Guest Blog: Top 3 Franchises of 2014

Upside Group Consulting is this week’s featured blog post! Upside Group provides step-by-step coaching and consulting to franchisors seeking to increase franchise units sold by developing a solid branding platform. This week, as our guest bloggers, they talk about their top 3 franchise picks for 2014.

The Top 3 Franchises of 2014

From fitness to frozen yogurt, the franchise industry has always reflected the ever-popular trends that permeate the business world. And while some concepts seem to last longer than others, it should come as no surprise that it can be hard for many business owners to decipher which trend is lasting versus which is simply fleeting.

While unfortunately, there’s no foolproof plan, there is a way to test the franchise waters: by looking to this year’s most successful franchises businesses. Selected from the Entrepreneur 2014 Franchise 500, here is a list of three of the year’s top franchises – and just what exactly you can learn from them:

1. Anytime Fitness: Anytime Fitness combines access with affordability to appeal to both customers and employees alike. From New Year’s resolutions to a multitude of 24-hour locations, gyms like Anytime Fitness successfully capitalize on the growing trends of health and convenience.

2. Hampton Hotels: Coming in at number two, Hampton Hotels places an impressive emphasis on fostering a franchisee support system. With ongoing support offered through use of newsletters, meetings, and security procedures, in addition to a multitude of marketing support, Hampton Hotels works hard in every aspect of its business plan to promote franchisee success.

3. Subway: Since 1965, the successful sandwich shop has transformed itself into a powerhouse thanks to an emphasis on solid marketing. By taking advantage of a wide variety of different tactics – from spokespeople to healthy living initiatives – Subway combines the ease and convenience of a fast food establishment with the attractiveness of an on-the-go lifestyle.

Whether your franchise has been growing steadily for years or you’re just beginning to consider the idea of expanding, by looking to this year’s top franchise businesses, you can take away a series of important lessons that can help you find success – from management to marketing.

Learn more from 2014’s top three franchises by contacting an experienced franchise consultant at Upside Group today.

Setting New Year Resolutions For Your Business

I read a great article last week on Forbes, here. It got me thinking… we often set personal goals for the new year (which is great – January is a good time to reflect on the year’s past and prepare and set goals for the year to come,) but not so often, perhaps, do we set goals for our businesses.

The author in the Forbes article, Drew, mentions great overarching goals like following a content marketing plan, utilizing apps that can make life easier, and showing customer appreciation. The ways you go about fulfilling your goals is obviously entirely up to you. I have found in my personal experience with New Year’s resolutions that it is easier to break goals down into more detailed “mini-goals”, so to speak.

For example, if your business goal is “to have a greater social media presence in 2014”, it may be easier to make your resolution something a bit more tangible – “We will post 200 Facebook statuses this year” or tweets, or Instagram pictures, or blog posts or… you get the point. Having a more specific goal, in this case a specific number you will reach, will probably help you better keep track of that progress and feel success at the end of this year when you reach your goal.

What are your business goals in 2014? Share them in the comments below!

Being Mobile-Friendly and Why It’s Important

Mobile communication is now an imperative part of a business’s marketing strategy. People are using smart phones and other mobile devices now more than ever. They are using their mobile technology to find shops, restaurants, and services in their area, and it’s important that when they search, they find your business.

If your website is not mobile-friendly, it will most likely lose you business. Anyone searching your business from their smart phone wants to quickly and conveniently access your contact information, purchase your products, or both. If the customer can’t find information, or the layout of your site isn’t compatible with his or her technology, they may become frustrated and bring their business elsewhere.

Additionally, your emails and newsletters must also be mobile-friendly. If people are reading your communications on-the-go, they want to be able to read the email free of excessive scrolling, pinching, and squinting at their touch-screen device. An annoying-to-read email will quickly be sent to the trash bin, or worse, unsubscribed from.

By creating a shorter, more condensed version of your website for mobile-users, you keep current customers happy and new customers coming. You can find more information about making a mobile friendly site in Franchising World’s current online magazine, found here.

How can you increase your revenue by $8,000 a year?

Surprisingly, the answer may be your business on Yelp. Yelp is an online urban guide and business review site, headquartered in San Francisco. And it is shown to increase the revenue of the average business by $8,000 a year. Millions of American consumers look to Yelp for recommendations from fellow consumers. And with a smart phone, this information is accessible at the tip of the fingers. The website and mobile app have consumers everywhere turning to customer reviews before trying a new restaurant, cleaning service, hotel, coffee shop, or drugstore.

According to a 2012 study at Berkeley, a half-star improvement in a restaurant’s Yelp rating caused the restaurant to sell out 49 percent more frequently. That’s huge! And it shows how seriously customers today are taking the positive and negative experiences they have at an establishment. Now a description of a delicious meal, along with a photo, can be shared with interested parties almost instantly, but then again, so can a negative experience. It makes me question whether consumer review sites like Yelp are putting more pressure on business owners than in the past.

At one time, a bad meal or terrible service meant a bad tip. Today, it could mean the entire experience posted to Yelp. A new study by Merchant Warehouse confirms the importance of review sites, showing that 93 percent of consumers who consumers who research local businesses on review sites make purchases from those businesses. Again, huge.

Is your business on Yelp? Do you frequently review places where you’ve been a patron? Leave your comments below!

Franchise Profile: Bin There, Dump That

Start your own business with North America’s only ‘Residential Friendly Dumpster Service’! Bin There Dump That is a specialist in the field of bin rental and dumpster rental. Whether it be renovation projects or just cleaning out junk or rubbish from around the house or office, Bin There Dump That provides a reliable bin rental service.

Contractors, remodelers, renovators, roofers, restoration services or property managers use the company’s clean and efficient services on an on-going repeated basis. Homeowners are fans, too. The kids move out, it’s time for a spring cleanup, a storm creates debris or do-it-yourself’ers  are working on a basement, kitchen or other home project.

If this resonates with you, you may have found the perfect franchise to explore. At Bin There Dump That we believe that people do business with people they like.  As you investigate our franchise business opportunity we hope you connect with us on a personal level.  What may surprise you is that we won’t try to sell you on our deal.  We strive to award our franchise to qualified candidates that will represent our brand with integrity and passion.

A Message from Bin There Dump That:

What may inspire you to learn more is our focus on education.  The more you learn about franchising, the more success you’ll achieve running your BTDT franchise.  Our guided educational approach allows you to dispel the fear of the unknown, turn assumptions into questions and therefore, uncover the real facts and truths about our franchise offering.

Are you a fit?   

During our 45 years of awarding franchise businesses & franchise opportunities, we have found several factors that identify what makes a great franchise operator.  There are three qualities and attributes common to all top performing franchisees.  They are;

  1. Fire in the belly- a drive to succeed, to win, to be rewarded for your direct effort  – balanced with a willingness to accept responsibility for your actions.
  2. The ability to follow a system and execute the proven business model – This is tempered by being a decision maker with the will to take action when required.  Think of implementation first, innovation second.
  3. Appropriate capital – Building a great business takes time, so having a realistic financial expectation is essential.  Having a solid net worth, balance sheet and above average credit score is required.

The most successful Bin There Dump That franchise operators love to meet people, talk about their businesses, join community events and are comfortable walking in the door of a Chamber of Commerce mixer or the office of a general contractor.

If this sounds like it could be you, you can head on over to our website to read more here: http://www.franchiseclique.com/franchise/Bin-There-Dump-That

Get LinkedIn: How Franchise Professionals Should Be Using The Networking Site

This month I have been paying a closer attention to the way in which franchise professionals utilize social media platforms. Specifically this week, I wanted to take a closer look at how LinkedIn is being used in the franchise industry. LinkedIn is a hot topic in the social networking realm right now. Everyone wants to know how to best leverage LinkedIn for their various needs. Franchisors, franchisees, and suppliers all see opportunity in the networking site, but many question how exactly they can use the platform to their benefit.

With a database of more than 238 million individuals, LinkedIn provides a great pool of prospective franchisees and customers. How can franchise professionals tap into this resource? They can start with their profile page. A new article in Franchising World’s November issue gives some tips about how you should go about revamping your page. First, look at your page from an outsider’s view. Does it read like a resume? If you’re seeking employment, that is one thing. But if you are not, it may be time to rewrite your profile to target whichever prospect or customer or prospective employee that you would like to engage.  People are using LinkedIn to better know you. You must actively choose a message: what do you want people to know about you and your company?

The article says that as you read through your LinkedIn profile, you must ask yourself whether your profile answers these questions that the reader may have:

–          Should I pay this person money?

–          Can I trust this person?

–          Can this person help me with my objectives (franchise ownership, employment, doing business)?

–          What benefits does this person and his company provide?

–          Does this person have the ability to help me make a significant decision?

–          Does this person look trustworthy and credible?

 

What is all really comes down to is making your profile a welcome mat to your company. You want to seem approachable, communicable and transparent. People want to do business with people they like and feel at ease with. Let your LinkedIn profile be a peak into your company’s missions and future goals. What LinkedIn tips do you have for fellow franchise professionals?

How to Utilize Social Media to Market Your Franchise

Though every franchise business is different, every successful franchise has one thing in common: an effective and pervasive marketing strategy.

And while much can be said for classic marketing materials (from billboards to print ads to television commercials), social media has begun to transform the entire face of franchise marketing. From Twitter to Facebook to Tumblr to Vine, social media has created a universal and easily accessible platform upon which committed franchise businesses can both broaden their reach and establish their brands.

 

Here are three ways that your business can utilize social media to market your franchise brand:

1. Match your franchise to the network: Start by learning all you can about each social media platform to help you decide which specific networks will benefit your business the most. Then, choose only three. It may be tempting to incorporate them all, but when it comes to social media, your goal should always be to do fewer better.

2.  Establish a presence: Once you’ve selected your platforms, work on establishing a presence. Make sure that when you start posting or tweeting, you do it regularly: create a schedule and stay consistent. Consider who your audience is, what your brand is built upon, and aim to engage.

3. Never forget your brand: Any franchise consulting professional will tell you: always stay true to your brand. While some of your franchise locations may have different social media teams, make sure that every profile – from Google+ to Instagram – is representative of your brand as a whole. Above all, ensure that every post, tweet, and picture portrays your business in a positive, appropriate, and kind light.

 

When you make the decision to incorporate social media into your franchise marketing plan, you’re taking a definitive step toward developing and fostering an impressive online presence – one which will help you successfully establish your brand. Learn how to create a successful marketing plan alongside a dependable franchise consulting firm today! 

 

A Conversation with Luke from Mighty Kicks Soccer: A Franchise Investment Worth Checking Out

This past week I spoke with Luke Vercollone, the president and founder of Mighty Kicks Soccer, a mobile soccer program designed to build motor skills, life skills, self-confidence and basic soccer techniques to children ages 2-7. The program brings soccer to where the children are, whether it is a childcare facility during the day, an after-school program at an elementary school, or other various locations in the community for home-schooled children and the general public. Mighty Kicks Soccer is unique in introducing sports and concepts of teamwork to children at a very young, impressionable age – and the coolest part? It’s a franchise.

Following Luke’s graduation from Seton Hall University (where he majored in Sports Management), he was drafted into the MLS and has been playing professional soccer since 2004. He is an NSCAA certified coach, with his USSF National B License and over 17 years of coaching experience. It was his coaching experience at other programs that inspired Luke to develop his own program.

I asked him how long after he began Mighty Kicks did he realize it had the capability to be franchised. Luke said “It wasn’t until I started the program in 2008 that I realized the program had potential to become a franchise. It was early in the first season; I immediately saw the popularity of Mighty Kicks and I realized there was a demand for this type of program and it was profitable.”

He went on to explain the unique aspect of this franchise, “Soccer is extremely popular, many other soccer programs play evenings and weekends, and we don’t compete with those programs. Mighty Kicks brings the program to the children. It’s, convenient, it’s economical, and it’s unique.” Mighty Kicks primarily focuses on preschool-aged children, at their preschools, where children can partake in the enrichment program on site during school hours.

Mighty Kicks Soccer is highly successful in developing many skills, including balance, agility, coordination, teamwork and good sportsmanship. Luke says “Our goal is to give young children an overall positive experience with sports, and specifically soccer. If they’re having fun, they’re learning. If they are enjoying soccer, they are more likely to play it in the future.” Even beyond the basic skills Mighty Kicks Soccer helps children develop, he says “We are indirectly teaching them life skills. We provide them with a positive experience, and keep them active.”

After speaking to Luke, I was very interested in checking out the benefits of franchising with Mighty Kicks Soccer. There are many: including a high profit margin with little overhead to maintain, flexible and family friends work hours, tax benefits, saved time (not wasted on the learning curve), as well as the enjoyable and rewarding work that makes a difference to children in the community. There are many other benefits one can receive when franchising with Mighty Kicks Soccer and you can check the rest of them out here.

And Luke’s message to those interested in franchising? “I think we have the greatest value.  As a new franchise, we are eager to bring on quality franchisees. If a candidate is interested in sports, in kids, and in business, this is a great investment.” Luke says this is an “Unbeatable value with a great investment opportunity.” I most certainly agree.

Hyperlocal Marketing: What is it and how can it help your business?

There has been a lot of talk recently in the marketing world about a new concept: hyperlocal marketing technology. Hyperlocal marketing uses the GPS feature and a mobile app on your smartphone to send targeted messages from a nearby franchise. The marketing is hyperlocal because the messages are for a small, specific area. This specific area can be specified through setting virtual perimeters around a specific location, an action referred to as “geofenching”.

Geofencing technology allows businesses to track when customers enter a defined area nearby their location through the GPS software on a person’s smartphone.

This technology means big things for a franchise.

Say you’re a Papa Murphy’s franchise in the Charleston,SC area. You can set up specific perimeters around your location so that when someone enters your virtual “fence”, you can send that discounted pizza coupon directly to them via their mobile phone. As they are within say one mile of your business, they will receive an alert on their phone with the pizza coupon and, hopefully, stop in at your shop. The key here is that these are also customers who have opted-in to receive offers; therefore, you are reaching a market of people who are already interested in special deals and offers.

The rapid growth of smartphone technology has delivered an entirely new platform to marketers. Businesses are now reaching customers in ways never thought possible in the past. How can this be translated to your business?

What are your opinions on hyperlocal marketing? Do you think that this could lead to an overflow of information to customers, causing them to become disenchanted, or is it an effective marketing tool that has an ever-growing presence in our future?

Are You Using Environmentally Responsible Pest Control Services?

Are You Using Environmentally Responsible Pest Control Services?

It is not breaking news that many of the products that are used for pest control in our homes are toxic to both humans and pets. Most people are willing to compromise the health of them and their family members for pest elimination when in actuality there are health conscious and eco-friendly ways to rid their home of unwanted creatures. LadyBug Eco-Friendly Pest Control does just that. The company has over 23 years of pest control experience and use products that are entirely National Organic Program (NOP) compliant.

The main product that LadyBug Eco-Friendly Pest Control uses is called Diatomaceous Earth which, once refined, resembles talcum powder. The powder is made from one-cell plant organisms extracted from the bottom of large bodies of fresh water. This natural ingredient kills pests like roaches, ants, crickets, spiders and scorpions without bringing harmful chemicals inside of your home.

Is there an environmentally responsible pest control service in your area?

Read on if you are interested in this eco-friendly franchise opportunity!

 

Lady Bug Eco-Friendly Pest Control  Franchise Specifics:

Benefits Of Unit Ownership With Lady Bug

  • Life-Style Opportunity (M-F 9 to 5)
  • LOW Unit Investment Of $30,000 Per Unit, 2nd ½ price
  • Fast ROI With HIGH Net Return
  • 1 Truck/Route With 300 Monthly Customers =$150,000
  • A Unit Can Have Multiple Truck Routes!
  • Pest Control Operation – Repeat Monthly Revenue
  • All Training At Corporate Office For Unit Owners

Benefits Of A Regional Developer

  • Multiple Revenue Streams
  • Revenue From Their Own Unit
  • Unit included In The RD price
  • Revenue from Selling Units & Collecting Franchise Fees
  • Developing Territories & Selling Customers to Units
  • Receiving Royalty Stream
  • All Training at Corporate Office For RD’s

Unit Investment

  • $30k Franchise Fee
  • Capital $40,000+
  • 70k Total Invest
  • 7-10% Royalty
  • 2% Advertising Fund

Unit Numbers

  • $150,000 Revenue Per Truck/Route (300 customers)
  • 1 Unit Can Have Multiple Trucks/Routes
  • Avg. Pest Control Service $45 rate
  • Up To 50% Net Profit

What is Social Franchising?

The success of franchising comes from the transfer of knowledge and experience from one successful enterprise to another. With an established business concept, as well as support and training, a franchisee can quickly become successful thanks to the foundation upon which his or her business is built. While with most commercial franchises the goal is to maximize profits, social franchises use the principles of franchising for a social goal.

What is social franchising and how does it differ from commercial franchising?

Social franchises are driven by social goals, rather than profit. While the franchise does make profit, this profit is used to develop its social aims. Social aims can include food security, poverty alleviation, or environmental conservation. According to the European Social Franchising Network (ESFN), a social franchise should be a social enterprise, and  have the four following characteristics:

  1. An organization that replicates a social enterprise business model – the social franchisor.
  2. At least one independent social franchisee that has been replicated by the social franchisor.
  3. A common brand under which the social franchisees operate.
  4. An interchange of knowledge between members.

Social franchises can operate in various ways, but generally a social franchisee pays the social franchisor a fee for their support. Differing from other non-profit charities and foundations, where most of the funding comes from grants and personal donations, social franchises use the sales of their successful business model to create a better world.

For example, Community Renewable Energy (CoRE), a European social franchise, helps communities develop their own renewable energy systems to generate community income and address climate change. The franchise does so through working in partnership with a specific community, where the community is not charged for CoRE’s work, but rather as a stakeholder in the the renewable energy systems, where they take a share of the profits. This share is then used to help the next community. The social franchise essentially supports their members by providing “technical skills, shared services, and replicable models for developing renewable energy systems.”

Are you familiar with any social franchises in your area? Please feel free to comment below!

Virtual Expo Asks the Tough Question: Is Business Ownership Right for You?

North America’s Leading Career and Franchise Business Coaching Company, The Entrepreneur’s Source®, Fuels Dreams of Business Ownership with “Start a Business Weekend” Virtual Franchise Expo July 25-27

The nation’s leading career and franchise business coaching network, The Entrepreneur’s Source® is hosting its virtual Start a Business Weekend® expo July 25-27, 2013 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. EDT. The virtual expo offers current and aspiring entrepreneurs the opportunity to explore business opportunities and gain advice from experts – all from the comfort of their home or office.

The Start a Business Weekend expo allows attendees to “walk” into a digital Exhibit Hall and visit the booths of more than 90 of the nation’s hottest franchise concepts. Participants can chat live with representatives about a variety of different franchise brands, learn how to finance their new business, attend keynote presentations, and download informational resources. Business coaches from The Entrepreneur’s Source will be available to help would-be entrepreneurs determine if business ownership is right for them. After attending a Start a Business Weekend expo, 95 percent of participants end up discovering options they admittedly would have never looked at on their own or would have previously dismissed.

 

“Many people would love to start their own business, especially with the job market moving towards part-time work. The problem is, many people don’t know where to start or are unsure of the skills needed to run a business,” said Brian Miller, COO of The Entrepreneur’s Source. “Our free Start a Business Weekend expo asks the hard hitting question: is business ownership right for you? By the end of the three day event, participants will have that question answered and the tools and guidance necessary to start their entrepreneurial journey.”

 

The Entrepreneur’s Source has more than 30 years of experience in helping make franchisors and their franchisees more profitable. With more than 230 offices in the United States, Canada and the UK, the company presents prospective franchisees with new business opportunities that complement their goals, needs and expectations, while delivering franchisors the right individuals to grow their concepts. Additionally, the company also offers business-coaching services to help franchisees advance, improve efficiency and increase the return on the investment made on their franchise business.

 

Registration for the SABW Expo is currently open, with no registration fee, at www.StartABusinessWeekend.com. For more information about The Entrepreneur’s Source and business coaching support, visit http://www.entrepreneurssource.com/.

 

About The Entrepreneur’s Source
The Entrepreneur’s Source is North America’s leading career and franchise Business Coaching Company dedicated to the entrepreneur, with more than 230 offices in the United States, Canada, and the UK. Dominating the $1.5 billion dollar Business Coaching/Consulting franchise market in North America, the company offers a full range of services to individuals seeking alternate career options and to franchise businesses looking to increase performance. For more information about The Entrepreneur’s Source, please visit http://www.EntrepreneursSource.com/

 

The Entrepreneur’s Source and Start a Business Weekend are trademarks of TES Franchising, LLC.  All rights reserved.