Why Location Doesn’t Matter When It Comes to Franchise Real Estate

Franchise Territory Mapping Tools

The old adage that the three things that matter most in real estate are location, location and location is only half true. The most important factor is the relationship between the property’s purpose and its geographic location, especially when it comes to your business’ profitability.


Think about the way you chose your current living space. What were your primary considerations? Were you more concerned with proximity to your workplace or neighborhood safety? Did you want an urban or suburban lifestyle?


How we choose our residential living space is similar to the way a serial entrepreneur or franchisor selects his or her next business location. It’s all about the relationship between the available geographic space and its constituents, rather, the potential customers.


But when you’re investing thousands of dollars of your own money to open a new location, you might want to consider more than just urban versus suburban lifestyles and how close you are to the best schools in town.


Or do you?


Well, it depends. Regardless of the economic, demographic or geographic success indicators for a franchise, a key step in the development process is market analysis. Territory mapping software can be very helpful in analyzing, processing and aggregating data that otherwise would be mind-numbingly difficult to interpret if left in an Excel spreadsheet.


Tetrad, Geometrx, Microsoft MapPoint, Alteryx, Maptitude and MapInfo Professional are some useful territory mapping options we found for franchise mapping purposes. All use their own unique mix of geographical, mapping and demographic datasets to help business decision makers.


Tetrad uses PCensus, demographic and geographic data to help clients plan sites and evaluate/analyze market data.


  • Measure trade area performance by comparing your business’ performance relative to local competition.
  • Find new markets and opportunities
  • Evaluate shopping centers
  • Locate distribution centers and identify key facts about shipments
  • Minimize transportation cost by changing geographical location of shipment centers
  • Determine the positive or negative effects of relocation


Geometrx is a territory management tool. The software is designed to use Geometrx’s and the client’s datasets together to generate a view of current territories and suggestions on effective management options.


  • Manage up to five territory hierarchies (from the national level to micro-geographical locations)
  • Scenario tracking and management allows users to compare and contrast possible situations using Geometrx’s and the user’s datasets


Microsoft MapPoint uses map data to pinpoint relationships between data and geographical location, trends and opportunities.


  • Good option for International franchisors as it has European datasets
  • GPS sharing capabilities
  • Ability to analyze local markets and your competitors


Alteryx thought of everything when they created their software. The business analysis tool is, like the other software profiled, to examine the meaningful connection between different sets of data.


  • Math lover’s delight—user has access to simple and complex mathematical formulas and functions (if/then statements, spatial manipulations, numeric conversions, etc.)
  • Access to financial metrics, measurements and statistical data sets like net present value (NPV) and internal rates of return (NRR).
  • Analysis and mapping of trade areas using census data and standard geographical limitations like county lines and zip codes.
  • Geographic news search (using MetaCarta’s library)


Maptitude uses data from the census, core based statistical areas (CBSAs), counties, zip codes and other geographical limitations.

  • International capabilities make Maptitude a great option for franchisors expanding into non-U.S. territories.
  • Create and edit maps, analyze geographical data and connect to corporate data resources that offered free of charge on Maptitude’s website. The software supports over 50 file types and 100 GIS formats.


MapInfo Professional is a Windows-based mapping and geographical analysis application designed to examine the relationships between data and geography.

  • MapInfo Pro allows users to manage location-based assets
  • Gain an understanding of markets
  • Discover trends
  • Create custom maps.



Why Small Businesses (And Franchises) Need Social Media

If you think social media isn’t important, you’re wrong. Take a look at the scandal surrounding former Rep. Weiner and you’ll see the impact social media can have. Take a look at Lady Gaga, and you’ve got a picture perfect example of your Twitter feed’s potential power.


Regardless of whether or not you believe Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn can respectively sustain their current level of success, everyone around you is using social media. So, why aren’t you using it to gain a competitive edge against big businesses? Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are great resources because they’re inexpensive (read: free), user-friendly, fun and fast.


Social media is inexpensive. For the small business owner, any free marketing tool should be cause enough for celebration. Small businesses are having trouble enough securing loans to open up their doors let alone finding extra funds to devote to marketing initiatives.


You shouldn’t be surprised that social media platforms are user-friendly; your customers are (probably) using it. If you’re afraid of technology or unfamiliar with how any of the popular social media platforms operate, don’t be. It will not take you more than a few days, at most, to navigate the social media waters. You can always ask a coworker or employee to help you if you need it—which I doubt you will.


Social media can be an effective way to connect with customers, when used correctly. Don’t ever forget that social media is about conversing and engaging with your audience. Once you start pushing your product or service they’ll shut you out.


If a customer likes something you do or make ask them to tweet about it or write on your Facebook wall. Respond to them, thank them the same way you would if they said these things in person. Also, for your fans on Facebook, let them know about upcoming events, specials or sales before others.


Conversely, if your customer is unhappy, social media can also be an effective way to begin to handle the situation. Responding to a tweet or Facebook message is easier for the customer and for you—it’s fast.


Say, for example, you’re a pizza restaurant that delivers. A customer tweets, “Was looking forward to my Hawaiian pizza from @LovinInTheOven but got pepperoni instead. #disappointed” and includes a picture of the pepperoni pie. Even if you catch the mistake the next day (and presumably the customer eats the pizza anyway) tweet the customer an apology and offer to make it right. For a small business, this is a great way to show you care. Bonus points if you can secure a photo and/or a tweet of the customer eating a slice of Hawaiian.


What if you find yourself in a United Airlines-style situation? Well, presumably as a small business your customer’s dissatisfaction won’t get to that level. Due to your size, you’re closer to your customers and don’t have as many bureaucratic hoops to jump through. Just in case you accidentally do break a customer’s guitar and give them the runaround in fixing the issue, here’s how I would assuage the sticky situation after he’s posted a YouTube video:

United Breaks Guitars

  1. Apologize first in an official capacity (standard operating procedure).
  2. Say you’re sorry in a creative way. Perhaps you can post a YouTube video as a response. Picture United personnel singing the tune of “Why Can’t We Be Friends” featuring a new Taylor guitar identical to the one you ruined that somehow finds its way being delivered to the unhappy customer.


Aside from apologizing to customers and getting positive feedback for your business, social media is also a fun way to share your business’ culture. Do you always host a tacky Christmas sweater party? Share these embarrassing photos with your customers. Your customers are people first and foremost and social media is one way to maintain a fun, light-hearted connection with them outside of your business’ four walls.  Did you find a funny video you that brightened your day? Share! Chances are if something made you smile it will do the same for them—they’ll like you for it.


Take a look at our social media platforms for inspiration




Why RedBox Rocks


How DVD Kiosks Are Changing The Video Rental Business


DVD kiosks from Blockbuster, RedBox and DVDNow seem to be popping up everywhere these days. Within 50 miles of where I’m sitting there are over 80 DVD kiosks—and for good reason—the small DVD rental locations are more convenient and less expensive than their traditional movie rental store counterparts and movie theater tickets.

Like I said, it’s cheap. The cost to rent a DVD from a kiosk is usually between $1 to $3 dollars for 24 hours. Subsequent rental days are usually around $0.99. Most DVDs available are new releases. For the average price of a movie ticket, $7.89 according to the National Association of Theater Owners, you can rent one new release for a week. For the owner of the kiosk it’s less expensive, too. No employees and no brick and mortar location means less overhead and more revenue.


Secondly, it’s convenient. DVD kiosks are everywhere: airports, fast food franchises, supermarkets, gas stations, drug stores, and famous places like the Empire State Building.


DVD kiosk-adjacent businesses also benefit from the concept’s popularity. For example, a number of RedBox locations are located near a McDonald’s. You can pick up dinner and a movie for less than what you’d pay to walk into a movie theater. Some DVD kiosks, like those from DVDNow, have advertising options further cushioning an owner’s income stream, and the financial benefits don’t stop there.


According to thestreet.com, Coinstar, the company behind RedBox, boasted substantial first quarter earnings in 2011 which are projected to continue. The only problem? RedBox (and Blockbuster for that matter) aren’t franchises. Unless you work for RedBox (i.e. Coinstar) or Blockbuster you can’t have a piece of the million-dollar DVD kiosk revenue pie.


That is unless you own a DVDNow kiosk.

Enter DVDNow, a DVD rental kiosk that’s fast, convenient, inexpensive and most importantly, a viable source of income for a franchisee. In addition to renting movies, DVDNow users can also purchase DVDs and rent video games, too. DVDNow’s design allows for businesses to advertise their services using an integrated HD television and signage on the front of the kiosk providing franchise owners with additional income opportunities.