Tag Archives: franchise

Take Care of Your Franchise with a Good NAP

 

You want to list your local franchise in every directory you can find. Before you do, the first step is to determine your local business information which is called your NAP (name, address and phone). This should be used the exact same way in each local listing.

A consistent NAP online will help you rank in local search. You want many quality websites, including local listing directories, to display your NAP the way you want it to be.

Name – How is your franchise name written? Is it PCA Store 225 or Postal Connections, Mechanicsburg? Determine the name of your business based on how many customers will search for you using it. Keep it simple and use one name for everything.  

Search for your business name online and see how Google views it. If Google sees your business name a certain way, you might want to consider using that as your brand name online.

Address – How will you write your address? For example, will you use “Avenue” or “Ave”? This may sound nitpicky but you need your address to display consistently across the internet.  

See how Google lists your business address. Consider using that as your model. If Google currently sees you at “4500 West Irving Park Road” and you’re ok with that, use that address everywhere online, website included.  

Phone – Some local business listings require that a local phone number be used rather than an 800 number. Select one main number for your local business information.

Local Business Rankings

Appropriate listings make it easy for Google to identify your local business. In fact, it is the primary method they use to rank local businesses in Google + Local.  This is important because about 40-50% of mobile search and 20% of PC-based search is related to location and local information. That’s why it is critical to claim, update, and improve all online information about your business. Otherwise, you might struggle to be found in search results.

Claim It

Many local businesses are still unaware that they can claim and optimize every local listing that their business is entitled to. This includes claiming on sites like: 

Claim these and get on all of your local directories with a consistent NAP today!

Ten Things to Watch for with Franchises

Don’t Have a Big Idea but want to be on Your Own?

Joining a franchise system might be the best thing for you if you want to be a business owner but not from scratch. A franchise might work if you:

·        Are drawn by the security of having an already-branded business with proven services or products.

·        Like the idea of an operation that has already done the hard trial and error work of establishing business operations and building a demonstrated support system.

·        Are comfortable with following franchise guidelines.

·        Already have or can get the franchise fee and startup costs.

·        Are willing to part with some of what you make in the form of monthly royalties, advertising fees and other costs.

·        Know it will take a lot of work and are willing to do it.

Even if you’re okay with these factors, it’s a good idea to hire an attorney that specializes in franchising to help you see it all the way through.

Ten Things to Beware of from a Potential Franchise

If having a franchise does appeal to you, be wary of franchises that:

·       Do not offer a proven business concept coupled with a successful operational system.

·       Lack brand recognition.

·       Have a history of litigation or continual strife with franchisees.

·       Offer minimal startup help and little ongoing training and support.

·       Advertise very little if at all.

·       Balk at territory exclusivity

·       Are reluctant to give you a list of former and current franchisees.

·       Use franchise fees to pay for selling new franchises.

·       Obligate you to purchase services, inventory or supplies from their approved vendors (or the franchise itself) at inflated prices.

Being a franchisee can result in a fruitful work life. Just make sure you perform proper due diligence.

Four Business Skills Needed to be a Successful Franchisee

Every American has the right and opportunity to become a business owner. It’s a huge part of the American Dream and if you have the drive and desire to own a business and create income you can do it, too. It’s a dream that people from other parts of the world continue to risk life and limb to acquire.

The benefits of the franchise model are reduced risks to achieving that dream. Postal Connection offers a proven business model and systems in place to help franchisees become as successful as their dream requires.

Skills Needed to be a Good Business Owner
However, It helps to understand a few of the basic tenets of business when embarking on business ownership whether it be an independent business or a venture with an established franchise. While attaching yourself to a franchise can help, you still want know the basics of the following four areas:

Sales: Learning basic salesmanship is essential since sales is what makes any business run. This means knowing how to satisfy your customers, creating appealing offerings and knowing what people respond to in relation to what you offer.

Marketing: This is related to sales but it’s more about understanding where your customers and prospects come from and figuring out how to attract them to your business. A good franchise system can help enormously with this.

Accounting: Basic knowledge of your revenue streams (where they come from and how you can get more), your expenses (and how can you reduce them) and how revenue minus expenses equals profit which every business needs to survive.

Strategic Planning: Usually, when running a business, you find yourself planning 3 to 6 months ahead under an umbrella of a 1 to 5-year overarching strategy. You create these strategies and plans. You also have to be flexible in your thinking and know when to stick with, alter or even jettison a strategy/plan if it’s not working.

A strategy would be something like this: The goal is to increase revenue by 10% in 2016. A plan to achieve that might be that you will introduce high margin products into your mix of offering in 2016.

You don’t have to be an expert in each one of these areas but acquiring some basic knowledge of them will help your business run smoothly. Many community colleges offer useful workshops in these and other business disciplines.

Locking into the Franchise Formula

One of the main differentiators between buying an independent business and purchasing a franchise is the franchise formula. But what is a franchise formula? It is a proven model for marketing and operating a business from lawn care to garage door installations to educational systems to cupcake shops to a fast food restaurant.

Independent businesses also have a formula, but their model is about that specific operation and how the current owner works the business. It is not a proven formula beyond its current state because there is no proof of it working in another locale or under a different owner.

Asset Value

When you own a franchise business over many years you are continuing to pour value into your business and the franchise as a whole. As a result, the ability to sell if/when the time comes appears to be much greater. This is due to the fact that the franchise business is working in other locations among other owners.

What you’re really doing when you buy a franchise is investing in its formula. The impact of that can be seen in the business support you receive. (Remember, when you buy an independent business, the owner usually leaves after a short period of time and you’re on your own.)

Franchise support is typically extended to:

  • Marketing to target customers or protected territories
  • Operations support that starts with a complete description (manuals) of how the business works
  • Training, ongoing support and business concept updates
  • Financial sourcing and planning in support of the business’ progress
  • Site selection if the business is location specific
  • Brand identity

FM franchise direct

Due Diligence

Of course, not all franchises are created equal. And it is the individual’s duty to perform due diligence and confirm that the franchisor is meeting the basic expectations of the franchise formula. This is done by reviewing the franchisor’s claims, investigating current franchisee performance and carefully studying the Franchise Disclosure Document [FDD].

The final step in validating the franchise formula is having a personal meeting with the franchisor. This is where you get to probe about the business philosophy and the company operational practices. See if they’re realistic and most importantly, if they fit your expectations and personality.

(Image from Franchise Direct)

How to Decide Between an Independent or Franchise Business

FF te-deum blogspot.comHow to Decide Between an Independent or Franchise Business

When you decide to buy a business, one of the first decisions you will face is whether to purchase an independent or a franchise business. People succeed in both kinds of enterprises but there are significant differences between the opportunities. A big part of the choice may also be how well either one meshes with your personality. Talk with family, friends and trusted advisors to help get insights to this major career choice. Here are some points to consider:

Business Model

As an independent business you can change, add or eliminate products and services as you assess what works best in your market or even determine what your personal feelings are about what you sell.

A franchisor usually makes those decisions for a franchisee.

However, an independent business owner does not possess the security knowing that product lines and services have already been tested and maximized for the market. Franchisees give up the decision-making independence but reap the benefits of the tried and true.

Costs

In most cases, franchises have lower total investment expenses, especially up front. But, they have to pay ongoing royalties and may have little say in the timing and scope of other investments and renovations.

If an independent business owner is having a cash flow issue, expansion can be delayed. The owner can dictate the terms of any projects they pursue.

Brand

This can be a big advantage for franchise buyers. If the brand is well known and constantly cultivated, they will benefit from that exposure. It’s unlikely that an independent business owner will have the advantage of brand recognition unless it has been proactively marketed.

Resources

Franchisees have the advantage of a business system, a network of suppliers, marketing support and other services. These are especially helpful to those who might be lacking formal business education and experience.

Independent business owners are on their own. They have to develop their own supplier network, set price points and develop marketing strategies, all vital and daunting tasks, particularly for the novice. It can also result in a lot of trial and error to help figure out what works best which costs time and money. The independent business owner, however, retains complete control.

Support

Who can an independent business owner call in times of trouble? Maybe an outside advisor. A franchisee can call other franchise owners knowing they are experiencing the same situation. They can also call the corporate headquarters to get assistance in everything from training to troubleshooting.  That can bring a significant degree of comfort to the entrepreneur taking the business ownership plunge for the first time.

At the end, make sure whichever opportunity you select matches your personality.

Fred Morache has spent many years in the franchising business and is currently the managing franchisor partner for iSold It and Postal Connections of America franchises. 

(Pic from Te-deum blogspot)

Reasons to Consider Becoming a Franchisee


Maybe you’re one of the growing number of baby boomers who have been downsized or have become fed up with the corporate politics. You might be seeking a business to own after serving our country in the military. Or you realize it’s time to act on the entrepreneurial spirit burning within you before it’s too late.

Whatever the reason, the next decision is what type of business to buy. One of the venues you might be considering is a franchise. Because you haven’t delved into it before, you might be unaware of a few key benefits of this business model. Many people have made very good livings under the protective umbrella of a franchise. Following are five reasons why:

  • It’s Established. A new business would require you to set up everything from scratch. Even with an existing business, you may be buying its problems. In either case, you will have to experiment (which may be costly) to get to the money making formula.

One variation of buying an existing business is purchasing a current franchise. Here the franchisor should be willing to provide a description of the business model and what it takes to work properly. With a franchise, everything is ready to go. Unsuccessful techniques have already been drummed out of the system. What’s left are methods that should work with your investment and efforts.

  • Marketing. Probably one of the toughest business concepts to execute well as an independent start-up, especially if you’re not familiar with it, is how to successfully market your product or service. Due to the enormous change that the Internet has introduced to business (Think about what it did to the Yellow Pages.), this has become particularly challenging without the help of a franchise system.

The Internet has been a great boost to many franchises that compete with bigger companies that spend millions on mass media advertising. Most franchises are about local business or one-on-one customer connections. The Internet helps make these connections. Look for franchises that help you use the Internet juggernaut in tandem with other marketing ideas.

For example, the types of ads, where to run them and how to reach your target market are all crucial to your business success.  A franchisor not only creates advertisements beneficial to all but also provides guidance for what media is most effective for specific business locations.

  • Pricing. This is a two-part consideration. First, considering the initial investment, starting up a business from scratch can be a tough guessing game. A very common cause of business failure is under-funded start-ups since no accurate cost estimates were available.

Be sure you purchase a franchise you can afford that does not result in an excessive debt burden. And consider how much cash in reserve you need to have. This is the extra money that is needed to keep up with the ongoing cost of doing business before the business can provide a good level of income. The franchisor should be able to give you fairly accurate start-up costs and alerts to extraordinary things that can happen. The franchisor can also give you an estimate of how long it can take to have a new store pay the bills.  Finally, consider what it takes to keep your household going and have the cash on hand for that.

The second part of Pricing is how to charge your customers. This often is a mysterious trial and error process with non-franchise businesses.  For franchises, in many cases, the franchisor will set the prices or provide price guidelines so that you can make money. This saves you from having to perform the tough task of arriving at the right price point on your own.

Keep in mind, though, that the franchisor cannot set your day-to-day prices unless you sign an agreement that stipulates this is the way you will operate the business. This is especially important to retail businesses where local competition can radically affect pricing.  Be sure you closely review your franchise agreement wording around this issue before entering into a long term arrangement.

  • Support. One of the major pluses of owning a franchise is that you will find assistance and guidance for setting up the business. This support is ongoing through any rough patches you might encounter. In addition to the franchisor, you have a network of other franchise owner-operators with whom you can discuss concerns.

Look carefully for how business information is delivered to franchisees and how easy it will be to get the franchisor’s attention on important issues. Ongoing access to decision makers and personalized attention when needed goes beyond company manuals and online email contacts.  Being able to get this valuable input if/when it’s needed, can make the difference between costly mistakes and consistently implementing what works.

  • Innovation. A good franchisor is always on the prowl for ways to improve the experience of their business owners. This could come in the way of new advertising, additional ancillary products/ services to sell and opportunities to expand beyond the original business model.

Ask the franchisor if new ideas and products are tested or proven when they are introduced. Also, find out whether new things not in the business model when you join up, are optional or if they become mandatory when they are introduced.

Remember, franchisors have a vested interest in the success of their franchisees.