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Franchise Players

May 24, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

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For sales growth and store growth, Starbucks and 7-Eleven are two of R the biggest brands in retail, both at home and around the globe. Their franchise strategies differ, but they have one major similarity: They’re expanding.

The strategy of turning over the reins of the retail brand to an outside investor in the form of a franchise opportunity isn’t for every business model. But according to one franchise advisor, it’s a growth strategy that should be considered by more companies-especially those faced with the difficult proposition of closing stores. ”

“Why don’t more people franchise? A lot of folks think of franchising as fast food,” said Michael Seid, managing director of Michael H. Seid & Associates, a franchisor advisory service based in West Hartford, Conn. “And they just don’t understand it. It’s as simple as that.”

Starbucks and 7-Eleven have been following and adjusting their franchise strategies for years.

In North America, the growth of Starbucks’ company-operated locations has been the stuff of legends in real estate circles. But its licensed locations have grown even faster. In the last three fiscal years, the percentage of franchised store locations has risen steadily from 809 in 2001 to 1,475 in 2003. As a percentage of total stores, franchises accounted for 21.4% in 2001. The figure grew to 26.5% in 2003.

Dallas-based convenience store giant 7-Eleven has a much higher franchi se-to-corporate ratio. At the end of last year, independent franchisees operated 3,338 7-Eleven stores in the United States. That’s more than 60% of its U.S. store base.

While the mix has remained steady, a 7-Eleven spokesman said the company has expanded the opportunities for franchising domestically. The company also began sharing more gross profits with franchisees, beginning this year. In the past, franchisees generally have received 48% of the store’s gross profit. The new agreement splits the pot 50-50. In the 7-Eleven franchise model, the company owns or leases the stores and equipment used by the franchisees.

Seid, who co-authored “Franchising for Dummies” with Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas, said there’s a larger trend toward an increase in the mix of company-owned vs. franchise stores in the retail industry. he said he’s aware of a few “household names” that are planning franchise expansions in the near future. he declined to identify them, but said they include homefurnishings, automotive-aftermarket and Internet-related store franchises.

There are as many corporate franchise strategies as there are franchises. Fast growth, low risk and shared expenses provide the basic attractions. But Seid would like to add to that list improved control, contrary to the perception of the franchise model. While a company-owned store manager can, and often does, quit, a franchise location owner “is on the hook” and bound by strict contracts to live up to the image of the brand, he said. The same dynamic helps explain why franchise stores typically outperform company stores, Seid claimed.

In fact, Seid promotes the idea that companies faced with closing stores have little to lose by considering finding franchisees for the stores.

“There is little reason not to look at it,” Seid said. “It’s a strategy that can cut costs while maintaining the channel of distribution and the customer base. Because the customers don’t know the difference between a franchise store and a company-owned store.”

He pointed to Gateway’s recent decision to close its 188 stores as a possible example of a lost opportunity for franchising. Gateway did not return calls seeking comment on whether it considered the option.

The concept of moving from company-owned store to franchise store has precedent. In fact, 7-Eleven has converted its company-operated stores in southern Maryland to franchise stores within the last two years. Each company store was offered as a franchise opportunity first to the store managers, then to the public. “The interest was quite high, and these stores are operating as franchised stores now,” said spokeswoman Margaret Chabris.

Seid believes the franchise strategy could have been used by many retailers in the past, as opposed to merely closing stores and losing customers. There’s no reason why a franchise strategy can’t work for a big box, he suggested.
“Could you have saved all those Kmart locations? I don’t know. But typically, the franchisee will outperform a company store, because the franchisee is on the hook.”

More and more people pick franchise option

May 24, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Article Written by : Manufacturing Stoke

Phil Gates knew it was time to leave corporate America.

He was working in sales, and although he was trained as an engineer, that wasn’t his passion either.

“In high school, I wanted to be an architect,” Gates said. “But I kept hearing about people having a tough time finding a job in that field, so I went into engineering.”

He said he thought about changing his major to landscape architecture halfway through, but decided to stick it out with engineering.

“I figured it was close enough,” he said. “I was OK with trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.”

But last winter, Gates knew enough was enough. He wanted to be his own boss and do something that made him happy. After months of research, he became interested in opening a franchised business, specifically Outdoor Lighting Perspectives, an architectural and landscape lighting company.

“Franchising appealed to me because I’m not smart enough to start something completely on my own,” Gates said.” Or, as some people say, I’m not dumb enough to start something on my own.”

Last June, Phil and his wife, Gina, opened Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of Iowa, working out of a home office. Gina, who previously worked for Principal Financial Group Inc. in human resources, manages the office and raises the couple’s three boys, ages 6, 4 and 2.

“It was a risk, but my wife and I thought the bigger risk was staying in an office where we weren’t happy,” Gates said.

Interest in franchising is growing, said Joe Cooney, president and owner of Frannet of the Heartland, a franchise coaching organization. He said many more people are investigating the possibility of owning a franchise than ever before.

According to the International Franchisors Association, if sales by U.S. franchise businesses were translated into a gross domestic product, they would qualify as the seventh-largest economy in the world. In Iowa, there are 9,407 franchises currently operating, employing nearly 120,000 people, according to a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers. In the 3rd Congressional District, which includes Des Moines, there are 2,037 franchises employing more than 28,130 people, the study said.

“Most people have a misconception about franchising, that it is all restaurants and retail, but that just isn’t true,” Cooney said. “The service industry is the fastestgrowing segment of the business, and for a lot of people, it can be a good fit.”

A franchise agreement conveys the right to sell a product or service. When purchasing a franchise a person is paying for the right to market an already established product or service owned by somebody else (the franchisor). Under a franchise agreement, the franchisee is expected to market the product or service successfully.

This route to business ownership has some distinct advantages. Risk is minimized, since a well-established franchise has a proven business method with established products or services. Franchisors like McDonald’s Corp. already have a well-known name that will bring customers to the business and provide a competitive advantage for the franchisee.

Many franchisors also provide extensive assistance in terms of marketing, advertising, even managerial support. Often, management training and followup assistance are provided. In many instances, a franchisee can obtain inventory items, supplies and equipment at a reduced cost due to the purchasing power of the franchisor. Some franchisors also assist franchisees in securing financing, while some provide the funding themselves. Franchisees find it easier to persuade banks and other lenders to provide loans because franchises are less risky than businesses built from scratch. Support can also be given in finding the right location, while some franchisors provide the layout, display, facilities and business techniques that have already proven successful in previous operations.

“You definitely gain in the marketplace by attaching your business to an established name,” Cooney said. “It gives you automatic credibility.”

That was one of the factors that motivated Wendy Christman to get involved with PostNet, a franchisor focusing on digital copy and document services, private mailboxes and domestic and international shipping. She started her business, located on Westown Parkway in West Des Moines, in 1995.

“You’re buying a brand and a market plan that has been proven to work,” she said. “I’m in my 11th year, and I’m still here.”

Christman said one of the best benefits to franchise ownership for her is the network of other PostNet franchises she has access to.

“Whenever I have a question, I can turn to them,” she said. “Who better to help me out than someone who has already been through the same thing?”

But franchising isn’t always a golden ticket. Robert Purvin is the founder and CEO of the American Association of Franchisees & Dealers, the oldest and largest organization representing the interests of people who own franchised businesses. He is also the author of “The Franchise Fraud: How to Protect Yourself Before and After You Invest,” published in 1994, and has practiced franchise law for 30 years. He said the myth that franchising is always safe can be very dangerous. “The typical franchise in today’s marketplace is an indentured servitude, by contract, with provisions that make it hard for the franchisee to continue in business following the franchise relationship,” Purvin said. “The advantages and disadvantages depend on the quality of the franchise system you choose. Franchising can be the answer to your dreams or your worst nightmare.”

Purvin said franchising isn’t so much business ownership as a license to operate someone else’s business for a fee, or “buying a job.” Franchisees are not entrepreneurs, he said, because they are obliged to operate according to the franchisor’s business model and operations manual.

“Whether the deal is good or bad depends on the established success of the franchise system,” Purvin said. “Buying a franchise that is a proven success can be a great career and investment, but many franchises are unproven and perhaps troubled.” In addition to the upfront fees, which could total into the hundreds of thousands of dollars for some franchises, royalty fees must be paid on a monthly basis. The royalty fees are based on a certain percentage of the franchisee’s income or sales, varying between 1 and 20 percent, and have to be paid even if the business is not profitable.

Cooney said matching a buyer with the right franchise is the most crucial step to success. That is why his company gives each potential franchisee who comes to it for guidance a personality test to see what type of business would best work for him or her.

“We help build a business model, and look at things that may affect the type of business they may be interested in, such as lifestyle, amount of work, income,” he said. “That will usually eliminate 90 percent of the options right there, then we simply focus on what fits them.”

Christman said for people who like to do things their way, franchising probably isn’t a good fit, because you have to follow the plan laid out by the company, as well as offer the services it wants you to offer. But, she said she would never have the time or the ability to keep up with national trends, which is something PostNet does for her as part of the franchise agreement.

“They keep an eye on the big picture, and keep me informed about what I need to do to stay competitive,” she said.

Gates agrees, saying franchising has given him the opportunity to own his own business, something he never dreamed he could do.

“I like being in control of my own destiny,” he said. “A lot of people told me that once you get into business for yourself, you will find more opportunity than you ever dreamed of. I see that now every day.”

Cooney said one of the biggest misconceptions about franchising is that if you like a product, you would be good at selling it.

“That just simply isn’t true, and more times than not, we help people realize that and try to point them in a more positive direction,” he said.

With many franchise agreements involving more than $150,000 in initial costs, Cooney said using services like his, which are free for franchisees, and consulting experienced franchise attorneys are important steps when considering operating a franchise.
“It’s a change of lifestyle and a significant investment, so you don’t want to do this wrong,” he said.

Wholesale business unclear

May 24, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

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A lack of transparency in the accounts of wholesale businesses run as subsidiaries of European PTTs does not increase investor appetite for the segment. That was the view expressed by Bridget Cosgrave, the president of Belgacom Carrier and Wholesale, speaking at last month’s Carriers World conference in London. “We want ‘full cost’ financial transparency and that should results in a more rational segment structure,” she said. She believes it’s only a matter of time before financial analysts start knocking on doors demanding the sort of disclosure that pin-points exactly who is losing what where. And as long as investors can’t be sure of what they are buying – apart from a stake in a very tough market – they are likely to stay away.

“I think PTTs are still going through the process of truly establishing what the costs are in their infrastructure businesses,” agreed Tony Lavender, director of telecom research at Ovum. “They run a multiplicity of platforms and still haven’t bitten as much as they could in terms of rationalisation. I wouldn’t be surprised if costs were higher than pricing would suggest.”

TeliaSonera, the result of the merger between the Norwegian and Finnish incumbents, has had transparency in its wholesale business ‘for a very long time’, said Eva Lindqvist, president of TeliaSonera International Carrier. She added that she saw question marks over any consolidation of PTT carrier interests in Europe. One would be financial viability of such a move. “Even if you got all the networks for free, it would still cost a lot,” she said. However, she nonetheless believes that Europe can support a maximum of three wholesale players – of which TeliaSonera would aim to be one.

The speakers at Carriers World nevertheless agreed on one thing: in a market where prices are continuing to shrink, a wholesale carrier needs scale. How to get that scale was more of an issue.

“Our search to increase the scale of opportunities is the most challenging aspect of strategy,” said Cosgrave. Her professed solution to this is for Belgacom to become the focus of consolidation in the market – though not in the M&A sense. “Be a hero, go and tell your CEO that you want to shut your business down and outsource it to me,” she said.

Lindqvist’s remedy for the wholesale industry’s pricing ills would be to make end-users pay for what they actually consume. “One of the key problems is that broadband penetration is moving very fast, but pricing to the end-user is often a flat fee for almost unlimited bandwidth,” says Lindqvist. She believes that wholesale carriers should co-operate more and she wants stricter peering policies. “To have a stable industry, you have to have enough money in each of the value-creating steps to ensure the longer-term,” argued Lindqvist. “I don’t see why regulators would question steps to ensure that.”

“Wholesale is a profitable business,” said Dr Juergen Graf, senior executive vice president of ICSS at T-Systems, a subsidiary of the German incumbent, Deutsche Telekom, though he adds that the company does not disclose the return on capital that its carrier business generates. Graf agrees that scale is key, though he does not necessarily expect to see consolidation in the market. “Carriers need to co-operate to offer better prices,” says Graf. However, he does admit that DT views being the incumbent as an advantage in that it offers the cushion of a fairly reliable revenue stream. “One of the main goods for sale is traffic generated in Germany and traffic terminated there,” he said.

Lavender believes that “people do need to raise their heads above the parapet and start talking about pricing”. However, he is not sure that they will. “That would require consolidation,” he said. “And where is the rationale for buying? I think consolidation will happen more by bringing specific value chains together, but even then you get arguments about ‘why would telcos want to be content aggregators?'” Though the market is ‘still as tough as it has been for the past three years’, Lavender does think that a ‘properly dimensioned’ industry can emerge – over time.

SBI educates entrepreneurs in fine points of starting a business

May 24, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Article Written by : Credit Card Processing News

Entrepreneurs considering starting a new business in Northeast Pennsylvania, or seasoned business owners and managers seeking ways to improve and grow their businesses can take advantage of a new program called the Small Business Institute (SBI) offered by the University of Scranton’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC). Initiated in February of this year, the SBI offers what they “need to succeed.”

Gretchen Kukuchka, manager of trainmg and development at the SBDC, says. the SBI, which was initiated in February, “fulfills a niche market of comprehensive education for small business success in Northeast Pennsylvania .”

The SBI’s program is 12 weeks long and covers marketing, organizational management, legal issues, financial planning, negotiating and ways to capitalize on future trends among other issues.

A partnership effort between the SBDC and MetroAction, an affiliate of the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce that helps small businesses acquire financing, and sponsored by Fidelity Bank, the SBI is designed to be affordable and small enough to offer close hands-on training. The tuition is $299 and the target class size is 20. Tbe first session this past spring had 16 attendees, she added.

The curriculum is designed to fill the gaps business owners have with respect to their skills, she said. The objective is to give them the tools to improve their success rates and longevity, she added.

As a small business grows owners and managers find themselves responsible for a longer list of duties, she said. As they go through the program outline, the students build upon each previous class so when they are done they have the knowledge and understanding of how to handle those additional responsibilities and keep a successful growing business, she added.

During the Spring session attendees came from Pike, Wayne and Lackawanna Counties . Response from the first SBI was “extremely positive,” Kukuchka emphasized. Laurie Lourie, executive director of Floral Haven said the knowledge gained surpasses the dollar value paid, according to an SBI press release. Natalie O’Hara, principal from the Hawley Cultural and Creative Aris Center lauded the creative marketing strategies taught at the SBI that she feels are critical for any business owner or manager to implement.

Kukuchka stresses the SBI resulted at the behest of past SBDC seminar attendees who told the SBDC needs to go into more detail about their subjects.

The next SBI session runs from September 14 through December 7 on Thursday mornings from 9am to 11:30am. Kukuchka stresses the institute can help new or seasoned business professionals.

The SBI ofters “Lunch and Learn” bonus sessions, Kukuchka said. She and Christina Hitchcock from MetroAction along with SBI instructors developed these sessions as “offshoots” based on feedback from the Spring class who felt more extensive training on e-marketing, human resource management, accounting and strategic planning would be beneficial. The lunch sessions cost $35 per person and are held from noon to 2 p.m.
Any parties interested in attaining a “better understanding of how to run a small business” through attending the Fall SBI can contact Gretchen Kukuchka at 941-7588. The deadline for sign up is August 28.

The Feeling of Wanting Manifests Desires

November 3, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

When it comes to getting the things we want in life, people have many tactics. Successful people are straightforward and confident about their goals; they write them down, and take the necessary steps required to achieve them. They stay on course and eventually succeed. But for the rest of us, it’s hard to focus on our goals. And for many of us, we don’t even know where to start. So what’s the secret to manifesting our desires? I came across this interesting blog post by Dr. Eric Amidi that suggests it has to do with the feeling of wanting.

But before we discuss the feeling of wanting, it’s important to distinguish it from the feeling of needing. In fact, in his writings, quantum physicist Dr. Eric Amidi explains that the feeling of needing and wanting are very different and knowing the difference is the key to manifesting our desires. According to Dr. Amidi, the feeling of needing is one of scarcity. He explains that people who are needy act as if their life will fall apart if they don’t get the things they want; “They make their happiness depend on it.”

On the other hand, the feeling of wanting promotes manifestations because the person can let go and project an attitude of joy regardless of the outcome. Dr. Eric Amidi suggests spending time thinking about the two feelings until you can feel the difference. He adds that most people as well as the universe respond better to you when you’re not needy but when you simply want something. So spend some time thinking about those two feelings and try to project an attitude of joy when you think about the things you want to accomplish in this life.

Protecting Your iPod Touch Screen, Body With Cases, Screen Protectors

October 6, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

If you own an Apple iPod Touch you’re already familiar with the MP3 player’s touch-sensitive screen, which allows you to navigate easily between functions. You launch and control apps and player functions by directly touching the screen and tapping on the colorful app icons you see there.

The touch screen is all-important in using your iPod Touch, so it’s important to take care of the screen to make sure that your iPod functions well. The screen is durable, but not infallible, so it’s a good idea to consider strategies that will help prevent any harm coming to the screen.

In general, you’ll want to prevent scratches, nicks, gouges and cracks to the screen, which could render the screen unusable. It’s also good to eliminate fingerprints on the screen as much as possible, since they make it harder to see what’s on-screen.

Cleaning the screen isn’t much different than getting rid of smudges from eyeglasses or sunglasses lenses. Use a soft, lint-free cloth – preferably one that is designed for cleaning delicate lenses that won’t create any scratches when you use it.

When cleaning, first turn off the iPod Touch. As a cleaning agent, try a glass cleaner that contains no ammonia, and wipe the screen gently in circular motions to get rid of fingerprints and dust that might accumulate there. You can also purchase special cleaner designed for cleaning iPod screens at your local computer store, or at stores that sell MP3 players. That way you’ll be sure that the mixture is ammonia free.

You must be sure that the screen is bone dry before you turn your iPod Touch back on. You can use a hair dryer to make it dry more quickly, but be sure to turn off the dryer’s heating function before you begin and simply use cool air to dry up water droplets.

Once you’ve cleaned the screen you can apply a plastic layer of protective film to the screen, known as an iPod Touch screen protector. The plastic film is designed to protect the touch screen from direct physical contact with fingers or objects that might mar the surface. If it’s a good touch screen protector you’ll notice that the screen will remain sensitive to your touch and won’t reduce your ability to control the device.

You can buy reusable screen protectors at the store where you purchased your iPod Touch. It’s also a good idea to buy an iPod case to protect the body of the device.

An iPod touch case will help absorb and diffuse shocks to the device’s body if it is dropped or bumped, and will help stave off scratches and nicks, too. You can find cases in a number of cool designs and colors. With all the styles you’ll have to choose from, you’re not just protecting your iPod Touch, you’re also making a fashion statement.

Find out more about Technology Blogs.

Shades Cases are resistant to water, dirt, and stains – and prevents those awful fingerprints. Find a retail or online store near you.

Steam Dry Clothes To Prevent Bed Bugs

August 12, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Few people are aware that the bed bugs, which have garnered so much of concern and equal amount of interest in them, were actually gotten rid of entirely until a couple of years ago. The 1950s were the period of vigorous use of chemical pesticides which were used to such an extent that almost the entire nation of America was free from the assault of these blood thirsty bugs.

But probably the increased incidences of international travel and influx of immigrants could be the reason for these bed bugs returning back with renewed vigor and intense thirst for fresh blood. What ever the reason for the come back, one thing is certain about these bugs. If you try to kill bed bugs, you may very well be successful, but it is always better to allow professionals to do the job. These bugs can multiply faster than you can possibly kill them individually. Take the help of professional to kill bed bugs Bethesda, Maryland because they are well equipped to do the job.

There are professionals to deal with the problem of Bed bug Potomac, MD too. Once you hand over the job to these expert exterminators, you can be rest assured that you would not have to endure another bed bug bite again. If you have visited a place which is known to be infested with bed bugs, then you can put your clothes that you had worn through a steam dryer. Doing so will kill any bed bugs that may have accompanied you back home.

Why Creating a Dashboard is a Must

May 24, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

I got a partner, and her name is Katri. She works in a big corporation, as a sales analyst. She compiles the sales data and makes it into a format that can be understood by the decision makers at the highest level. This way, they can pick the best tactics and strategy for the company.

At one point, I look over to her computer and she was making a spreadsheet that was similar to a car’s dashboard. It even had dials!
Asking how the thing worked, she explained that in a car you wouldn’t do much if you didn’t have a dashboard. You wouldn’t have the speed, fuel consumption and many other bits of information.

Thinking about this, I realized that a lot of small companies don’t have a dashboard of their own.

Just because you have some accounts, it doesn’t mean that you have a dashboard. It resembles more an annual MOT. The part that is important is how you use that information to create great tactical and strategic decisions, which help your company grow and avoid problems that are bigger.

Wondering how such a dashboard should look like? Here are some things that a lot of people don’t know about their business, and a dashboard can fix: how much each client yields, net and gross profit for each client, the size of the average size, the client acquisition cost, the income that is recurring per client and the lifetime client value.

Think about all the possibilities for your business if you had this information at your finger tips. You can get rid of work that isn’t profitable, so you can get as much money as possible from your business.

You might not realize it, but the importance of such a dashboard can be huge and the information it provides you can be crucial for you business during times of crisis.

Motivation in Management

May 24, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

What motivation does for management can be spectacular sometimes – it helps your employees reach their goals and objectives. You can usually find two types of employees in an organization: one of them has some internal self motivation, while the other one will only need motivation from time to time. Motivation can be temporary and external. If you’re dealing with the second employee type, emotions are what you’re dealing with, not logic.

If you want the output from your organization to be high, you should know that motivation is very important for your management. If an individual is motivated in a good way, you can feel the effects fast, even if the stimulus is external and they’re in a professional environment. It’s like when you go to a game and the crowd cheers the team that is playing.

Employees are the biggest resource that an organization can have. Even if you got the best equipment that money can buy, if you don’t have the people to operate it, your business doesn’t exist. Your employees should be taken care of like they are highly priced equipment. Just like you maintain your equipment, motivate your employees, to make sure they are prepared to work and they do it at maximum productivity. Motivation can be a simple pat on a manager’s back, but the best type of motivation is the timely one.

Some will want motivation to be goal oriented, so if reaching a target comes with a reward, the employees will be more performance geared. You can see benefits from this immediately, but the problem signaled by experts is that this type of motivation can make employees more competitive among each other, which can damage your organization’s environment of work. Basically, if we’re talking about motivation management, you should make sure that it brings the best rewards for the investment.

Failure and Success in Business

May 24, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

A few years back, when I started my first company, I really missed a real business plan. Actually, I didn’t even know what that was. Trying to look back at that time, it’s actually kind of scary thinking about it and that decision wasn’t very smart. Ask any business expert out there and he will tell you that you should always have a business plan for your company and if you don’t have it, the chances of success are limited. Even though most startups are similar, in the beginning and failing department they can be different. You can define an entrepreneur as someone that starts and works on a business. What I use as a definition is “one that starts and works on a business despite the problems”. Statistically, 19 out of 20 new businesses will fail in the first 2 years of their existence.

What successful companies have in common is that they want to succeed even though there are many obstacles in their path. Speaking from my own experience, there were plenty of days when I was ready to quit. But, I continued despite all the problems. The key here is not as much your desire to succeed, but your refusal to fail. Failure shouldn’t be an option. When you make a decision, the process lets you choose either pain or pleasure. Your decision is based on what pleasure you get from the result, or on avoiding the pain. For me, failure has always been my pain. That’s why in business and life I will do everything possible to avoid failure.

You should never start a company dreaming that you will be in a sports car or on a yacht someday. You also shouldn’t be influenced by failure. Consider your success as being only based on your own performance.

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