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Feature Story:

The New And Improved Normal »

By Darrell Johnson

New Tools Boost Franchise Lending Prospects
Previously, I described one of the few positives from the recent financial crisis: In the world of small-business lending, franchising has gained a competitive edge in the battle for access to capital.
We're now in phase two of a small-business credit recovery that started in late 2011 and will last a few more years. This phase is defined by the banking community's gradual return to small-business lending, the result of banks beginning to feel earnings pressure they didn't have following the 2008 financial crisis. Investor expectations for banks are gradually changing from capital preservation to earnings--and banks make money by lending.
The early part of phase two starts with banks searching only for lower-risk lending opportunities (e...

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:

Olympic Opportunity!: How To Provide World-Class Customer Service »

By Jack Mackey

The Summer Olympics reinforced my respect for world-class athletes of all nationalities.
At a recent gathering of international franchisees, I had a similar sense of admiration, this time for remarkable customer experiences being created around the world by companies outside the U.S. The occasion was the annual convention of Crestcom International. While many franchise organizations today have global reach, Crestcom was founded 25 years ago by Hal Krause with the explicit mission to bring state-of-art management training to the world.
Crestcom's video-based management skills workshops are conducted by franchisees in more than 50 countries and 25 languages. Their recent information-sharing regarding customer service around the world was full of nuggets I want to share with you...

Feature Story:

Take Aim: Or Be Destined To Hit Anything »

By Dr. Tony Alessandra

There's an old saying: "Most people aim at nothing in life... and hit it with amazing accuracy." It's a sad commentary about people, but it's true. It is the striving for and the attainment of goals that makes life meaningful.
People who have no goals feel emotionally, socially, spiritually, physically, and professionally unbalanced. This can only cause anxiety. People who have goals are respected by their peers; they are taken seriously. Making decisions that affect the direction of your life positively is a sign of strength. Goals create drive and positively affect your personality.

The 3-Percent Solution
Time magazine reported on a national survey several years ago that only 3 percent of those surveyed had written personal goals; 97 percent of the people had no goals at all or had only thought about them...

Feature Story:

Collaborative Tension: Independent Franchisee Associations Are In For The Long Haul »

By Debbie Selinsky

It's like most relationships. Sometimes things seem stable and positive between franchisees and franchisors. Other times, during ownership, leadership, system, or product changes, for example, things can get downright contentious.
Even when things are going well between franchisees and franchisors, a certain amount of underlying tension is inevitable, since relationships can--and do--change quickly, says Patrick Kaufmann, professor of marketing and chair of the School of Management Marketing Department at Boston University
Kaufmann, who has been studying franchising for 25 years, is also a board member of the Dunkin' Donuts Independent Franchise Owners. Working with Cornell University's Ben Lawrence, he conducted a study on franchisee associations that was published last year in the Journal of Retailing...

Feature Story:

A 'High Beam' Leader: Needs IQ, EQ, And Now VQ-Vision Intelligence »

By Scott Klososky

Leaders by their very nature are under pressure to have advanced intellectual and emotional intelligence. In today's economy, they better add one more - VQ, The Vision Quotient.
The pace of change is speeding up. Each and everyday, the competition grows a bit smarter, and more of them from all over the world, extend into your territory. New technologies come on the market and mutate the foundational ways that organizations connect with prospects and complete transactions. Governments tax, regulate, dictate interest rates, and prosecute, and each time they do, the playing field changes. The more accurately you can see into this future, the more prepared you can be when we get there. This is just logical, however...
Sadly, we have bred a generation of leaders who are very execution focused and for whom the term "future" simply means the next quarter...

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:

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:

Girl Power: Statistics Show Just How Powerful The Female Consumer Market Is »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

In case you haven’t noticed, women possess a lot of buying power. Surveys have long told us that women are gatekeepers who make many, if not most, of the financial decisions in the home. Statistics reveal that over the next decade, women will control two thirds of consumer wealth in the United States and be the beneficiaries of the largest transference of wealth in our country’s history. Estimates say that amount could range from $12 to $40 trillion. Many Boomer women will experience a double inheritance windfall, from both parents and spouse.
Once the college bills are out of the way and children launch their own households, the discretionary spending power of 50-plus women soars. Research shows they spend 2.5 times what the average person spends...

Feature Story:

Phase Two: Economic Cycles Shed Light On Tomorrow »

By Darrell Johnson

One of the most challenging components of making decisions to invest in franchise units is trying to predict the future. Predictions require assumptions, and in these difficult economic times, when global events have direct ramifications domestically, developing a reasonable set of assumptions is hard.
Or is it? Using history as our guide, the U.S. economic forecast for the next few years is rather predictable. Hundreds of years of economic downturns caused by financial crises like the one we experienced in 2008 follow a pattern that consists of three phases.
For the first two to three years there is a significant contraction in lending as borrowers deleverage and bank concerns over loan losses trump their desire for earnings. Until the impact of the downturn is understood in credit loss ratings, banks (and their friendly regulators) are unable to determine whether they have adequate capital reserves...

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:

Part Of The Pie: Pizza Community Comes Together To Form New Coalition »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

They say there's power in numbers. Now there's power in pizza.
This past spring many leading pizza companies, franchise owners, and other pizza industry allied groups joined forces to create The American Pizza Community. This joint effort will highlight the importance of the pizza industry on American communities and promote policies that permit its continued success, officials say. Member companies include Domino's Pizza, Godfather's Pizza, Hungry Howie's, International Pizza Hut Franchise Holders Association, Little Caesars, and Papa John's Pizza, among others. Collectively, they employ over 400,000 U.S. employees in stores in all 50 states.
The new coalition of pizza companies looks to ensure that the pizza industry - from the dairy farmer to the franchisee - provides a collective voice that will help protect the integrity and value of pizza as a wholesome food for American consumers...

Feature Story:

A Senior Moment: New Report Says Now Is The Time For Home Care Franchising »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Home care franchising has risen to the top of the charts in terms of profitability and franchisee satisfaction in just two years, says a new report by market research firm Franchise Business Review.
A report entitled "Senior Care Franchises" assesses the fast-growing, multi-billion dollar home care industry to assess the franchise investment opportunity. The research company first looked at senior care in 2010 when the industry was just emerging as a promising franchise sector. Since then, the industry has only grown in popularity and in stability.
"What two years ago may have looked like a 'safe' industry in a down economy is today one of the hottest sectors, offering some of the best franchise opportunities," writes Franchise Business Review...

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:

New Wave: Non-Traditional Locations On The Grow »

By Kerry Pipes

Franchising can be a tough business. Franchise growth and expansion can be even tougher. More and more brands - and franchisees - are fighting for space and market share today and certain markets are saturated with operators. Throw in the continuing difficulty to access capital for expansion, and adding franchise units to your portfolio can be difficult. But they say that necessity is the mother of invention and some brands and franchisees are turning to non-traditional locations in an effort to continue building their businesses.
Franchises are showing up more and more in place like airports, college campuses, sporting events, concerts, stadiums, hospitals, military bases, government offices, convention centers, highway rest stops and turnpike plazas, even large companies - anywhere large numbers of people congregate, pass through, or live...

Feature Story:

Time For Benchmarking: All That's Needed Is The Will »

By Darrell Johnson

I am convinced that someday the franchising community will finally get around to unleashing its biggest competitive strength: unit predictability. If a franchisee had the benefit of knowing how every other franchise unit performed over time, could look at what worked and what didn't, and could build their business with that knowledge, the efforts of franchisors would become much more effective. Think how much more powerful this approach would be than being "advised" by training and field support staff rather than shown the results of best practices.
Franchising is uniquely structured to utilize benchmarking capabilities--first, because of the consistency in how the model is applied, and second, because of the size of the unit universe (in excess of 450,000 business format units)...



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