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Why Buying a Franchise Is the Recipe for a Successful Business Start Up

So you want to own your own business. Good for you. The World needs entrepreneurs willing to risk their time and money on new ideas. However, the sad truth is that even with brilliant ideas and enthusiastic entrepreneurs, most start up businesses fail within the first two years. Yet take heart, all is not lost. It is possible to own your own business and dramatically increase your chances of success.

What is this miracle of modern business? The answer is franchising.

What is a franchise?

Now before we continue, let us be clear about what franchising is (and isn’t). A franchise is not just the right to use a brand, although the brand will be a crucial part of the deal. No, a franchise is much more than that. A true franchise is a complete business system, comprising every aspect of how to operate the business. This will include:

• the products or services offered for sale,

• the methods for delivering those products and services to customers,

• marketing and promotion,

• dealing with customer complaints,

• invoicing and credit control

and every other operation and process needed to run the business.

The business system will be combined with training and support provided by the franchisor to the franchisee and his employees. It is this trinity of recognised brand together with business systems and training and support that together characterise a true franchise.

In this way, a franchise is like following a recipe. The franchisor will already have the recipe for creating and running a successful business. If the franchisee follows the same recipe, the franchisee should also end up with his own, successful business. By replicating the franchisor’s tried and tested business model, the franchisee dramatically increases his chances of success when compared to operating as an independent business.

A tried and tested model

In an established franchise network, the business model will have been tested many times, not just by the franchisor, but by dozens of other franchisees. This means that the franchisor will also have the opportunity to collect key performance data from his franchisees. In turn, this allows the franchisor to set bench marks which will serve as early warning systems, identifying potential issues in a franchisee’s business before they become significant problems.

Of course, the franchisor is not going to share his secret recipe for free. The trinity of brand, business systems and training and support comes at a price. Typically, this will include both an initial licence fee and on going management charges calculated as a percentage of turnover. These fees mean that buying and running a franchise business is more expensive than setting up an independent business. However, the increased initial costs may prove to be money well spent in the long run, particularly if the alternative is a significantly higher risk of business failure.

Let us conclude with a note of caution. As with all recipes, some are tastier than others. It is vital that before investing in any franchise, the franchisee thoroughly researches the industry as well as the specific franchise network that he is considering joining. Buying a franchise can be a fantastic business opportunity, provided the franchisee goes into it with his eyes wide open and wholly understands what he is taking on.

How to Prepare Your Business for Being Discovered By New Customers

These days, you never know how a new customer will hear about your business.

It can be in a crowded conference center with 2,000 people, or it can be in a small café during a conversation between friends. It can also happen online – whether that’s through a post on Facebook, a question on Twitter, or a photo shared on Instagram.

Oftentimes, people won’t be searching for your business name when they find you.

Think about how you actually search for products and services online. You might type something into your browser like this:

• Mexican restaurants in Berkeley. CA

• Dog walker in Chicago, IL

• Interior designer in Washington, DC

• Landscaper in Los Angeles, CA

• Photographer in Atlanta, GA

Each time a search like this is performed, the prospective client is likely to discover a new business that they would have never known about without the convenience of the Internet.

How you show up in the search engines is even more important if you have a “local” based business such as a restaurant, a boutique or any other kind of “brick and mortar” business.

One recent survey of smartphone users found that 75 percent have used a mobile device to get real-time location-based information. This presents an exciting opportunity for you to attract new customers and do more business. But, it also means you need to be prepared so that you can keep them coming back!

Here are five things you can do to make sure you’re ready:

1. Make it easy for people to find your business.

Three areas you’ll want to focus on are: your website, social media, and listings.

2. Make sure the information they find is up-to-date.

When people do find your business online, you need to make sure the information they discover is accurate and up-to-date.

Your phone number and email address need to be accurate and current. Have your contact information available on every page of your site. Be sure to list your mailing address (or your physical address if you’re a brick and mortar business). Have your current service menu, price list and testimonials.

Make sure your site is always reflecting the latest and greatest in your business!

3. Provide a WOW experience that gets people talking.

When prospective clients arrive at your website or come through your door, you need to make sure you’re providing a memorable experience.

At every interaction your prospect should feel heard, understood and appreciated. Follow-up in a timely manner. Answer their questions. Be generous in sharing your expertise. Give them options for products and services that speak to their problems and are easy to say yes to.

Providing a WOW experience will turn first time customers into repeat customers and loyal advocates for your business.

4. Make it easy for your prospects to stay connected.

This could be as simple as sharing the links to your social media profiles on your website, or providing a sign-up form on your counter for people to join your email list.

Give them an incentive to share their contact information – offer a free gift, a discount, a sample – anything that is relevant and valuable to them. Capturing their contact information and staying in touch will allow you to develop a trusted relationship, that will likely lead to a sale and ongoing business!

5. Follow up promptly!

Once people have connected with you, it’s your responsibility to keep the conversation going. Remember, it’s not their job to remember that you are in business to serve their needs.

Make sure you’re actually participating on social media, not just posting when you have something to promote. If you’re telling customers they’ll be receiving an email newsletter once a month, make sure you’re following through. Look for ways to bring them back into your store with a special offer or in-person event.

You need to build credibility and your audience needs to know you are serious and committed to your business.

Don’t wait to get started.

People are discovering your business every day. If you want to turn those potential customers into repeat visitors and loyal advocates for your business, you need to be prepared!

Great Time Manager In Business

In business as in your personal life, being a great time manager, is a quality that distinguishes you as a leader. Why can I say that? Let us stay in business for a moment. If you are indeed a great time manager, among your associates you are seen and regarded as someone capable of great productive work.

Time management is such in demand among leaders and in business generally, that those that excel in this quality, are very much guaranteed to have great positions of power and leadership. Think about it, if you posses this capacity, your time is much more valuable for ways to increase higher production, greater concentration and better ways to manage your time and those around you.

If we concentrate in doing business online for example, and wanted to be more effective with our time, we would benefit from a few techniques about time management that a great time manager in business could give us. Or it would be very much in our interest to learn how to be a good time manager.

What can we learn in this regard? Well, that depends on how well we know our goals and how well we plan our daily schedule. There is no doubt that for those that have a clear idea or plan for doing projects in a certain amount of time, their time is going to be better spent, simply because they ‘know’ or ‘want’ to carry out their plan to achieve the results in a specific amount of time.

That is infinitely better than saying “We need to get this ‘thing’ done in five months”. This is too open-ended if we do not state a start and an end time. This subject is of great importance especially for the home business, since lack of real accountability, is detrimental for effective time management.

Would you say, if you are a home entrepreneur, that time management is your most sought after quality? I know how much I dislike being un-productive and most probably you do too, so I’d listen to any great time manager about their ideas and strategies in this regard.

The skills required for being an effective user of time are very diverse and determined because any person that has this quality, is able to set clear precise goals to be achieved by a specified date in time. A person of this quality is able to meet deadlines easily because their scaling of time is more manageable and precise.

In business we need people who can perform well, on time, and with good quality for the customers’ satisfaction. And when these people are guided by an effective time manager, their performance is much enhanced.

Finding yourself un-focus or de-motivated in your everyday tasks, working from home, is a sure way to miss deadlines and not to reach your goals. Your use of time suffers this way because you see how little you get done with the time you had. I say it like this, because it is true that time spent is time gone, it will never return.

I am sure that many of us working mainly at home, could pin-point the easiest culprit of poor time management. Would we say ‘procrastination’? I think I would. It happens to me sometimes when I simply get distracted with the minimal thing or news and that when interrupted, I easily continue being un-focus for a while.

Later I beat myself about it, knowing full well it was my fault for not quickly recovering back to work. I love it though, when I get focus into a flow of action and manage to get done what I intended for that day.

What else comes near procrastination in the rapid time miss-management ladder? I would say failing to plan and not having a good idea of what is actually needed to be accomplished. These two things in one, are really great time wasters if you asked me. For the home business entrepreneur, to have clear objectives for the day is of paramount importance and without a determined plan for doing things, it looks like effective time management is virtually impossible.

Lack in this respect is the cause of great disappointment and frustration among home business owners. With lack of planning and vision, business objectives and goals are not going to be achieved and what we will get is poor results and lesser revenue.

So, let us throw away shoddy working practices, second-rated work habits and any easy destructive methods that rob us our daily productivity and our ability to get things done on time.

We can also go the other way around entirely and that is equally expensive, you know, I am now referring to the idea of being ‘perfect’ or wanting something near ‘perfect’ before we put it out to the market place. This is also a monumental waste of time and resources and must be avoided at all costs.

Against that I’d like to say it is much better to get something out quickly because we can fail quickly too, thus recovering sooner and learning faster to start another project. But while we work like that, we build a muscle of productivity and knowledge that is hard to surpass by other so-called ‘perfectionist’ methods.

To finish this discussion, let us concentrate on what works and that is planning your day, schedule time scales for everything. Concentrate also on our environment so that is clean and orderly for work to be carried out effectively and follow the plan that we have crafted for our business.

Having a strategy for the business is the guiding factor for our usage of time. It’s a beautiful thing to aspire to be a great time manager in business.

Be healthy and wealthy

German Calvo.