Saturday, August 23, 2008

Benefits of Purchasing a Franchise

Recently, I've had the pleasure of being named a Preferred Partner to a very successful franchise. This gave me opportunity to engage in a "discovery day" to learn a little more about the franchise the way a potential owner would see it. Later, I was able to be trained on their systems and get a bit more of this insight on how the processes work. It made me start thinking about the benefits of joining a franchise instead of opening/starting an operation on your own.

I guess the most obvious benefit would be name recognition or branding. Typically a franchise owners share the cost of advertising, promoting and branding the "company" name. This particular company provides style guides on brand usage to ensure that the national brand is preserved. This is a very important aspect of business when there are owners in many different parts of the national who may be lobbying for national client accounts. Most national companies are very careful about their brand and would likely want to work with someone who feels the same way, especially in the industry in which they are promoting – promotional products and printing.

Another amazing resource for franchise owners is typically the marketing mechanisms that are available. Closely related to branding marketing campaigns are important parts of business growth. They are given websites complete with verbiage to use in reaching their client or prospect. They are also given templates for other marketing materials such as brochures and postcards.

There is a processing center that helps them process all the orders, and requests – evening billing and invoicing more efficiently. Franchises can prove to be an excellent way to start that business on your own with an extensive level of support that a solo effort can't provide.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Change is Good

With the ever changing advancements in technology, some small businesses have a hard time transitioning and staying on the cutting edge. Most people don't like change, so how does one condition their team to come on board and be open to what only can make the business run more efficiently.

  1. Give them warning that the change is about to come. No one likes surprises that causes them adapt, so as soon as the upgrade or technological innovation is a sure thing, announce the news so that the mentality of your staff can change.
  2. Recruit advocates or a committee. Train tech-savvy employees throughout the company so that they can help the rest of the organization become more comfortable with the new system. Their enthusiasm for the benefits of the new system can help the rest of the staff buy-in to the changes.
  3. Phase in. Don't spring it on everyone right away or before something major is about to happen. Allow people to train on the new system without any pressure. Encourage questions and best practices, glitches or other ways of using the new system for the benefit of the company.
  4. Back up. Back up the computer on the old system just in case there is failure of the new system in its early stages.
  5. Train for the long haul. Continue to meet and talk about any problems on a regular basis. This group should meet to iron out any problems and focus on future upgrades.

Adapted from Technological Transitions: A Plan for Success, Smart Business ideas Magazine, January 2008