Franchise Business Tips

Franchise Brokers: What Franchisees Should Know

A franchise broker (sometimes called a consultant) focuses on helping the franchisor and franchisee come together in business. Mainly, they help specific franchises to expand their business by helping potential franchisees find the right business for them. This means they work at both ends of the franchise business. So it’s important to know how to pick the right consultant for your needs.

How do franchise brokers work?

Franchise brokers work with about 10 franchises to help them expand their business. They have the information about the franchise, and now all they need is you. Think of them like a matchmaker for business!

When you meet with a franchise broker, they’ll offer you their matching services for free. They depend on this freedom to get your business. You’ll tell them all about your budget, your desires, and your dream franchise. In response, they’ll match you to about 3 of their contracted franchises according to which they see fits you the best.

Remember that brokers match you to a franchise for free. This is good for you. It means you can speak to multiple franchise brokers until you can become part of your dream franchise, rather than tying yourself to someone who is not a good match just because you paid for it. Choose someone who helps you.

When you work with a franchise broker, you’ll be a candidate, not a client. That is because the franchisor is the broker’s client. The franchisor, after all, is the one paying the broker, not you. And they’re getting 40-50% of the initial franchise fee. So you’ll have to be careful to choose the right brokers who are interested in you and not just in themselves.

You can catch this quickly if the franchise broker doesn’t ask about your finances and your desired business experience. If they’re just trying to sell you on an expensive franchise that doesn’t seem right for you, question their motives.

Get all the information

The broker you choose should know all the details of the franchises they present. You’ll need to know as much as you can about a company, down to its culture and day-to-day life. This will affect how you run your business, and whether it’ll be an enjoyable experience or a long-lived regret.

When reviewing their options, be aware that you’ll only get to see franchises your broker has a signed contract with. This means you should take it with a grain of salt when a broker promises to show you franchise opportunities that he or she doesn’t work with.

Trust your feelings

Don’t let yourself feel pressured at any point of the consulting process. This partnership is to fulfill your dreams, not the broker’s. If you do feel pressured, that may be a huge red flag. Remember that large commission? Someone who pressures you may be interested in lining their own wallet with an expensive franchise you won’t want.

You should also look for a genuine connection with your franchise broker. That real connection and trust will get you the best franchise for your needs. And, if there’s a genuine connection, you’ll likely be looking out for each other. What better trait could there be in a partnership?

Buying a Franchise: Is the Risk Worth It?

For those who want to become part of a franchise, there is one common question: Is entering a franchise worth it? The short answer: yes, if you and the franchisor do your parts. You will have a lot of business advantages when you decide to franchise. However, there is heavy financial risk, as with any new business.

Pros of Franchising

The odds are in your favor when you purchase a franchise. When entering a franchise, you get the tools and systems of the whole company. You get a network of other franchisees and their experience.

On top of all that, you get the franchisor’s experience. They have made the mistakes and successes concerning the recipes, locations, hiring, and expenses. They already know the costs, and they’ve taken a lot of the guesswork out of this part of the business. This reduces your risk of a failing company, especially if the brand is well-established. Likely, the franchisor will also have a built-in marketing plan, removing some of this responsibility from your plate.

Having so many other entrepreneurs within the same overall franchise gives you many shoulders to lean on until you get into a rhythm. In franchising, you may find the saying: “You’re in business for yourself, but not by yourself.” You get to have all the benefits of owning your own business without going it completely alone.

Cons of Franchising

Franchising, unfortunately, is a pricey venture. It can even cost you more than the startup to form your own separate business. Plus, you’ll have to pay royalties to the franchisor. And there are other fees, depending on your contract. While the franchisor has a great marketing plan and other tools, you may have to pay to receive this support.

You’ll also have to accept that you’ll have limited creativity. It’s extremely important to franchisors and to the health of the whole company that their branding stays on target. So you likely won’t be able to change anything about how the franchise operates or looks.

One other con related to the contract is how long you may have to stick with the business. If you end up in the wrong franchise for you, you could be stuck for years.

So is Franchising Really Worth It?

The answer to that question varies from franchise to franchise. And it depends entirely on your ability to research and accept the risks. Researching the franchise and asking the right questions can help you avoid costly mistakes. More than that, it will make your franchising experience worth every penny.

Bullying in the Workplace

Bullying is aggressive behavior that repeats itself or has a high likelihood of doing so. It also always has a power imbalance, which may be physical and/or social. Mostly, we think of this happening to our children and teenagers, rather than as adults. However, it can be just as serious in adulthood as in childhood, and often manifests in the workplace. Since we spend so many hours of our day at work, this can be deeply debilitating, and affect more than just the victim of the bullying. In fact, it can affect your business.

Workplace bullying, unfortunately, is not illegal. The following behaviors are still offenses worthy of termination depending on your business, but cannot be held to legal action:

  • Teasing
  • Pranks
  • Threats
  • Humiliation
  • Intimidation
  • Interference with work (i.e. sabotage, refusal to cooperate with target)

It does, however, become illegal when it becomes assault, threat of physical violence, stalking, or harassment. Laws prevent workplace harassment based on characteristics like race, nationality, gender, religion, age, and disability. In the workplace, these are deeply serious issues, so it’s important to stop bullying before it gets this far.

Emotional Bullying

Among adults and especially women, this is the most common form of bullying. It leads to hostility in the workplace and may make employees dread coming in. Plus, this can affect how work gets done within a team or even at all.

Emotional or social bullying includes:

  • Exclusion
  • Refusal to help
  • Silent treatment
  • Badmouthing

These behaviors can stop progress in the office, or create bad relationships with brand new employees. In a work environment, emotional bullying can be more terrible than managers might think. It’s this kind of bullying that can severely impact someone’s performance, or even cause them to leave.

Physical Bullying

While this is not as common, physical bullying does take place. It may be subtle and easy to pass off as an accident (slamming someone with a door, or tripping them), or deliberate like stalking or unwanted touching. Adults may lean toward the former, being more aware than children that there is a line between bullying and assault. However, if an employee continues to have accidents, it’s time to investigate. It could be bullying, and not just clumsiness.

How it Affects You

Depending on the issues, you may be inclined to let the incidents pass or to do only the minimum. It can be difficult to police adults and their behavior. However, if you can take control of the situation, do so! According to Entrepreneur, 20% of respondents in an emotional bullying survey said that dealing with bullies cost them seven or more hours per week. Seven hours a week can total thousands of dollars per employee per year. And it’s not usually just one person; bullies disrupt at least 5 people, and more if they are a manager.

Your business and your franchisees’ businesses depend on handling bad behavior, regardless of other work performance. Establish from the start rules regarding workplace bullying, and let all offenders know the next step if they repeat their behavior.

 

While franchisors won’t be able to and shouldn’t monitor the behavior of all employees, you can make it clear what the standards in your company are. From your corporate level, you can provide the guidelines on how to combat bullying in the workplace. Keep your company healthy from the start: root out bullying before it can grow and poison your business.

Perks vs. Benefits: Improving Your Company Culture

Especially in attracting Millennials, many employers believe they need to fluff up their workplace with perks. These might include having an air hockey table, a no-walls workspace, or beanbags instead of chairs. While these are fine and fun to have, the real fault comes in calling them benefits.

The Downside of Perks

Perks like energy drinks, video games on breaks, and ping-pong tables are fun for companies, especially during breaks. But they aren’t as good as some employers believe. This is because fancy toys and break areas may have diminishing returns. Gaming tables or dozens of fridges may be expensive, and the former will lose interest over time.

Plus, employees may begin to ask the question if these perks actually help them, or if their shiny veneer is actually a trap in an otherwise unhealthy job. For example: free dry cleaning or free pizza (with no clocked-out lunch break attached) may come across to them as a way to keep them in the office. Though it may benefit your business, it will not benefit your employees to keep them working a few hours longer per week. Perks and benefits both should sustain your employees and business, helping them both be productive and healthy.

Why You Still Need Them

Perks do liven up a workplace. While they can’t improve a company culture all on their own, nor make up for the lack of benefits, perks are attractive and can add to a good culture. Perks can allow your employees to relax on their breaks, if you do them right. Plus, you can keep your workplace from feeling sterile and utilitarian–a death knell to creative types!

Benefits

Unlike perks, benefits directly affect the security and wellbeing of your employees. If they have the proper benefits, they’ll be less likely to take days off or quit. Plus, you’ll actually be able to attract candidates to your office. Telling prospective employees that you have no or few benefits can send them running for the door.

Legally, you need to provide:

  • Time off for voting, jury duty, and military service
  • Contributions to short-term disability programs in applicable states
  • Federal Family and Medical Leave
  • Worker’s compensation requirements
  • Payment for state and federal unemployment taxes

You do not need to provide benefits like:

  • Retirement plans
  • Dental or vision plans
  • Health plans (except for Hawaii)
  • Life insurance
  • Paid vacations
  • Holidays
  • Sick leave
  • Paternal leave

Be warned, though: avoiding these when many other employers do may drive away candidates and create a disgruntled employee culture. Learn more about why time off benefits you as well as your employees!

 

A word of caution: perks and benefits don’t make a company culture alone. There still must be elements like communication and respect between executives, management, and staff. Check out our other tips for building a good, healthy company culture within your business.

What Makes a Successful Company Culture?

When conducting a 2017 study on successful company cultures, Entrepreneur and Culture IQ rated companies on these 10 categories: communication, support, collaboration, agility, wellness, mission and value alignment, work environment, performance focus, and responsibility.

These values strengthen your employees and how they see the company. You may notice that they focus on more than the company’s profitability or how hard the employees work. Naturally, these are important for your bottom line. But the bottom line in your company culture is just that: at the bottom.

Building a Strong Company Culture

How can you apply these pillars to your own company?

Focus on making your employees feel supported and encouraged, with good communication between all parties to foster trust and cooperation. Remember that younger generations especially like to feel trusted, challenged, and mentored. They might not want to stay and invest in your company if they feel easily dismissed or that there is a lack of trust on either side.

Build a good work environment for your employees as well–one that is safe, comfortable, and conducive to work. And remember to add in fun! Employees like something to look forward to or celebrate, like holidays or team lunches. These shatter the risk of monotony that can wear down anyone.

As you work on this, understand that a healthy work environment is more than just physical; every employee should feel at ease coming to an atmosphere of communication, partnership, and trust rather than drudgery or hostility. No one should dread coming to work!

Remember that money and other perks alone aren’t sufficient motivators. If you tie employee performance or company value solely to money, you can create an undesirable company culture and risk high turnover among employees who want more than simply higher pay.

A Culture of Values

As you build your company culture, find ways to incorporate specific values into your work environment. Zappos, for example, has 10 core values that build an extremely healthy culture. And not all of them are bland, boring cop-outs; these are well-thought-out values that a new hire could be proud to incorporate.

Does your company have values (such as company goals or standards) that apply to everyone, from the CEO or franchisor to a brand-new hire? Hold everyone to the same standards of a company goal and values. This will help every employee feel important, especially if you can show how their work–even if it’s small or menial–contributes to the overall success of your business. Millennials especially can be disheartened by “meaningless” work that seems to have no direct relation to the health of the company.

Hire Smart

Don’t just hire anyone who could do the job. When selecting a new hire, decide how they will fit into your company culture. Do they already have a head start on the values you’re using to drive your business? Will they improve your business and not just fill a role? Also, how will they work with your current team? These are attributes Twitter uses to hire their team members.

 

Your business is more than numbers or an arrow on a graph showing your profits. Work now to instill a healthy company culture throughout, from your corporate headquarters to the newest, smallest franchise. Your business will thank you later, with less turnover and a more attractive environment for new employees.

Trade Show Booth Design

In a crowd, you’ll need to stand out. There are few places where this is truer for your franchise than at a trade show booth. Among so many others, look of your booth can speak far louder than your product or even your staff. Since your trade show booth’s design is the base for success at a show or convention, we’ve got a few tips to help you win the crowd even surrounded by your competition.

Stay on-brand

Match your logo and colors, top to bottom of your booth. Every item should represent your business–even the chairs, if you can. Brand your pens and giveaway items, too. Even at large events, you’ll be able to maintain recognition among the crowd.

Be informative

At a glance, you’ll need to show exactly what your company does. Don’t assume that people will know what you do by your name and colors alone. You can put information about your product or services on a large banner, or somewhere else people will see it.

Have fun

At a trade show, you don’t only have to focus on business. That’s what less memorable booths will be doing–leaving their area static and without anything interactive. Turn your booth or product into a game or a venue, and let your visitors play. For example, at RootsTech 2017, one memorable booth had a device similar to an Oculus Rift for guests to play with. Their setup was both history lesson and game, letting guests put on goggles that let them see Renaissance-era Europe at any angle. This was a fun way to tie in their emphasis on access to historical data around the world.

Having some fun with your booth will help make it more memorable in a sea of booths.

Hold a giveaway

We don’t mean the kind of junk that ends up forgotten at the convention or worse, in the trash. Give away something your visitors will use! Give away food and drinks with your name and logo on them. Your visitors may not hang onto them forever. But they’ll appreciate a pick-me-up, and associate your booth with that positive feeling of relief from exhaustion or hunger.

Maximize your space

Whether you have a tiny 5×8 foot booth or a spacious block, use every square foot! You can show off your product with a banner in  a small space. And remember that you can use height as well! Use balloons or banners from a high ceiling to draw visitors’ eyes–even from a distance.

In a large booth, it’s important to keep it uncluttered. Large walls and presentation areas can quickly overwhelm with too much design. Remember here that less is more, and work on sleek but attractive looks for your large space.

Your booth is not the only thing on display. Remember that you and your staff members will be as well! These etiquette tips can help you appear as professional as your booth design.

Divvy can help you create a trade show booth to fit your needs, whatever they may be. Plus, we’ll create it in such a way that it’s easy to put together yourself. You won’t have to hire anyone or struggle with clunky pieces. Then, it’ll be easy to disassemble and return to your corporate offices.

Want us to design it for you? We can do that too! We’ll use your brand colors and design it to fit any space at any convention. If you’re looking for help with a trade show display or booth, contact us. We’d love to help.

Custom Wrapping Paper for Your Business

Anniversaries, retirement, holidays–all these and more are perfect times to give gifts at your business. Create the perfect custom wrapping paper for your business and, with Divvy, share it with all of your franchisees!

Why Pick Themed Wrapping Paper?

Customized wrapping paper with your logo and colors–what could be better for your brand? Themed wrapping paper is a great marketing tool. During the holidays, you can provide themed paper for your customers to buy their own gifts. They’ll associate your business with the positivity of buying gifts, and their loved ones and friends can get that same positivity on receiving presents. This could be as small as a gift card envelope, or a whole roll of paper.

This works within your business too. Giving wrapped gifts to your clients helps them associate your brand with positive feelings, namely that sense of personal care they should get from your business. Even employees can feel the benefits! Using custom wrapping paper, you can strengthen your company culture and help them associate positive feelings with your brand and business, too!

Variable Data

Of course, wrapping paper in your colors won’t be enough. But with Divvy, we make it easy to add your logo! Our variable data technology simplifies the process of adding your logo all over your wrapping paper. Using your logo on wrapping paper is a great marketing opportunity for clients outside the company. And it’s great for company culture for gifts within the company as well!

The Perfect Size

It’s possible to print a whole roll of wrapping paper with Divvy technology. But when giving gifts within your company, a roll of even the perfect wrapping paper is usually not worth it for just one present.

If you only need to wrap one gift, we can print our custom wrapping paper at 20 x 29 inches. This makes it easy to wrap single or small gifts. You’ll never have to waste money or space on a roll of wrapping paper that you won’t use!

Of course, we also have the option to create a whole roll if you do need one. We can meet the needs of your franchise, whatever they may be.

 

Wrapping paper is more than just a decorative wrap; it’s a present for your brand. Contact us today about creating your very own custom gift wrapping paper!

Good Posture and How It Helps Your Business

Many of us have to spend our days mostly sedentary or otherwise putting strain on our bodies. Whether in an office or working on your feet in a store, here are a few tips on staying healthy. Remember to share these tips with employees, franchisees, and coworkers as well. Healthy employees will be a lot happier, and happy employees only strengthen the appearance of your brand.

Why Does Posture Matter?

Good posture benefits the most basic structures in your body: muscles and bones. By keeping your bones and joints well-aligned, your muscles work well longer. This decreases your risk of arthritis, prevent ligament stress, and prevent your spine from settling abnormally. On a less severe scale, good posture helps you use your body’s energy efficiently, and prevents strain and muscle pain. Overall, you’ll also look and feel better if you sit and stand properly. That will make a long day of work much easier to bear, since it’s hard to stay positive if you’re in pain or uncomfortable.

In terms of business, keeping employees healthy will also keep your business healthy! Good posture and better health keeps your franchise running smoothly. Your employees will likely take fewer sick days. Plus, they will be more willing to be positive and helpful if they feel good. That’s the kind of customer service you want in your franchise! But it’s hard to encourage it if your team members don’t feel up to the task because their work makes them sore or uncomfortable.

If you don’t already, it’s time to encourage good posture practice in your business to keep everyone feeling better longer.

Sitting Posture

Feet

Keep your feet flat on the floor. This forms the base for a healthy sitting posture.  Putting your feet flat on the floor also should make your knees bend at a right angle.

Avoid crossing your legs, at least for too long. Crossing your legs for a long period of time can affect circulation. At the very least, this can be uncomfortable if your legs fall asleep. If you’re cold, use a lap blanket or a space heater.

Back and Spine

One of the most important things you can do when sitting up all day is to sit straight. There are 3 regular back curves that should show if you’re sitting properly. Your back should curve out (toward the chair) around the shoulder blades, inwards towards your belly button, and back out at the base of your spine. Curving your back entirely toward the chair, while not harmful, can contribute to back problems and muscle strain in the long run.

Make sure that you evenly distribute your weight between both hips as you sit. This will reduce muscle strain and hip pain after hours of sitting.

Hands and Arms

Rest your arms and elbows on the arms of your chair or on your desk. This keeps your shoulders relaxed–a must for those who tend to suffer upper back pain. If you’re typing all day, keep your hands above the keyboard with your wrists in a neutral (straight) position.

Standing Posture

Standing desks are more and more popular in today’s world to help avoid the effects of sitting for several hours. And team members within a franchise often have to be on their feet all day if they’re serving and preparing food, working in customer service, or helping customers in retail. All of these still require good posture even with these to avoid strain and other problems.

When standing for a long time, shift your weight over the balls of your feet with your knees slightly bent, not locked. Your feet should be at or near shoulder width. As when sitting, keep your back straight with your shoulders back. Don’t let your neck curve forward, as this will cause strain.

For those employees or franchisees who do any heavy lifting, be sure to teach and encourage proper lifting posture.

Take Breaks!

No matter whether you sit or stand, be sure to take breaks! Pause every so often to stretch, walk around, and take a break from your desk.

In your franchise, do what you can to encourage good posture. You can instruct franchisees and managers to train employees on good posture, make your business locations more ergonomic, and post reminders. And here, Divvy can help! Just create it (or talk to us about working with one of our designers), and we’ll help you spread your signage or training materials to every location without a hitch.

Stay Healthy at Trade Shows and Events

One of the worst things you can do at a trade show booth–besides poor customer service–is to infect your visitors. In huge groups of people, a cough or sneeze can spread to hundreds of people in a matter of minutes. If they get sick, they may associate that with your brand or your booth, which might damage their potential to become a customer. Even if they don’t get sick from your booth, that downtime after can make them forget to contact you. Either way, you miss out on that relationship.

Preventing Illness Beforehand

Defeat illness before it starts by:

  • Loading up on Vitamin C
  • Getting rest where you can, and 8 hours of sleep per night leading up to the event
  • Hydrating often (i.e. drinking when thirsty)

Also, purchase and take an immune supplement just prior to the event, such as Airborne. This will help you stay well despite being with hundreds or thousands of fellow attendees.

While at Your Booth

If you think you’re sick, go home!  But, if you absolutely cannot leave, cough and sneeze into your elbows, not your hands. Also, use plenty of tissues and hand sanitizer, even if you have only an allergy.

Wipe down your booth often, like during lulls. This includes the tabletop, pens and pencils, and laptops or touch screens. Not all merchandise items can be wiped down; but if you can, do so.

If you are concerned about your merchandise spreading pathogens, put up a sign asking visitors not to touch items. You can do this for sick visitors only, or for all customers.

Provide hand sanitizer if your booth will be touched a lot. This keeps any pathogens from other visitors from spreading.

After the Event

Shower when you get home. A good scrub can keep you from getting sick after an event–especially if you have to go back the next day.

Think you got sick? If you don’t improve, stay home. Find someone to man your booth for you if possible. If it’s not possible, avoid shaking hands or contact with visitors to your booth. Wipe down the booth and items as often as you can to prevent the spread of illness.

Printed Custom Business Cards with Divvy

Imagine your business without marketing tools. Chances are, internal working would probably run the same as ever. But face-to-face meetings with clients would likely stumble or shatter. So a lot of businesses seek out the best possible marketing tools to establish connections with clients, send information, and maximize sales. We at Divvy believe that among the most effective of those tools are business cards. Business cards are powerful, even in today’s digital world. Even salespeople and other face-to-face representatives of your company work better with physical print.

Why Choose Business Cards?

The adage that a picture says a thousand words applies to business cards as well! Business cards do a lot of your talking and marketing for you–more than people realize. Paper automatically has more power in today’s digital world than an email or a LinkedIn invite alone. Touch marketing shows that paper has greater recall power. People who handle a card with texture also tend to associate it with more positive feelings. Why wouldn’t you want that for a marketing tool?

Finally, business cards are often a silent marketing tool. This is especially true at networking events. If you don’t have one at your event, whether on your person or at your booth, you’ll stand out–and not in a good way. Cards also are effective when left on your booth or table. This lets people connect with your company even when they don’t stop to talk to you. Whether they’re too shy or too busy, they’ll have a way to contact you later.

Make Them Memorable!

The design of a business card can make it stand out as well. We’ve found several out-of-the-box designs for absolutely stunning, unforgettable cards. Even if you don’t opt for this route, the look of your card can still speak volumes about your company. A card can show that you’re utilitarian or fun, that you know what you’re doing or that you might still have something to learn. Design carefully, and let your card speak for you!

One way you can incorporate fantastic design and touch marketing into your card is with foil or UV spot varnish. Both of these create a great texture and shine that makes your card irresistible to touch and hold. Remember those positive feelings? Adding foil or varnish only increases those. Plus, the “special” look of these cards ensures that your clients will want to hold onto them. You’ll worry a lot less about lost information!

 

Are you looking for creative ways to connect with your clients and customers? Need to run some ideas by a printer to see if they are even possible? Divvy’s web to print API makes it easy to print business cards on-demand from our manufacturing and fulfillment system. Using our storefronts, you can print to your brand’s standards using corporate-approved colors and designs to keep your cards consistent throughout the company.

Need a lot of cards printed? Divvy can take out the hassle for you! Our variable data makes it simple to create an individual card for every employee in your company.No matter how big the job, you and your company can trust that Divvy’s high-quality service and technology will help your business stand out.

 

For more tips on how to make your business cards more effective, check out these important mistakes to avoid when using business cards.