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!

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! 


What Franchises Need to Know About Satmetrix

What to do when your customers go from engaged to enraged.


The advent of social media has ushered in a new customer service paradigm. Interactions between a business and its customers — positive or negative– are now part of a company’s narrative thanks to platforms like Facebook and Twitter.


For businesses, this presents an opportunity to engage with its customer base and obtain feedback on its products and services. Under normal circumstances, this is a good, even great, thing. But, when a customer turns from engaged to enraged, a business is often caught off-guard, especially if a customer chooses to vent his or her frustration publicly. An angry customer is a scary thing; an angry customer on Twitter or Facebook is terrifying.


Dissatisfied customers present a unique challenge to franchises. Negative feedback expressed publicly can not only tarnish the reputation of the local outpost, but also influence a potential customer’s perception of the brand overall. As Forbes reported earlier this year, “when you make a decision to choose one brand over another, you’re influenced more by the company’s reputation than any particular product it offers.”


So how do you manage your reputation, keep your customers happy, and protect your bottom line? Satmetrix has a suggestion: put your net promoter score to work.


There are three types of customers: promotors, passives, and detractors. Customers that support and advocate for your brand are promoters. Those that support your business but aren’t telling their friends and family about you are considered passives. Customers that speak out against your business due to a poor experience are labeled as detractors. A brand’s net promoter score is calculated by subtracting the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters and provides a company with a numeric indication of its customer base’s level of satisfaction.


Traditionally, a net promoter score was calculated through surveys, which have become so ubiquitous they’re ineffective. Fewer and fewer customers care to respond to surveys because they get so many. Spark Score, a program from Satmetrix, surveys what customers are already saying by sweeping the Internet and social media.


At this point, the folks at Satmetrix decided to go a step further. After the net promoter score has been calculated, more questions are asked. In doing so, Satmetrix is able to draw a correlation between the net promoter score and what’s causing a customer to recommend your brand or, in some cases, to not recommend your brand. The goal is to identify the moment that franchises (and other businesses) are dropping the ball in order to fix the underlying error, improve overall customer relations, and ultimately win customers back.


A recent study performed by the Gallup Business Journal indicates that bringing on new customers is about emotion, not price or product. It costs more money to woo a new customer than it does to keep an existing one. In addition, satisfied existing customers spend an average of 2.6 times more than one that’s relatively satisfied and 14 times more than one that isn’t satisfied.


In the graph below, total revenue is represented by the total sales from passive and promoter customers in a nonexistent company. Total potential revenue represents the total sales from promoters, passives, and detractors who have returned as passive customers after having their customer service issues resolved. On average, the difference between the total and total potential revenues each month is $9,333.


The way Satmetrix has designed their program gives franchises the ability to assign each customer type a value, placing into perspective the real cost of a dissatisfied customer. In the case of the nonexistent company above, one detractor equals 2.6 passives and 1 promoter. So, when you lose a customer due to a poor customer service experience, you may need two customers to make up the difference in lost revenue.


At the end of the day, it’s more than the loss of a customer and sales; a detractor also has the ability to turn potential clients into detractors before they’ve even become a paying customer. When you’re looking to try a new restaurant or need help mowing your lawn you turn to family members and your friends for recommendations. The same applies to every business.


Satmetrix hasn’t stopped at creating a better net promoter score or helping companies assign a value to each customer type. With Satmetrix, sales teams can respond to customer service emergencies in real-time, assuaging a dissatisfied customer’s frustrations before they’ve said sayonara and been welcomed with open arms by a competitor. It’s also at this point that Satmetrix can help companies identify exactly where they’re going wrong in the sales process. As Carol Tice of Entrepreneur magazine points out, two of the best ways to keep angry customers from storming out and never coming back are reaching out via social media and fixing the broken policies.


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