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Franchising your business: should you take the leap?

Franchising a business is the logical next step for many businesses, but there are some basics to consider before moving forward – let’s examine them.

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Franchising your business, expanding your formula

Now that we’re a few days into the new year, people begin to seriously buckle down on the resolutions they set out for themselves (unless you’ve decided to give up already). For a small business owner whose company is running smoothly and meeting revenue expectations, one of those resolutions might be to franchise the company.

If you’ve found a formula that appears to work, it makes sense to wonder if it can be replicated in order to extend the success of your business. But there are some things that should be considered before moving forward with this decision if you want the experience to be positive and profitable.

Do you have the resources to expand?

This question is hugely important. Before you go forth and multiply, will you be able to reach the increased product demand needed to fill new incoming orders or requests for service? Is there a large market in the areas you want to open franchises in?

You want to make sure that your business can rise to the challenge of increased demands as poor performance drives consumers into the arms of your competitors. And before you begin making money, there will be legal fees and other start-up costs in order to get these additional locations going.

Does your business have a positive trajectory for growth?

In order to remain competitive, your business must be flexible enough to adapt to market changes, trends and expectations. This disruptive nature in the market shakes things up and weeds out weak contenders. If your business plan possesses a strategy of continuous innovation year over year, your company could benefit from opening franchises and helping lead market change as your increased presence helps your brand gain even more visibility.

However, if you franchise into multiple locations with a stagnant plan, you’ve increased your problems tenfold.

Who is your model franchisee?

A franchise is an extension of your business so you should take care to choose individuals who positively reflect the values and work ethic that you want to promote. While these franchisees do report to you, there’s a lot that can go awry while you’re manning headquarters, so choose wisely.

Are you a good instructor?

The people who will be operating the franchises are initially taking their cues from you regarding products, marketing and overall operations. Do you have all of your business processes fully documented and have the capability to instruct how to run your business?

You want your franchise to reflect positively on you, and therefore need to be able to impart these specifications and practices to interested franchisees to ensure the new locations meet your standards.

Destiny Bennett is a journalist who has earned double communications' degrees in Journalism and Public Relations, as well as a certification in Business from The University of Texas at Austin. She has written stories for AustinWoman Magazine as well as various University of Texas publications and enjoys the art of telling a story. Her interests include finance, technology, social media...and watching HGTV religiously.

Business Entrepreneur

The top 10 startup cities in America

(ENTREPRENEUR NEWS) If you’re thinking about launching a startup anytime soon you may want to check out this list on the top 10 cities for startups.

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The digital revolution is in full swing, and some cities are setting themselves up to capitalize upon these innovations by supporting startups.

In order to “better understand the U.S. cities driving the digital revolution,” several groups have come together to rank which cities are making the most of the tech startup boom.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 1776, the U.S. Chamber Technology Engagement Center, and FreeEnterprise.com have teamed up to publish a report called Innovation That Matters (ITM).

The report analyzes and ranks U.S. cities on such factors as startup capital, the connectivity of startups, startup culture, the availability of worker talent and specialization, and more. Data was taken from surveys of entrepreneurs and businesspeople, startups, and leaders in public and private sectors.

J.D. Harrison, senior director of strategic communications at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce says that the “digital revolution has the potential to make winners of some cities and leave others behind.”

The study aims to find out which cities “embrace this shift to a digital economy and actively support technology startups,” arguing that these cities “will be the best positioned to unleash the power of high-impact innovation and cultivate vibrant, thriving communities.”

The top ten ranking cities are as follows:

10) Portland, Oregon because every city needs a nickname, has been dubbed the Silicon Forest, referencing its leadership in green tech.

9) New York City, New York. The largest tech hub on the east coast.

8) Seattle, Washington. Home to Amazon.com and several other tech firms, with Microsoft’s headquarters in nearby Redmond.

7) Dallas, Texas. Dtown moved up significantly by increasing startup connectivity and tapping into a large, diverse workforce.

6) Atlanta, Georgia. The “most improved” city on the ITM list, moving up 15 places to number six due to a surge in financial, educational, and health tech industries.

5) Austin,Texas. Home of The American Genius, Austin has become a “haven for tech-savvy millennials seeking good-paying job opportunities.” Besides hosting many tech startups, Austin still has a relatively affordable cost of living.

4) San Diego, California. San Diego is full of cybersecurity, Big Data, robotics, and software startups.

3)Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Also known as Philicon Alley, moved up from number eight by deregulating and becoming more business-friendly.

2) San Francisco Bay Area. The Bay also ranked number two last year. The seaside neighbor to the Silicon Valley has been doing a great job attracting seed funding these days.

1) Boston, Massachusetts. This is the second year in a row that Boston has topped this list, due to its large number of startups and robust entrepreneur population.

How does your city rank?

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Business Entrepreneur

Customer surveys tell more than just satisfaction

(ENTREPRENEUR NEWS) While they can be annoying for the consumer and cost time for the company, customer feedback surveys are crucial to your business.

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While Richard Dawson, Louie Anderson, and Steve Harvey may not be able to personally help you with customer service, what they have in common can. Surveys, and personalized follow-up attention in general, help clients and consumers know that they mean something to your business.

For the sake of this article (and the fast-paced, technological world we live in) I am going to be speaking about surveys. However, I want to share this anecdote first.

I used to work front desk at a salon and part of my job was to follow up with new guests about a week after their appointment.

Now, most of the time, my calls went to voicemail, which were never returned; but every once in awhile a human answered.

After going through the spiel of why I was calling, I could almost always sense a sound of surprise from the other line before the person answered my question. One conversation in particular left me realizing how important this seemingly useless task was.

I called an older woman and asked her about a recent appointment she had at the salon. She thanked me for calling and then went into detail about how great the appointment was and how much getting her hair done meant to her.

Before we hung up she said, “thank you again for calling. A salon has never done this before.” It then hit me like a ton of bricks just how significant something as small as a callback is.

If you have the time, definitely make those callbacks to clients as it could be very meaningful. However, it’s understandable that most of us may not have the time in our schedule for personalized phone calls.

So if that’s the case, don’t forget about surveys. I know most of them will either go to spam or go unanswered, but the mere fact that you’re sending it out shows clients and customers that you care about their business.

And, for those surveys that do receive responses, it can be extremely beneficial for your company as you can get insight into what works and what doesn’t. There’s really no disadvantage to this tactic, so remember to make time for that follow up with existing clients rather than just focusing on getting new ones.

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Business Entrepreneur

Entrepreneur blunders to bypass

(ENTREPRENEUR NEWS) Being an entrepreneur takes a lot of hard work, as a result, it’s easy to make mistakes. Here’s how to avoid hurting your business from the get-go.

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The entrepreneur business can be a tricky one. It’s not one of those career choices that have more of a clear-cut path, and it may require you to make your own rules along the way.

Along with making your own rules, it is also 110 percent likely that you will make mistakes along the way, as well. This is true of any career, but, when within the sphere of being an entrepreneur, responsibility has a tendency to weigh even heavier on your shoulders.

This is completely unavoidable, but if you keep an eye on your methods and not just your desired outcomes, you can help combat some of the biggest mistakes. Here are some things to keep in mind.

It’s obviously one of the first priorities to get the word out about your business. You may be inclined to hit up every social media platform known to man.

This can be harmful to you if you spread your social presence too thin and have no focus. Pick a few channels that are the most fitting for your business, build your presence, then expand to other channels from there.

Never promise more than you can deliver at the start of your business. You only get one shot at your first sale with a consumer and not delivering what they expected can hurt your next chance.

Also, be approachable and keep an open mind when it comes to networking and communicating for sales. Confidence can carry you and your business a long way.

So, you’ve found a strategy that works? Great! But, don’t get complacent. Consumers want to see innovation, and employees yearn for that, too.

Try and start each year with a calendar and determine what changes you want to make from the last. Figure out what worked and how you can expand upon it to make it fresh and possibly more successful.

With this idea, don’t settle for reusing the same knowledge over and over again. Keep learning as your business grows and turn that knowledge into actions.

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