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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)...

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...

Feature Story:

The Customer Within: Provide Coworkers With The Best Service Possible »

By John Tschohl

When we talk about customer service, we usually think about how we deal with the people who walk through our doors--both physical and virtual--to purchase our products and services. What we often fail to realize, however, is that we also have customers within our organizations; those customers are our coworkers. 
Customer service means being responsive to a customer's needs and being resourceful in meeting those needs. Customer service is many things: knowledge, communication, skill, attitude, efficiency, integrity, reliability, knowledge, and helpfulness.
How you interact with coworkers and supervisors has a huge impact on the effectiveness of the team. When Dan asks for your help, do you tell him that it's not your responsibility, or do you eagerly offer to do whatever you can to help him meet his deadline? When Bethany points out an error, do you get defensive, or do you view her comment as constructive and vow to improve your performance?
When you treat coworkers with respect, when you help them solve their problems and meet or exceed the demands of the job, your value increases dramatically...

Feature Story:

Do It Now: 3 Easy Ways To Stop Procrastinating Today »

By Dr. Tony Alessandra

Procrastination is not for everyone!
"Don't put off for tomorrow what you can do today." (My Mother - ever since I can remember).
Procrastination is like a virus. It creeps up on you slowly, drains you of energy, and is difficult to get rid of if your resistance is low. Procrastination is a close relative of incompetence and a first cousin to inefficiency, which is why their marriage is taboo. These suggestions will help you conquer the virus:

1. Give yourself deadlines. In moderation, pressure motivates. Extreme pressure debilitates. Set appointments, make commitments, write out your goals, and otherwise develop the determination to succeed.

2. Don't duck the difficult problems. Every day we are faced with both difficult and easy tasks...

Feature Story:

Don't Ask, Don't Know: Actively Eliciting Feedback From Employees Builds Better Leaders »

By Timothy Bednarz

Effective leadership is based on ongoing input and feedback. Where 20 years ago managers rarely asked for input, today effective leaders are regularly seeking and receiving employee feedback. Leaders elicit cooperation from employees and other individuals when they listen to them. To move employees forward, leaders first identify their needs by asking for their feedback. Identifying employee needs through feedback allows leaders to modify their behavior to serve the best interests of their employees and unit.
Feedback is an effective communication mechanism that enhances productivity and motivation. Leaders use it to create a positive sense of direction that increases efficiency and reduces stress among employees. It empowers employees and gives them ownership in both the ideas and direction driving the organization...

Feature Story:

Think You Know What Your Customers Want?: Research Shows 90 Percent Of Businesses Don't »

By Jaynie L. Smith

What customers value most changes constantly, and the pace of change has increased exponentially with the economic recession, says marketing/management expert and best-selling author Jaynie L. Smith.
"The businesses who become relevant by addressing what customers really value at any given time will be the first ones out of the recession," says Smith, whose newest book is called Relevant Selling.
"One year ago, people were looking for financial stability in companies they were purchasing from because of all of the business closings," she says, citing surveys conducted by her company, Smart Advantage, Inc. "Now, on-time delivery outranks that because so many businesses cut back their inventory during the worst of the recession. With demand increasing, customers have more difficulty getting what they want on time...



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