Franchise Business Tips

Giving: Why It’s Good for Business

Building a reputation as a giving business will affect you all year long. Customers are attracted to businesses that give, and starting even simple traditions will leave a lasting impression on your market.

Helps Your Community

If you’re looking to give this year, look to your own community. This could be with service or a local charity who’ll help those in your area. You’re helping your own community grow, which can make your service meaningful. Plus, you may be directly or indirectly helping your employees! That is an excellent way to show them and their friends or families in the area that your business cares.

Boosts Employee Morale

Even if you’re not helping them or their friends and family, your employees will appreciate the gesture of giving back. Making a corporate donation will generally make your workplace attitude positive. Everyone likes the feeling of giving back! And that’s a good feeling to have at work, when the holidays can be especially stressful.

Attracts Millennials

With a $2.75 trillion spending power, Millennials represent an important and growing part of your market. Millennials tend to support brands that give to a cause. You’ll also encourage those employees who are Millennials to feel better about your business. After all, Millennials like knowing that they–and the business they work for–are making a difference.

Marketing

Humanitarian and charity efforts look great on social media. Sharing videos, photos, and other stories from your business’s efforts to help people around you will attract plenty of attention. They’ll know you’re a business invested in people. This makes newcomers more willing to trust in your service and product.

It’s the Right Thing to Do

Most of all, give because it is right. There are many people in need in your community. Take action yourself or partner up with a charitable organization and make the season merry and bright.

 

Any reason that motivates you to give back is a good one! Giving back has a powerful impact on your work, your business, and your community.

Tips for Happier Holiday Office Gift Giving

While many of us love getting gifts, that doesn’t always go for buying presents for coworkers. This time of year can be stressful enough. Then we have to choose something at the right price while being just thoughtful enough to make the gift matter. Here are our tips for buying the right gifts for the people you work with without adding extra stress!

Learn the Rules

There are always unwritten rules of gift-giving and service. Find out by talking to your coworkers what people generally get one another. This helps you get an idea of what people liked and didn’t like, as well as the price range. This keeps you from the awkwardness of over- or under-spending.

Get Gifts For Your Subordinates, Not Your Boss

This is a great time of year to show your employees how much you appreciate them. Especially if your business is extra-busy and extra-stressful during the holidays, they need that extra touch. You don’t have to be extravagant or spend a lot of money, but do make sure no one gets overlooked. Your holiday behavior and gifts will set the tone for everyone else!

However, avoid getting gifts for your boss. One, this is already a difficult task. Two, a gift to your boss will look suspicious to them and to your coworkers, who’ll wonder if you are sucking up to them. This could be uncomfortable for the recipient at best. At worst, it might be embarrassing or inappropriate.

There are exceptions: if you really want to get your boss something, pool your resources to get him or her a department-wide gift.

Be Fair

Spend about the same amount on everyone. Overspending can be an expensive or suspicion-raising trap that makes it appear as if you’re sucking up to a superior or favoring a subordinate. Obvious underspending, too, makes you look like a Scrooge or like you don’t like one of your coworkers.

Especially if you’re a manager, avoid showing favoritism. Make sure you’re not leaving people out who might feel bad. For example, you should get all of your employees or immediate coworkers a gift, not just some of them or all but one. This should obviously go without saying. If money is a concern, you can get them cards with a nice note or other simple, inexpensive ways to show that you appreciate them.

Giving only one or a few coworkers a gift? Don’t highlight that fact. Use a gift exchange outside the office or avoid distributing them in front of those who aren’t getting any gifts.

Be Thoughtful (But Not Too Personal)

Pay attention to the things your coworker likes. You might get them some sports paraphernalia, something they like in pop culture, or a useful item they’ve been wishing they had at their desk.

When looking at a gift, ask if this is something you would like to get. If not, and not just because you don’t like that particular sports team, you probably should put it back. This applies to gifts that might inadvertently cause an office faux pas, like a desk organizer for a messy employee or body spray for a coworker who you think needs it. Conversely, you can get someone something too nice, which goes back to being fair to your other coworkers.

 

Getting office gifts doesn’t have to be too difficult to bear! How has your office handled Christmas gifts in the past? What have you learned from office gift exchanges? We’d love to hear from you.

Selecting the Right Candidates to Franchise

Franchising can have its fair share of challenges. But its most vital part–expanding to new franchisees–doesn’t have to be impossible or difficult! You’ll just need to know what you’re looking for.

Choosing the right franchisees is utterly crucial to your franchise. A franchisee is the representative of your brand in a specific store. Their professionalism and work ethic (and that of their employees) will affect how customers see your brand, whether at all or in a specific area. That can make your business stronger, or possibly cripple it if you’re still starting out.

Know What You’re Looking For

Though franchisees aren’t exactly “employees,” you should use a similar start to your search. Create a job description before setting out to find your ideal franchisees. You’ll need to know exactly the kinds of people you’re looking for and the qualifications you need to match. And in turn, they’ll need to know exactly what it takes to run one of your franchises. Outline all the expectations from the start. You don’t want any nasty surprises for either you or your franchisee!

Screen Franchisees

When you’ve attracted potential partnerships, interview them in person. You have to make sure they’re ready for the responsibility, and that you’ll be safe taking them on. Trust your instincts and don’t let the check for $30,000 blind you to a potential failure. Run background and credit checks on potential franchisees. Watch out for lawsuits, fraud charges, and bankruptcies.

Build a Relationship

Entering into a franchise requires building a partnership with your franchisees. It requires mutual trust, communication, and a desire to help your business grow. Choose people you can build that relationship with. This doesn’t mean you should be best friends with your franchisees, or only choose people with whom you already have a friendship. But a healthy relationship will keep things positive between you and your franchisees, and will help you both grow your business.

Still worried about finding the right business partners? We have even more tips!

Choosing a Franchise Broker: What Franchisors Should Know

A franchise broker (sometimes called a consultant) focuses on helping franchises to expand their business by matching them with potential franchisees. So it’s important to know how to pick the right consultant for your needs.

For franchisors, this means finding someone whose goals match yours.  They’ll be a partner in this expansion. Go forward prepared with these tips for choosing a franchise broker for your business.

Choose experience

Search for a broker or consultant who has been a franchisee or otherwise involved in many franchises. You’ll want more than just the talk; you’ll need someone who knows the industry and who knows your business. Potential franchisees will be looking for experience and knowledgeable answers to their questions. After all, they need to know every detail of how the franchises run before they make a decision. Someone who knows franchising will be better at getting the right franchisees into your company.

Keep their focus

Franchise brokers work with multiple companies to help them expand their business. If they’re good at what they do, they can balance these needs. However, you’ll need to ensure that they’re going to give your company the attention and care it needs to grow. Check out their track record to make sure they can handle multiple companies and that they will promote yours fairly.

Check their results

Always check out your potential broker’s results. Do they make good decisions for their franchisees? Are the franchisors they work with satisfied? If they are a good broker, they should have helped a large number of people come together within a franchise, and be poised to do more in the future.

Make a connection

As with franchisees, the most effective way to choose the broker who will help your business is to build a relationship with them. If they genuinely care for you, they’ll care for your business. They won’t try to line up just any potential franchisee in order to earn a commission. Instead, they’ll be invested in the future of your business and work to make your dreams–and the franchisee’s–come true.

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.