Stuff »

By Lisa Ford

Every organization has a chance to deliver a positive customer experience. That experience has many starting points and touch points along the customer interaction. Each touch point will affect the customer's perception of your business and even their loyalty.
To remain competitive, take a look at the simplest of interactions and decide how those interactions represent your company. The simple stuff came to my attention with some recent experiences. As I was checking out at a national retail chain, the employee at the register answered the phone. Here is what she said, "It's a great day at the Dunwoody Large Chain Store, this is Corrine, how can I help you?" Whew! Do you think the customer wanted to hear all of that? And do you think the employee wants to say it multiple times a day? The customer is poised and ready with their question but instead have to wait out this long greeting...

Feature Story:

Ten Years After: Reflection On A Decade Of Change »

By Jack Mackey

In 2004, the first words I ever wrote for Multi-Unit Franchisee magazine (then called Area Developer) were:
"Vast amounts of energy and treasure have been invested to understand why customers do--or don't--come back. Few questions are more important, since same-store sales growth is built on the backs of loyal customers." That connection between customer loyalty and sales growth remains true to this day.
What's different now is that franchisees better understand the value of customer loyalty and, for the best operators, how to improve the customer experience and gain market share by winning customers away from not-so-smart competitors. From my perspective as a 10-year columnist here, here is a brief history of how we far we've come...

Feature Story:

Avoiding 7 Common Negotiating Mistakes »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

While even the word "negotiation" can evoke fear, stress, and anxiety for many, the intent is quite simple: to discuss and ultimately agree on a deal. The negotiation process is a lot like a chess game where strategy reigns supreme--one thoughtfully considered move at a time.
"Even when faced with the most daunting of deals, regarding the act of negotiation as a 'game' may alleviate the apprehension and give you the confidence to make power plays that will ultimately facilitate your desired result," says veteran negotiation and contracts expert Eldonna Lewis-Fernandez, author of Think Like a Negotiator (www.ThinkLikeANegotiator.com). "Unlike strategy games like chess, however, the most effective deals are a win-win proposition for all parties rather than a winner-loser result...

Feature Story:

Making Headlines: How To Use The Media To Get The Word Out About Your Business »

By Ginny Grimsley

Reporters love sources who understand their needs. Getting a call from a reporter who wants to quote you as an expert for his story, review your products or services, or invite you to write an exclusive article for a publication, is a major coup. It means that your marketing efforts are paying off.  Who would blow such an opportunity?
Unfortunately, a lot of people do. Those who don't understand journalists' deadlines and needs are liable to be quickly passed over in favor of sources who do. That lack of knowledge can also rack up lots of wasted time and money for those who take a shotgun approach to blasting their message or products to any and all journalists. If you don't consider their individual needs, you're likely making a futile effort...

Feature Story:

Here Comes 2015!: What Do You Still Not Know About Your Business? »

By Steve Lefever

Now that we're nearing November, it's time to refocus on the business with an eye toward planning for 2015. I'd like to suggest that you look a little farther ahead and reflect on the issues I've outlined below.
Over the years, I've encountered far too many business owners who spend weeks planning their vacation (if they take one at all!) and virtually no time planning for the business that makes those vacations possible.
Watch cable news, scan a few TV commercials, or flip through any newspaper these days and it would seem there are no mysteries any more. Let's face it, we know far too much about far too many people's habits, problems, and proclivities. We have more factoids, tidbits, inklings, stats, blogs, and so-called expert opinions (legal and otherwise) than we can use in a lifetime...

Feature Story:

Word Of Mouth Power »

By John Tschohl

Just having a satisfied customer and giving them service that is simply good enough will not get anyone talking. You've got to go above and beyond the call of duty if you want your customers to talk about you.
Word of mouth is instrumental in driving your company's success. Verbal buzz about your business or product passed from one reliable person to the next is still the most cost-effective way to build a loyal following, expand your business, and reach new customers. How does it start? Give them an amazing customer experience and encourage your customers to think of themselves as partners in your business. Like I've said before, the organization chart at your business should show the customer at the top.
How your customers feel about you and what they are prepared to tell others about you can influence your revenues and profits...

Feature Story:

Are You Ready?: New PCI Security Rules Will Require Changes »

By Giles Witherspoon-Boyd

Hopefully, you've heard that the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) has changed... again. In November 2013, the PCI Council released PCI DSS version 3.0 and set the compliance deadline for January 2015. With only a few busy months remaining, many businesses (including franchisees) aren't even close to compliance with the new standard.
Why change the standard? Changing technologies often improve business efficiency, but aren't bulletproof to the weaknesses consistently found and exploited by hackers. New security regulations like PCI 3.0 are released to protect new technologies against recent hacking trends.
In my opinion, Requirement 4.1 is the biggest PCI 3.0 change for franchisees. Many franchises and chains use satellite communications to connect locations...

Feature Story:

The Difference Between Leadership And Management »

By John Tschohl

"Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become
a leader it's all about growing others."-- Jack Welch.

Everyone who has a job has a boss or manager, but does everyone have a leader? You never hear people complain about leaders, but every day someone somewhere complains about their boss or manager. Firstly, leadership is action, not position. Just because someone is in a role of control does not mean the person is a leader. According to John Tschohl, best-selling author and customer service strategist, "the best leaders are typically poor managers and the best managers are typically poor leaders. All managers have to do some leading and all leaders have to do some managing. Finding the right balance for the job is what is really important...

Feature Story:

6 Takeaways For Stay-at-Home Business Operators »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Being young and inexperienced can be intimidating for stay-at-home entrepreneurs, but it doesn't mean you're making mistakes, says veteran businesswoman Renae Christine.
Fresh out of college at 23, she thought she'd done something wrong when the wholesaler for her stationery company assigned her a personal representative.
"In reality I was doing so much business with them that they wanted to ensure my satisfaction," says Christine, a serial entrepreneur who has created dozens of successful home-based businesses for herself and others. She shares practical how-to advice in her new book, Home Business Startup Bible, (http://richmombusiness.com/).
She was the busy mother of a 2-year-old and she'd just returned home - to the mess left in the wake of last-minute packing -- when the rep showed up, she says...

Feature Story:

End Of The Bond Bull?: How To Manage The Nearing Possibility »

By Carol M. Schleif

For the past 30 years, the U.S. has experienced the longest bull market on record for fixed-income securities. As interest rates declined, investors in bonds benefited. Fixed-income returns have been far above historical norms, even outperforming stocks during crucial periods, and investors have poured billions into them. The seemingly inevitable end of this run has many investors uncertain about the future.
There has been a great deal of debate recently regarding the notion that interest rates, which are hovering near all-time lows, may be set to increase, particularly as a result of the massive amounts of stimulus provided by central banks worldwide in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. What about the Fed's balance sheet? What will the impact be if quantitative easing continues? What are the ripple effects that may be caused if investors create a disorderly exit? Given the complexity of the issues, we can touch only on a few points here...

Feature Story:

Financial Advisors Should Work In Harmony »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Individuals and families with large estates have enough to worry about - they shouldn't have to wonder whether the advisors they depend upon have their best interests at heart, says financial advisor Matthew T. Shafer.
"Many don't realize that wealthy people are targets for criminals and opportunistic people; that's why an estate should have a good team of professionals who work well with each other," says Shafer, author of The Future of Your Wealth, (http://mattshafer.us/).
"Wealthy families - and many middle-class families - have multiple advisors who specialize in different disciplines, including attorneys, tax specialists, insurance agents and the like. A family could find the best specialist in each field, but if these experts do not work in harmony, the results can be dreadful...



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