franchising

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.

9 Things You Can do to Become a Better Leader Today

What does it mean to be a good leader? And how do you become a better leader? Some people believe that good leaders were born that way, and others believe it takes hard work and determination to become a good leader. Regardless of what you believe, good leaders have a few unique characteristics. Luckily, with a little persistence and knowledge, you can become a better leader today, too. It’s time for you to become conscious of your leading style, actions, and tone. Start doing these nine things to become a better leader today.

Be Passionate.

Passion is contagious. If you become passionate about your job, your employees will notice and follow suit. Plus, you’ll find yourself wanting to be at work and leading, rather than at home and watching TV.

Maintain a Positive Attitude.

Just like passion, attitude catches fire. If one person comes to work with poor attitude, it is likely that person will rub off onto colleagues. The same goes for you as a leader. Not only do you need to be positive on the daily, but you need to maintain a positive attitude when times are stressful too. Employees notice when management is angry, upset, or stressed and it affects how they continue their work duties.

Be a Role Model.

Be the leader that inspires employees and colleagues. Be the kind of leader that you want your employees to look up to.

Stay Humble (and Honest!)

When it’s a team effort, recognize that it’s a team effort. Don’t take credit for something you didn’t do by yourself. When you mess up, apologize and take the blame. Don’t blame anything on anyone else when you’re the one at fault unless that is the kind of organizational culture you want to cultivate.

Be Approachable. 

Employees need to know that their manager is always available to talk to and ask for help from. They need to know they can openly discuss issues with you while what is said remains confidential.

(Get to) Know Your Employees.

Connect with your employees on a personal level. Ask them about their family, recreational activities, and other topics that will help you build a relationship with them. This kind of positive interaction will let your employees know that you appreciate and recognize them. They will feel more loyal to you.

Promote and Praise Creativity.

Promoting creativity among your team will strengthen problem-solving skills and improve productivity. Good leaders encourage new ideas.

Collaborate With and Challenge Them.

Not all people do well working by themselves, so encourage team work and join in when possible. Additionally, challenge your employees. People get bored doing the same mundane tasks every day. Throw in some change and challenge them to help shake things up, in a good way.

Continue Learning, Yourself.

The first step in bettering yourself – and your leading skills – is to recognize that there is room to improve… and there is always room to improve.

 

Start small to make a big change. These nine simple steps are something you can start to become a better leader today, but you will need to continue them tomorrow, too.

Do you need help with your business or franchisee? Divvy can be your marketing partner and make life simpler for you. Call our office at 801-224-8666 or fill out the contact form below to see how Divvy can help you.

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Utah Franchise Business Network Meeting “Trends in Franchising”

Event Description

Current trends in franchising and other pressing issues such as labor relations, vicarious liability and the evolving regulatory schemes.

There will also be a Q & A session at the end.

 

“I have attended several Utah Franchise Business Network meetings. The topics are relevant and have positively impacted the initiatives for the companies U have represented. My small investment of time has produced results. I have made significant networking contacts that brought value and in some cases products and services providing immediate solutions.” – Darin Hicks, VP of Operations Alphagraphics

Register Now

Eventbrite - Cyber Security in Franchising: What you need to know

Event Details

Date: April 21, 2015

Time: 11:30 a.m.

Place: InXpress – 9816 South Monroe Stree, Suite 206, Sandy, Utah 84070

Agenda

11:30 a.m. – Check-in, networking and lunch

12:00 p.m. – Announcements and presentation

12:30 p.m. – Q & A

About Dr. Ben LitalienBen Litalien

Dr. Ben Litalien is the founder and principal of FranchiseWell, LLC—a consulting practice dedicated to continual franchise development. Ben has more than two decades of experience in franchising, specifically in strategic planning, organizational development, concept management, and franchise system growth. He has worked with a major oil company, quick serve concepts including a sandwich and catering franchise, and a national franchiser of food court cafes.

Ben is on staff at Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Education as the academic advisor for entrepreneurship and franchise programs. He also develops and teaches franchise and entrepreneurship courses around the country.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas, and an MBA from the University of Houston in Houston, Texas. He received his CFE (Certified Franchise Executive) designation from the International Franchise Association in 2003 and was appointed to the IFA CFE Board of Governors that same year.

Testimonials

“Ben Litalien is a true expert in franchising. We were dealing with an issue with a group of franchisees that were damaging our system. We called upon Ben to assist us to resolve the issues. Not only did his assistance prove to be the difference maker, his insights and teachings catapulted our company forward. Our biggest surprise when working with Ben was his scope and depth of knowledge. Ben seems to know just about everything about everything in franchising. If you haven’t spent time with Ben, you should!” – Dustin Hansen CEO InXpress Americas

“We have worked with Ben Litalien for several years and he has helped transform our franchise organization to a much more effective, compliant and dynamic company. He is a great team member and has used his expertise and experience to innovate our company and help us avoid the many franchising pitfalls that often retard a franchise organization’s progress and growth. And…his skill and franchising knowledge are extensive: from FDD advice to managment restructuring to implementing franchising best practices. We owe much of our current success and growth to Ben!” – Jim Stone, CEO Zerorez Franchising Systems, Inc.

Eventbrite - Cyber Security in Franchising: What you need to know

Why your franchise needs a marketing plan

You may receive marketing support from the corporate franchise marketing team, but having your own marketing plan for your franchise location is a key factor in your success.

Most successful businesses have a clear idea of customer demographics, products, services and pricing. As a franchisee, much of this knowledge may drive your everyday business interactions and tasks. But do you have key information mapped out and written down to help you and your team stay on track? That’s where a marketing plan can help.

An effective marketing plan includes background information on your business and your customers. In fact, market research should drive your entire plan, providing you with relevant data that will help you solve marketing problems and grow your business in ways that you hadn’t seen or anticipated.

There are a number of ways to conduct market research, whether it’s online surveys, focus groups, or online analytics. Consider which options will provide the most insight to help you drive your franchise marketing.

Once you have gathered the necessary information about your target audience you should meet with you team to organize and strategize. There are countless marketing plan templates online to help you organize your thoughts on paper.

Just be sure that your franchise marketing plan reflects the big picture, charts success, tracks costs, measures value, and becomes a living document that you can build on.

If you need help with your marketing plan, or could use any marketing support, please let us know. We’d be happy to help.

6 Tips to Plan a Successful Franchise Grand Opening

How to Plan a Successful Grand Opening for Your Business or Franchise

If you want to get your new franchise location up and running quickly, a grand opening event can help you generate immediate sales and build your customer base instantly. Too often money is spent on office or store space, supplies and marketing materials, but little is left over for a grand opening. Don’t make this mistake, because a grand opening can help determine the initial success of your business.

Here are 6 tips to help you plan a successful grand opening event for your franchise:

1. Spend time understanding and targeting your ideal customer

You can spend lots of money sending out coupons and invites without really thinking about the type of person likely to respond to your invite. If you’re opening a children’s clothing retail store, you don’t want to send invites to childless Millennials in their 20s. Take the time getting to know your customer and figuring out how to reach them before you rush full steam ahead with event logistics.

2. Have a soft opening and a grand opening event

If you’re lucky, people in your community will already be attracted to your business or franchise because of brand recognition. If you try to hold an event that’s too large for your infrastructure, you may find yourself in over your head on the day of the event. Host a soft opening and once you have the hang of how things run, plan a larger scale event. This also allows time for early customers to spread the news of your opening through word of mouth.

3. Offer free samples or provide giveaways

Everybody loves free food or giveaways, but be careful about handing out free swag or food without a strategy. Ask guests to sign up for your marketing emails in exchange for a coupon or gift certificate, or have them post about your business on social media to receive a free item.

4. Involve the community

Especially if you aren’t a food franchise, it may be difficult to garner a lot of support for your grand opening. Consider smart ways to involve the community. Host a neighborhood fundraiser in conjunction with your opening, or involve nearby business owners in the event as well. Not only will this help you reach more prospects and customers, you’ll also have the chance to interact with people who may know the community atmosphere better than you do.

5. Use a mailer to invite people

Too many people think direct mail is ineffective, but it remains one of the most effective marketing tools [link to Alexander’s direct mail blog post]. A creative and bold mail piece in your target audience’s mailbox may be sufficient, but consider adding coupons or promotions in the mailer. An unusual sized direct mail piece, sent to well-targeted consumers can produce great results. As always, be sure to include a call to action.

6. Host a social media influencer event first

Many franchisees have found success reaching out to bloggers and online influencers to invite them to a VIP event and encourage them to take pictures and videos, and share thoughts and observations with their social networks. You can provide them with promotional items as a thank you for giving their time to participate in your event. Then be sure to watch their blogs and social channels for their posts about your business and make sure to comment and express appreciation.

We wish you luck as you plan and execute a successful grand opening event. At Alexander’s we love grand openings and would be happy to help you. If you’d like to tap our experience and grand opening expertise, please contact us.

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