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Without a successful franchise sales and development process in place, managed and staffed by dedicated, well-trained individuals, even the best systems can't expand their brand. So not to worry: you will find valuable sales and development-related content in each issue and online.

Feature Story:

Franchise Lending Outlook »

By Darrell Johnson

SBA lending will continue to be important
The banking industry is increasing its conventional business lending activity. Since the recession, banks have focused on lower-risk businesses, which translates into larger businesses with good track records. Recently, banks have been expanding their focus to smaller businesses with less experience. At the same time, we have seen the rapid expansion of alternative lenders (led by Internet-based lenders) into the smaller business/less experience category.
Therefore, it is relevant to ask whether a publicly funded lending program for businesses is still needed. Government programs launched during a time of need often stay around well past their useful lives, or at least their original purpose...

Feature Story:

2015 World Outlook: Country-By-Country Economic Forecast »

By William Edwards

2015 is starting out as a very busy year for international franchise development. U.S. franchises are exporting their brands more than at any time in history--and to more places.
Last year ended with the highly successful opening of Burger King in India, and Carl's Jr. signing a 150-unit license agreement for Japan. Build-A-Bear Workshop opened its first two stores in Turkey to high sales. Anytime Fitness has reached almost 20 countries. Title Boxing Club opened it first international unit in Cancun. Five Guys continues to add new locations in the U.K. at a rapid rate. Fuddruckers opened in Italy. Popeyes is now open in 27 countries. Abrakadoodle continues to add units in China.
Food and beverage (F&B) franchises continue to be the leaders in global franchising, but education, retail, and service sector brands are becoming increasingly desired...

Feature Story:

Five Not-So-Easy Pieces: Tune Up Your System To Get More Quality Candidates »

By Marc Kiekenapp

Franchise development department success depends on five different pieces fitting together in an organized and precise manner: 1) the company website, 2) promotional materials, 3) the FDD, 4) franchisee validation, and 5) discovery day (the office visit). Let's discuss these five critical factors and make sure your system is tuned up to achieve the best results.
1) The company website is your most effective tool for conveying the culture and excitement of your franchise offering. The recruitment website should be updated quarterly or even monthly to reflect new information about your concept, good news about your franchisees, and any new public relation stories that highlight your brand. Current news and information will keep interested candidates coming back and watching the progress of your concept...

Feature Story:

Cultural Competence: To Succeed Abroad, Learn - And Respect - Differences »

By Bill Edwards & Robert Shaw

An survey this year of the IFA's U.S.-based franchisor members showed that 82 percent are either already "going global" or are planning to take their franchise international soon. However, many U.S.-based franchisors new to international are unfamiliar with cultural differences between countries. In our experience in almost 70 countries, to successfully do business abroad you must be aware of the local culture and how it affects your franchise sales, operations, and revenues. says, "Culture illustrates the accepted norms and values and traditional behavior of a group... the way we do things around here.' The culture of each country has its own beliefs, values, and activities. In other words, culture can be defined as an evolving set of collective beliefs, values, and attitudes...

Feature Story:

Transparency Ahead!: Prospects Are Demanding New Levels Of Information »

By Paul Wilbur

Prospective franchisees have lots of questions: How do I purchase a unit? Can I buy more than one? What will my territory be? How much does it cost? What are the royalty payments? How much training and ongoing support should I expect?
These are questions franchisors are accustomed to addressing and that regulatory documents confirm, but they are not the most important questions on the minds of prospects: How much can I reasonably expect to make? What is the likelihood I may lose my investment?
Franchisors find lots of reasons to justify not answering these two questions. That won't go on much longer. The market is rapidly requiring changes that will force franchisors to confront these questions. I offer three recent trends that clearly demonstrate a new level of transparency is moving to the forefront of the franchise business model...

Feature Story:

Challenge The Pros: What Do You Look For In A Salesperson? »

Franchise Update

What do you look for in a salesperson, and what are the critical elements to building a great sales and development team?

Larry Flaherty
Director of Franchise Development
Pet Supplies Plus

If you ask five different franchise development professionals this question you'll get six different answers. When recruiting salespeople, I look first and foremost to their integrity. I want a team I can trust to do the right thing, make the right decision, and not simply make a sale. I expect our sales team to look at each candidate and anticipate how they may or may not fit within our pet-centric culture. I look to them to provide me with their honest recommendation based on their observations. Next, I look for someone who has all-around sales qualities, such as a strong sense of urgency, and assertive personality, and who looks for solutions, not problems...

Feature Story:

Challenge The Pros: Using Technology To Identify, Reach, And Track Prospects »

Franchise Update

"How are you using technology to identify, reach, and track prospects?"

James R. Walker
Chief Development Officer
The Johnny Rockets Group

At Johnny Rockets we use technology not only to drive leads for prospective franchise candidates, but also to ensure that we are spending our franchise recruitment dollars in the most efficacious way possible.
We have found that online franchise lead portals are one of our most effective methods for securing new candidates. We also like the traceability these sites provide us. We use as many as six different online lead portals to drive leads to our sales management system, which immediately segments the lead by a number of qualifiers that include available liquid capital, as well as the candidate's targeted geography...

Feature Story:

It's Time For Global Standards: International Expansion Demands Better Information »

By Darrell Johnson and Eric Simon

Over the past seven years, some economies have prospered while the U.S. has been on a roller-coaster ride. With franchising's ability to respond relatively quickly to change, it comes as no surprise that we are seeing more focus on international expansion by U.S. brands. We have seen an increase in international research projects ourselves and addressed this trend by starting a research company in Australia.
In the U.S., we are accustomed to being able to obtain, from both public and private sources, a considerable amount of reliable franchise information. The amount and quality of international information on franchising pales in comparison. Brands typically are left to rely on consultants and their own experience. International franchise information, when available at all, is scattered among government agencies, franchise associations, and within individual brands, all with varying degrees of reliability...

Feature Story:

Going Global - Socially: Social Media Use Varies By Country »

By William and Heather Edwards

Increasingly, U.S. franchisors are using social media sites to build brand awareness, attract new customers, focus marketing on their ideal customer demographic, and even to recruit new franchisees. In the U.S., the primary social media platforms used for these purposes are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Foursquare. Some of these sites are also important marketing opportunities in other countries. This is especially true in emerging markets with fast-growing numbers of middle-class consumers who we want to be customers at our franchise outlets in their countries.
This article examines social media use by the franchise sector in the U.S. and in other countries where U.S. franchises are growing. We will see some major differences in social media use outside the U...

Feature Story:

Any Portal In A Storm?: Re-evaluating Portals As Lead Generators »

By Marc Kiekenapp

The Internet portals continue to be one of the most successful inquiry generators for franchise sales. Like all of our businesses, the portals have gone through a transformation and are making many positive changes so they can continue to provide us with good inquiries.
Like a ship on the sea, your brand needs to find the right port (or portals!) to dock. And, just as ships are not all the same size or docking at the same ports, all brands are not created equal. Bigger ships are more expensive and need deeper ports, while smaller ships have many ports to choose from. Think of your brand as a ship and find the ports that fit you best.
The key to finding the right portal for your brand is not just a matter of calling up a provider, but knowing what you are looking for, who you are looking for, and where you are looking for franchise candidates...

Feature Story:

Total Support: Awarding Qualified Franchises Is A Team Effort »

By Marc Kiekenapp

Building a strong franchise system through unit growth is a team effort requiring participation from the entire organization. To succeed more often in attracting and capturing the best possible candidates for your system, it is essential that all departments contribute.
Most franchisors don't take the time to educate and involve all their key department heads in the development process. But without this interaction, conflicts can arise about the capabilities of new franchisees, with blame for any failures placed on the franchise development department--even though operations didn't want to be involved in the selection process. These conflicts usually occur when a new franchisee is struggling after a few months and the discussions start focusing on whether the franchise was granted to the right person...

Feature Story:

Challenge The Pros: Diversity In Your Brand's Recruitment And Development Process »

Franchise Update

What role does diversity play in your brand's recruitment and development process?

Chris Cheek
Chief Development Officer
Toppers Pizza
Essentially doubling in size since 2010, Toppers Pizza is one of the fastest-growing pizza chains of the past 3 years. At 50 stores, we are at the beginning of a period of even more accelerated growth. Our goal, to reach 500 pizza stores by 2020, can only be realized by our focus on recruiting new franchisees that, among other things, are able to win the pizza delivery competition at the local community level.
If you look at the changing population of the United States in the last 12 to 15 years, we understand and embrace the strategic imperative that, to be successful in the growth of financially successful new stores, our franchise owners must be able to bring it with passion and build something special at the local level...

Feature Story:

Support Your Local Franchisees: Strong Field Support Boosts Continuity, Profitability »

By Jacob Grosshandler

Franchising has proven itself to be a bellwether business model, surviving the financial crisis and adding units since the early days of the current economic recovery. Between 2008 and 2013, the franchise community netted more than 25,000 units, a CAGR of 1 percent. This is impressive, given the economic environment. Praise should be given to the hard work of development staffs across all of franchising for executing in a tough environment.
Given these successes and the emphasis franchising places on growth, it is easy to continue to push for market share and to allocate additional dollars to development efforts. However, before finalizing your budget, answer this question: How many of your units, regardless of the reason, closed their doors in the last 3 years? If the answer is more than zero your brand is likely leaving hundreds of thousands of dollars on the table...

Feature Story:

Going Global?: Better Read This First! »

By William Edwards

In previous articles we looked at the basics of taking your franchise global, how technology helps you succeed globally, and how U.S. franchises are growing around the world. So if you have decided to "Go Global" with your franchise, the next question is, "Now what?"
Recent reports by both McKinsey and the Economist indicate that global executives in many regions of the world are more bullish about new investments than in recent years. More countries are expected to see more investment in new projects in 2014. This is good news for U.S. franchisors seeking international licensees.
What qualities does your franchise need to succeed globally? Experience across more than 50 franchisors shows the following to be critical to success:

Feature Story:

The Song Remains The Same: Franchise Brands Are Still Failing To Respond To Prospects »

By Helen Bond

When it comes to franchise sales, it seems the more things change, the more the development practices of many franchisors remain the same.
This was a key finding of Franchise Update Media Group's annual Mystery Shopping survey, unveiled at the 15th annual Franchise Leadership & Development Conference in Atlanta in October. Across the board, our expert team of mystery shoppers found that, despite technological advances that make it easier than ever to connect with qualified prospects, franchise sales and development teams don't always pursue promising prospects with the fervor, immediacy, and persistence they would in a world of best practices.
"The constant frustration in the mystery shopping results is the failure of franchisors to respond to qualified inquiries," says Steve Olson, president of Franchise Update...

Feature Story:

Challenge The Pros: Measuring Performance In Sales And Development Departments »

Franchise Update

"How do you set standards and measure performance in your brand's sales and development department?"

Taylor Wiederhorn
VP, Franchise Marketing & Development
FatburgerFatburger sets development standards based on a variety of different types of target markets and development standards designed specifically for those markets. In domestic markets where Fatburger already has a footprint, the criteria are based on a calculation of factors including the existing number of units and how much room there is in that arena for new restaurants to develop.

In existing domestic markets, Fatburger allows single-store and multi-unit operators to develop new units after determining that market's ability to handle additional units...

Feature Story:

Wood Words: How Do You Measure Development Performance? »

By Eddy Goldberg

Tom Wood, president and CEO of Floor Coverings International (FCI), served as Conference Chair of the 2014 Franchise Leadership & Development Conference in October. Based in Atlanta, FCI has been franchising since 1989. We asked Wood for his own opinions on many of the topics that came up at the conference.

What are the most important factors and characteristics you look for in assembling a successful sales team?
Sales people who understand what they are doing in the role: "selling." While we are only looking for the best franchisee candidates, the right people will still need a sales professional to guide them through the process and keep the process on track. Characteristics include goal orientation; a realistic outlook on the business and a strong communication style to communicate it; and an ability to manage by the numbers...

Feature Story:

Mixed Bag: Highlights From The 2014 AFDR »

By Eddy Goldberg

The findings from the 2014 Annual Franchise Development Report (AFDR) were unveiled this October at the 15th annual Franchise Leadership & Development Conference in Atlanta. In keeping with past years, Steve Olson, president of Franchise Update Media Group, presented the findings during the first general session of the conference. This year he was joined by Conference Chair Tom Wood, president of Floor Coverings International, and Greg Vojnovich, chief development officer at Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen for a discussion of the results.
This year's AFDR is based on responses from 101 franchisors representing 34,509 units (31,047 franchised and 3,462 company-owned). The participants were franchisors who pre-registered for the conference and completed an in-depth survey online in advance...

Feature Story:

STAR Struck: Top Performers In Franchise Recruitment Recognized »

By Debbie Selinsky

Franchise Update mystery shoppers posing as qualified prospects identified a stellar group of franchise companies for best practices in lead generation, follow-up, and recruitment. Scoring 152 registered companies on telephone response to prospects, and 127 franchisors on recruitment websites and response to website prospects, mystery shoppers judged how well--and how quickly--franchise sales and development staff replied to inquiries. In addition, online experts evaluated franchisors' recruitment websites and their use of social media.

The resulting STAR Awards (Speaking To And Responding) were presented at a special dinner during the annual Franchise Update Leadership & Development Conference, which took place from Oct. 9-11 in Atlanta...

Feature Story:

Coming To America?: Overseas Brands Face Opportunities And Challenges »

By Bill Edwards

While many U.S. franchisors are now expanding into other countries, seeking new growth and less competition, international franchisors are finding the world's largest economy a target too good to pass up. But are the streets of the USA still paved with gold?
"Many international franchisors salivate at the prospect of entering the United States, the world's largest consumer market," says Ray Hays, senior director of EGS in a recent Entrepreneur magazine article. "Perceived barriers to entry for non-U.S. franchisors include a litigious and highly regulated legal environment, complicated multi-cultural demographics, fierce competition, and high investment requirements. In short, the U.S. market is often viewed as too expensive, risky, and complex, but many of these perceptions are overblown myths...

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Titans of Technology    

Franchise Update Magazine »

Issue III, 2015

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