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.
2015 poses a new set of challenges for franchise owners, especially multi-unit operators who must deal with various sets of workers, franchise sites, and state regulations. Given my experience with Miracle Method, I anticipate multi-unit franchise operators will encounter three major speed bumps this coming year--but with the proper preparation and a little extra effort, you can breeze right past them towards success.
Battle for Market Share. The ongoing battle to win customers is becoming more technology oriented, more expensive, and more challenging. Franchise owners are waving goodbye to yellow pages and newspapers, and welcoming a combination of web and digital marketing and cutting edge technology to grab new customers and keep current customers happy. From state of the art mobile websites to high-functioning sales software, top-notch technology has become a requirement for success. Yes, the proper technology and digital strategies are a major investment up front, but the potential return on investment is well worth the budget.
Changing Healthcare Regulations. The modifications to former healthcare regulations mandated by Obamacare deliver a new set of challenges to franchise owners. Multi-unit franchise operators should consider what this means unit to unit, because different regulations apply to organizations of different sizes. If one of your units has less than 50 employees, for example, you are not required to cover employees' healthcare. Multi-unit franchise operators should consider the costs associated with healthcare coverage. Part time employees are not required to be part of your plan so one solution may be to disperse hours or employee workloads differently. Take your time to read up what Obamacare means for your franchise, and what it could mean from one unit to the next.
Pop Up Taxes and New Operational Expenses. New challenges are on the horizon for multi-unit franchise operators with franchise locations in various cities and states. While franchisees have always paid income taxes, it's becoming increasingly common for states and cities to add their own fees to increase the local government revenue. Multi-unit franchise operators are at risk for being plagued with a variety of surcharges and inspection fees that are entirely different from market to market, and unit to unit. Educate yourself on worker compensation premiums, personal property taxes, city business licenses, personal property taxes, state inspection fees, contractor licenses, and everything between. It's no longer safe to assume that each unit will have roughly the same operational expenses, or same taxes and fees, simply because the rules and regulations vary immensely from city to city.
Multi-unit franchise operators have tapped into the power of franchise ownership. It pays to have a support network and a guide for expected challenges. Like any successful entrepreneur, franchise operators should be well equipped to handle new challenges that might not be in the guidebook. Spending across the country is up and the opportunity for multi-unit franchise operators to succeed this year is apparent. Capitalize on the potential by preparing for the new challenges bound to be on the horizon in 2015 and beyond.
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