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.

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!

Maui Wowi Has International Appeal

Maui Wowi Hawaiian, an international company specializing in premium Hawaiian coffees and nutritious fruit smoothies, has announced it was ranked in the July 2013 issue of Entrepreneur Magazine among the top 200 global franchises, an annual listing of North America’s top franchisors seeking international development.

“Maui Wowi has built a concept and brand that has incredible international appeal,” said Justin Livingston, director of global franchise development. “The tropical island theme and superior quality products resonate with people on a global scale and our acknowledgement on the top 200 global franchises list is further proof that our foundation is strong and future bright.”

The honor of appearing on the list is based on a company’s ranking on the 2013 Franchise 500 list, a compilation of franchises, which is developed through objective and quantifiable criteria, such as growth and financial strength. The companies are then attributed additional clout based on its international size and growth to determine which will make the cut for top 200 global franchises.

Maui Wowi Hawaiian has a presence in 6 countries outside of the United States and is actively seeking international partners to bring the Aloha Spirit to more people. For more than 30 years, Maui Wowi Hawaiian has continued to grow and become a leader in the industry. It’s simplistic approach has allowed a diverse franchise system to flourish through proven systems, support, and flexibility. The company is actively franchising both domestically and internationally. For more information please visit http://www.franchiseclique.com/franchise/Maui-Wowi-Hawaiian-Coffees-and-Smoothies.

About Maui Wowi Hawaiian Coffees & Smoothies:
Since 1982, Maui Wowi Hawaiian has embraced the Hawaiian culture and has been serving paradise in a cup since the day it began, 30 years ago. From event carts, mall kiosks and stand-alone retail locations Maui Wowi Hawaiian offers premium, all-natural, gluten-free, fresh-fruit smoothies, as well as gourmet Hawaiian coffees and espresso beverages. With over 400 operating units in eight countries, Maui Wowi Hawaiian has truly gone “Global” by adding an online store, shop.mauiwowi.com. Now customers from anywhere in the world can experience the prized-gourmet Hawaiian coffees and taste the ‘Aloha Spirit’ with a ‘Click-of-a button!’ To learn more information about Maui Wowi Hawaiian’s, products, locations, or flexible, low cost franchising opportunities, visit http://www.franchiseclique.com/franchise/Maui-Wowi-Hawaiian-Coffees-and-Smoothies.

Mobility: A Time-Tested Specialty and an Alternative Entrance into the Senior Market

Headquartered in Wilmington, North Carolina, and sweeping its way across America, 101 Mobility is one of the nation’s largest providers of mobility solutions and one of the most exciting alternative opportunities for entrepreneurs seeking out their niche in the senior boom.

101 Mobility sells, installs, rents, and services a complete line of home health, mobility, and accessibility products for the elderly and disabled. From stair, porch, pool, and auto lifts, to ramps, bridges and walkways to power scooters, safety baths, and more, they service residential and commercial clients alike and are the top dealer of many of their products’ manufacturers.

In an industry historically predominated by “mom and pop” shops and anonymous online firms, seniors and their caretakers often don’t know who to trust for professional and reliable mobility products and aren’t aware of the broad variety of mobility solutions available. As one of the first nationally franchised organizations of its kind, 101 Mobility has been leading this specialty into the 21st century.

101 Mobility’s is a scalable business model designed to grow with your operation, and can be launched in 90 days or less. Their franchisees receive comprehensive training, protected territories, established relationships with equipment vendors and core national accounts, marketing assistance, and their unparalleled, all-inclusive “Mobilink” business operating system.

101 Mobility is on the move and is seeking motivated entrepreneurs who can help them reach their national goals. If you have strong sales and marketing skills and are shopping for solid alternative options in the senior market, consider the time-tested specialty of “mobility” and contact their franchise development team today.

To learn more about this up-and-coming franchise opportunity, please visit: http://www.franchiseclique.com/franchise/101-Mobility.

A Healthy Choice: Wok Box Fresh Asian Kitchen

There are plenty of lunch and dinner choices to make when you’re looking for Chinese food, Japanese dishes and other Asian food specialties. As a franchise operator, wouldn’t it be convenient if your customers could find all of their favorite Asian dishes and other exciting new specialties under one roof?

Wok Box Fresh Asian Kitchen has put together a delicious variety of flavorful and healthy meal choices from popular Asian regions all in one menu. Expect favorites from Thailand, Malaysia, China, Singapore, Vietnam, Japan and many more. Wok Box Fresh Asian Kitchen’s lunch and dinner selections are made to order with fresh ingredients and unique sauces made exclusively for the Wok Box in their test kitchen.

The Wok Box pioneered the concept of freshly made pan-Asian food in Canada and packaged it in a quick serve restaurant model that fits into 1,200 to 1,500 square feet. Their growth has attracted abundant interest from would-be franchisees across Canada, resulting in more than 70 stores opening in three years.

Their diverse menu selections appeal to many tastes and attract both lunch and dinner customers. The restaurants are designed to create a comfortable, pleasant and unique Wok Box experience, encouraging customers to return often. But why limit your opportunities to serving dine-in customers only? Their Group Share menu selections encourage family style dining that easily lends itself to take out ordering too. Their customers enjoy the convenience of picking up their favorite menu items on their way home, so they can serve their family with practically no effort at all. Boost your sales further with Wok Box’s extensive catering menu. Give customers the opportunity to think of you when they need to cater a family gathering, business meeting, birthday party or sporting event.

With a management team boasting many years of practical hands-on experience, the Wok Box offers comprehensive support to its franchisees, starting with helping you understand how their markets are laid out, and then guiding you through the real estate process where you choose your store location. They will make sure you build a beautiful store complete with their interior designs and colors, tiled walls, big screen televisions and a unique and inviting kitchen design.

 

To learn more about the Wok Box franchise opportunity, please click the following link: http://www.franchiseclique.com/franchise/Wok-Box-Fresh-Asian-Kitchen.

Franchise Profile: The Grout Medic

 

The Grout Medic, in response to exploding customer demand, was founded under the commitment that their company could provide customers a viable, long term, cost effective, alternative to replacing tile and grout.

 

The Grout Medic is the leading grout & tile restoration franchise with over 40 locations across the US. Their franchise owners come from all walks of life, but they all have the same common goals; to gain control over their future and provide a better lifestyle and opportunity for themselves and their families.

 

At The Grout Medic™ their goal is simple – To create an opportunity to allow motivated, hardworking, business-minded individuals a low cost, high margin path to success. In doing so, The Grout Medic™ has become a leading grout and tile repair service with a cost effective, highly profitable, operating system offering a valuable service to their customers with very little competition. The Company’s foundation is based on solid business principles, extensive training and post operating support and, most of all, their experienced and dedicated people.

 

 

The Grout Medic Difference:
The Grout Medic has an industry leading approach to grout and tile restoration which has been one of the major factors in its success. They use exclusive equipment including their vapor machine and electric grout removal tools, as well as techniques and exclusive product lines to position The Grout Medic as the leader in the industry. The Grout Medic also employs a number of “green” practices in line with the current consumer demand.

 

To find out more about this amazing franchise opportunity, please visit the following link: http://www.franchiseclique.com/franchise/The-Grout-Medic. An online form may also be submitted for more detailed information.

Franchising – Is It for You?

When someone decides to buy a franchise, there are many questions which need to be asked before they part with their money.

 

Does the company have a solid reputation?  Do you have the required funds to make owning the business licence a reality?  Will your bank lend you additional funds to help you get started?

 

While all these questions are perfectly valid, they fail to touch on another important area which should be explored before you consider taking up a franchise opportunity.  This additional area is you.

 

It is easy to overlook your own skills and qualities when you are researching the opportunities on offer, yet these will act as the most valuable components of your potential success or failure.  You need to be sure of your own strengths and weaknesses before sinking thousands of dollars into a franchise.

 

It may be that the idea of owning your own business appeals to you, but doing it all on your own seems too daunting to consider.  Franchising offers you the security of trading under a familiar name, selling a product the buying public already knows about.  You are entering a business which, in effect, has already been sweated over and set up for you.  All the hard work has been done… right?

 

Well, not exactly.  The groundwork has been laid, yes, but there is still a lot of hard work to be done on your part, and you should be prepared to put in long hours – at least to begin with – if your franchise is to succeed.  There can be a lot of money in franchising, but as with all money making ideas, it does not work on its own.  Are you persevering enough to see it through?

 

Alternately, if you like to operate totally on your own, franchising is not likely to be a good choice.  You will be your own boss to an extent, but not all the decision making will be down to you.  You need to be honest with yourself here – does this work structure appeal to you… or are you put off entirely?

 

Confidence is another keystone in the world of franchising.  If you doubt your own abilities at all, then any success you achieve is likely to be on a small scale.  You need to have an unshakeable belief in yourself – preferably one which is backed up by people who know and will support you.  No business venture is foolproof, but with an ability to recognise this and a belief that you will eventually succeed, you will be better able to plod determinedly through the hard times in order to reach a higher level of success.

 

You also need to consider which franchise would suit you best.  There are several hundred companies offering franchises to the right people, encompassing many areas of operation – clothing, business services and food outlets, to name but a few.

 

If you happen to be a vegetarian, then a franchise with McDonalds is probably not a good idea.  You need to choose a company which operates in a sector you are familiar with, and one in which you will preferably have some existing skills.  For example, if you had some experience in the clothing industry, then you will no doubt possess some useful skills which can be put into a franchise with a company such as Benetton.  Monetary input is not the only decisive factor when buying a franchise.

 

The question of location is another important area to consider.  An increasing number of franchisees – especially those with family commitments – are working from home, and you may find the advantages of this kind of franchise would appeal to you more than if you worked in a shop.  Travel expenses are virtually non-existent, you don’t have the worry of shop (and home) security when you are in one place or the other, and your working day is much more flexible.

 

With the help relevant associations in your country can give you (try a search on Google), you will be able to assess whether or not you are the right person to take on a franchise.

 

If you do have what it takes, and you make the most of the skills and abilities you have, then success in this attractive, rapidly growing and relatively secure sector of the business market may soon be yours.

 

Franchising Flummoxed by Obamacare

Franchises are flummoxed by the Affordable Care Act. The new healthcare law continues to evolve, leaving a lot of confused small business owners in its wake. Which aspects of the employer mandate are franchisees responsible for complying with? How can they remain solvent without reducing their workforce and losing valuable employees?

 

The IFA has created www.MakingSenseofHealthCare.org to help businesses understand their compliance responsibilities and share testimonials and stories about how they’re dealing with the process.

 

Regardless of your political inclinations the Affordable Care Act is a big deal. The mandated health care coverage is expensive and small businesses are struggling to maintain profitability– which includes franchises.

 

According to the IFA, over one-third of full-time franchise jobs could be cut back or lost completely due to the Affordable Care Act. That’s over 3 million jobs. While Obamacare doesn’t take full effect until 2014, owners of fast-food, restaurant and service company franchises are urging Congress to make major changes to the ACA in order to save jobs and keep them in business.

 

One of the biggest components of the healthcare overhaul that’s causing grief is the discrepancy as to what constitutes a full-time work week. Obamacare says 30 hours; while most in the franchise industry believe 40 hours should be the standard. If Congress doesn’t amend the law franchises will be forced to cut employee hours back to below 30 hours per week.

 

Franchise business owners aren’t the only ones facing higher costs as a result of the Affordable Care Act. A 2011 Hudson Institute study shows that the franchise industry could see its costs increase $6.4 billion, much of which would be passed on to consumers.