Leads – A Never Ending Challenge For All Companies

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He explained that through his experience and the help of a little sonar gadget on his boat, that he knew there was a shoal of fish below. We all slung our rods over the side and dropped our lines.

Fishing for Leads – The 5 Steps
By: Peter Lawless

The first thing that I noticed when I got onto the small boat at the harbour in Enniscrone, Co. Sligo, was the cleanliness and order of the boat. The skipper in charge had all of the rods, upright, with their lines neatly tucked away, in holders. The holders were made out of piping, about 30cm long, which had been welded to the side of the boat.

A simple, inexpensive aid had made me sit up and pay attention. This skipper thought about his customers, and this device left a strong impression. We then got a very short lecture on safety, checked we had our life jackets on, and off we went. About 12 of us!

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Finding your target market
About 12 minutes later, the skipper stopped the boat, and told us we should find some mackerel here. He explained that the lures on the hooks looked just like what mackerel wanted to eat. It certainly was not something I would have fancied!

He explained that through his experience and the help of a little sonar gadget on his boat, that he knew there was a shoal of fish below. We all slung our rods over the side and dropped our lines.

Reeling in the sale
Now I don’t know about you, but this was totally new to me. I wound up the line frantically, as soon as I felt a tug, and hey presto, there were three fish dangling off the hooks. I started flailing about, one jumped off before I even got it in over the side, and when I was trying to reel it in the final bit I lost an other one. The one that I got in, I lost down the gutter when I finally got it off the hook.

The skipper explained to me, that once a fish took the bait, I should give a quick tug on the rod, to make sure it was firmly hooked. I should then take my time, to reel it in. Secure the rod in the holder, with the fish hanging over the bucket and deal with them one by one – I did, and I ended up with 20 fish, which delighted me, as I had set a target of 10, since my friend had caught 9 on his first time

So what are the lessons for marketing – if you are still with me, and have not already got most of them, here they are in business speak;
1. Set goals and targets that are realistic, and based on some valid foundation or research.
2. Have simple procedures set up, to make it easy to operate and for your customers to conduct business with you.
3. Speak in your prospects language, about what they want – it’s a bit like the fish bait, unlikely that strawberries and cream will catch many mackerel!
4. Once you know what your prospects like, find out where they are, do some research and target them accordingly – as in our example, not much point in putting down shark bait in a shoal of mackerel.
5. Once you get your customers attention, or have a lead, qualify it, and ensure you follow up at all time to close the sale. Again the use of a good sales process is essential here.

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The bottom line, if you know what problems or desires your customers have, and you can solve or fulfill these, while providing value for money, you will always be a winner.

And if you don’t know the answer to that question, go ask the people who have already bought from you – they do!

Author Bio
Business Owners who need more sales and better marketing advice, turn to Peter Lawless, of 3R Sales & Marketing. For previous articles and interviews like this, visit our website and subscribe to Success. We also provide free Sales & Marketing Assessments for Business Owners with an Irish Connection.

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Organizational Tips To Keep A Small Business Pointed Towards Success

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I firmly believe that the healthiest small business is the one that visits and reviews their organizational systems every six to twelve months. The small business that keeps doing the “same old, same old” is losing money. So where do you stand?

Being Organized Equals Small Business Success
By: Patty Kreamer

You started your own business because you have a burning passion for what you do. You are also – we hope — good what you do and have a desire to help others. Little do you know that running a business includes, well…running a business. This little bombshell can throw many a new business owner for a loop.

I receive numerous phone calls every week asking me how to start a business as a professional organizer. The first thing I say is that the organizing part is easy because it is a natural gift (sometimes a curse); it’s running the business that can trap you. This is not to scare a potential entrepreneur away, but to help them realize that it’s not all fun and games doing what you do best. You have to:

* Buy insurance
* Get legal advice on how to set up your business
* File for the company name with the state
* Find working capital if necessary
* File all the proper tax forms
* Open up a checking account
* Get office supplies
* Market the business
* Build a network
* And the list goes on and on…

In the initial start-up stage, entrepreneurs are often so excited about starting a new business that they pay little or no attention to what is happening with all the paperwork and electronic data you are generating. That is typical and expected. However, around the six to twelve month mark, entrepreneurs start calling people like me – a professional organizer – begging for help in setting up a system to help them be organized. I envision a hand protruding from mounds of papers reaching for help.

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The sad news is that many small businesses have never taken the time to set up systems once they’ve built up paper and electronic backlogs. They just keep generating documents without stopping to assess what is being created.

I firmly believe that the healthiest small business is the one that visits and reviews their organizational systems every six to twelve months. The small business that keeps doing the “same old, same old” is losing money. So where do you stand?

Something that has really hit home in the past year or so is that you don’t GET organized and have long lasting success. You have to BE organized. Getting organized is a quick fix of cleaning up and putting things away – usually a Band-aid (r) approach – that doesn’t last for more than a few days.

Being organized is recognizing that organization is an ongoing journey. Life doesn’t stop happening the minute you GET organized. You have to have systems in place that will help the daily flow; a lack of systems will cause clogs. These clogs come in many forms:

* Piles of papers
* Lost documents
* Misplaced items – glasses, phone, pens, keys
* Running late
* Stress and frustration…

You get the picture.

When it becomes clear to you that you are running through your day feeling like you’ve accomplished nothing, you may need to reassess your organizational skills and systems.

Your small business must overcome many hurdles to be successful. Fortunately, being organized is one hurdle that you can learn to overcome. Or you can work with a professional organizer to set up customized systems that make you functional, productive, and more pleasant to be around.

I challenge you take a deep look at the state of your small business’ organization. If you see your passion being overrun by disorganization, it’s time to take some action.

Here’s to simplifying your life!

Author Bio
Patty Kreamer, owner of Kreamer Connect, Inc., is a professional organizer, speaker, and author of the Making Life Simple… Again! e-course available at http://www.ByeByeClutter.com/MLSAHome.htm. If your business or organization is looking for a fun, dynamic, and effective speaker, you can email Patty at [email protected] or call her at 412-344-3252.

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How To Start Your Own Daycare Center And Be Your Own Boss

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When you first decide to open up your own daycare, you need to check with your state and government agencies to find out what rules and regulations you need to follow. For example, you are only allowed to have a certain number of children per square foot of space your building has, so you need to know this right off the bat.

Start Your Own Daycare Center- Be Your Own Boss
By: Susan Anderson

Many people are now looking for ways to get out of today’s corporate business world, and to become their own boss. One way that some have been successful is by opening up and running their own day care center. More moms than ever before now have to return to work after their baby is born. Few families are able to make ends meet on one income. So, why not start your own center that caters to these busy moms, and open up a loving and safe place where they can leave their young babes and go to work knowing that will be well cared for?

When you first decide to open up your own daycare, you need to check with your state and government agencies to find out what rules and regulations you need to follow. For example, you are only allowed to have a certain number of children per square foot of space your building has, so you need to know this right off the bat. You will need to locate a site that is large enough to house the number of children that you plan to care for. Many have been successful with purchasing actual homes, and making any needed renovations. You may also have some luck with your local churches or city organizations, either with locating a space, or possibly leasing space from them. It is crucial that you pay attention to all of the zooming rules in your area, so you don’t rent a place, then find out you are not allowed to run a business out of it. It does take quite a bit of overhead to open up your own center, a lot of which goes into getting the location you need.

You will need to try and locate funds to get everything you need. Develop a business plan, and set it before your local Chamber of Commerce, local churches, and businesses. If you have a sound plan, and they feel that the community needs your center, they may help you with funding your endeavor. You may also look into getting a business grant from the government, as this would save you from having to make large payments before your business ever gets off the ground. You can find additional resources online or at your local library that should be able to help you with locating funding, other than taking out a bank loan. If all else fails, then try to get a business loan, but there are better resources available to you, you just have to know where to find them at. If you have an empty store in your area, this may be the ideal place for your daycare center. You may have to do some work to the inside to make it meet your needs, but you should be able to rent it at a reasonable price, especially if it has been vacant for a while. This would also give you the advantage of having a good location, as it would probably in a highly trafficked area of your town, which would be convenient for your clients.

Once you have pretty much gotten everything down as far as laws and your location taken care of, you will need to advertise your new center. One of the best ways to do this, especially if you are on a busy street, is to have a nice sign up that states your business name and that you are accepting children. You will also want to let people know the hours your center will be open, and what days of the week, and most importantly, have a contact number shown. If you can’t get all of this information on your sign, at least have your business name, hours, and phone number, then potential customers can call you for more information. You may also want to drop off fliers at your local pediatrician’s offices, schools (get permission first), or maybe run an ad over your local radio station or newspaper. If you don’t let people know what you are offering, and get the word out, how can you expect to have clients?

Another major decision to make is choosing what hours your day center will be open. If you really want to make an impact, I would recommend being open outside of the normal business hours, maybe opening at 5 or 6 am, and staying open until around 7pm. This would help you get clients that many other daycares are unable to cater to, giving you more customers. Keep in mind, that you will most likely need to provide meals, so if you are open the above hours, you will probably be serving three meals a day. You will want to make sure you remember that when you determine what the cost per child will be. Remember that you also will need to provide at least two healthy snacks a day. Let your parents know what you will be offering, so they will know what they are paying for.

Children tend to do best when they have set routines, so you will need to make a basic daily plan, and give your teachers and parents a copy. It is important that you plan the day according to the age range of the children. Include in a rest or nap time, or two for the younger ones. You will also want to have some learning activities, arts and crafts, outside time, free play time, and story time. If you will be accepting children that are working on toilet training, you will need to set aside specific time slots in the day to be potty time as well.

When you know how many children you will have, and what their ages will be, check your local rules and federal laws to find out how many teachers you need. Depending on the children’s ages, you need one teacher for every so many kids. When hiring your teachers, look for moms or young adults that have taken some early childhood education courses. You want to try to get certified teachers, if possible, to ensure that you not only have a caring center, but one that offers learning opportunities as well. If you can fit it in your budget, it is also a good idea to have some kitchen staff, maintenance people, and possibly even a nurse or CNA on staff in case of emergencies.

All parents will need to fill out medical forms for their children, letting you know their history and of any known conditions or allergies. You will need a release to seek treatment form, the child’s insurance information, contact numbers for the parents in case of emergencies, and contact info for the child’s doctor. It is important to be prepared in advance, in case any emergency situation did arise.

Your center will need to have a designated outside play area, equipped with safe, sturdy toys for the children to play with. This are should be fenced in with locked gates to protect the children. You will want to have swings, sandboxes, slides, any kind of outside equipment you wish, as long as it is safe, and age appropriate.

Stock the individual rooms with toys, books, games, televisions, educational movies, maybe a computer or two for the older children, anything that you wish to have on hand for the teachers and children to use. You will need to have an eating area in each room, and a place for naptime, diaper changes, etc.


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When dealing with parents and financial issues, you will be better off asking them to pay the month or week in advance. By having them pay ahead, you aren’t dependent on them for the funds to buy needed supplies, or pay teachers, and don’t have to worry about losing children due to non-payment. A lot of daycare centers have to close because they financially cannot make ends meet, usually due to parents not being able to pay them when payment is due. Let parents know that you need them to pay in advance so that you have sure funds to use to care for their children with.

You may want to run the center yourself for the first little bit, to keep costs down, and to ensure that everything is running as you want it to. Eventually, when profits rise, and everything is going well, you may want to hire a manager to oversee the day to day running of the center for you. They would be responsible for hiring teachers, taking care of new customers, purchasing supplies, planning lesson plans, meals, etc. You basically would sign the checks, and still make all of the major decisions, but would free to pursue other endeavors if you wish.

Every community could benefit from a well-run daycare center, and with a little patience, and effort you could be the one to give it to them. Just make sure that you follow all of your local, state, and federal laws regarding childcare centers, and that the safety of your children is your number one concern. Everything else will pretty much fall into place over time.

Author Bio
Susan Anderson enjoys writing articles for families and consumers which are informative and adds value to their lives.

For more information on how to create a great monthly income by opening your own daycare center, visit www.nipty.com/daycare

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The New Revenue Recognition rules – What is the Impact for Franchisors

Typical separate performance obligations for a franchisor include site selection, training and equipment necessary to operate the franchise The remaining portion of the franchise fee must be deferred and amortized over the life of the franchise agreement .For nonpublic companies(most franchisers) this new rule is effective with the year ending December 31,2019.

The New Revenue Recognition rules-What is the Impact for Franchisors

By Barry Knepper – The Franchise CPA

The Financial Standard Board(“FASB”), the rules setting body for the accounting industry, has issued a new comprehensive revenue recognition model for all contracts. Franchise agreements are directly impacted by this new rule.

New Rule
This new rule requires that each contract be analyzed to identity the separate performance obligations that the franchiser has assumed as part of the franchise agreement and then allocate a portion of the franchise fee to each obligation .Typical separate performance obligations for a franchisor include site selection, training and equipment necessary to operate the franchise The remaining portion of the franchise fee must be deferred and amortized over the life of the franchise agreement .For nonpublic companies(most franchisers) this new rule is effective with the year ending December 31,2019.

Why this change matters to you:
It requires restatement of prior years financial statements issued or a cumulative catchup including analysis of every franchise agreement in place as of December 31,2019
Your financial statement will likely show greater liabilities and less equity-particularly in smaller companies -thus weakening your financial position.
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There is an increased likelihood of state-imposed restrictions on use of franchise fees
There is the potential to scare off prospects based upon the weakening of franchisor’s financial position due to deferral of recognition of franchise fees.
Taxes are due on fees received but not recognized in financial statements

It is important that you begin the analysis process now so that it does not hold up the completion of your audit. We are available to help you implement this new rule.
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ABOUT THE FRANCHISE CPA

The Franchise CPA’s CEO, Barry Knepper, CPA, has had a 40-year career as a senior financial executive including the international public accounting firm, Ernst and Young. While serving as CFO of a $100 million company he managed its initial public offering (“IPO”) and raised a total of more than $100 million of equity and debt financing for expansion. Barry is a member of the Board of Directors and chairman of the audit committee of Coffee Holding Company, a publicly traded integrated wholesale coffee roaster and distributor.

At The Franchise CPA we are dedicated to the accounting needs of franchisers of any size and industry, providing financial statement audits, royalty audits and part time CFO services.

Our success and client satisfaction is due to the specialized service we provide to clients. Our fee structure is lower than others because we keep overhead to a minimum and focus on franchising.

We have a unique combination of real-world franchise experience. Our team has served as the full time CFO of multi concept franchisee and as a part time CFO for diverse concepts. We have performed financial statement and royalty audits for more than 80 franchisers. Having experience as a franchisee as well, we understand the sensitive nature of the franchisor/franchisee relationship and work hard to preserve that relationship.

Through our part-time CFO services we meet the needs of franchisers that do not need or cannot afford a full-time controller or CFO. As your part time CFO, we will assist you in improving your financial performance, maximizing cash flow and building long-term value.

Convert Your Licensed System To A Franchised System

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Although the liability potential is very real, if approached properly there are methods for mitigating licensing liability and for converting your license system to a franchise. It may take some time but it is definitely achievable. Also, an honest and direct approach with state franchise regulators will prove beneficial in the long run.
Convert Your License System to a Franchise System

By Charles N. Internicola, Esq.
Legal Counsel and Franchise Consulting

If your business has established a network of licensees who signed license agreements and who are selling products or services under your trademark or brand then chances are you have given some thought to franchising, whether or not your license system may really be a franchise and whether or not, legally, you need to convert your license system to a franchise system. This issue comes up often and, for a number of reasons, many successful and very well intentioned entrepreneurs (including those who followed and relied on the advice of their legal counsel) have found themselves exposed to franchise liability through the license agreements and license structure that they previously adopted.

If this is your situation then the next step is to evaluate your potential franchise liability, determine whether or not your license is or may be claimed to be a franchise and to then determine the right path forward in protecting your business, maintaining an avenue for continued growth and potentially converting your licensing system to a franchise. The good news is that this issue comes up often and, if approached correctly, is completely manageable and bin the long run can be extremely beneficial for your business.

How the Problem Typically Arises: “It Just Made Sense to Start off as a License”
For many unsuspecting entrepreneurs and their lawyers, licensing is a natural outgrowth of a successful business. You establish a profitable business, your have a great brand, products and services and people take notice. You want to expand and so you start by granting simple license agreements. Your licensees buy products or services from you, they expand your business by establishing new operating units, locations or dealerships using your brand and everything seems to work well. The reason you may have utilized a licensing model was because it just made sense and was a workable system as you grew. Another reason may be that you adopted a licensing structure legal advice or a mistaken belief that you could somehow could adopt licensing as an alternative to franchising.

Is Your License System Really a Franchise?
Chances are that it is. The reason why is because within every franchise is a license where the franchisor “licenses” to its franchisees the right for the franchisees to utilize the franchisor’s trademarks and brand. When evaluating whether or not a legal relationship transcends the line from simple license to regulated franchise, state regulators ignore terms and terminology like “license”, “licensee” and “licensor” and look to the substance of the relationship and whether or not: a license has been issued for use of the trademark licensee is operating an outlet or location in accordance with the licensor’s standards and specifications, and; whether or not there is payment of a fee. Much more often than not state regulators will find that claimed license relationships are really disguised franchise relationships and are subject to franchise regulation.

GET THE GUIDE: For complete detail about whether or not your license system is really a franchise and the tools and information that you can use in making this evaluation, download a fee copy of our extremely helpful guide Licensing verses Franchising.

When Does this Licensing verses Franchising Issue Typically Arise?
Consider than many improperly structured license systems (i.e., where the license system is really a franchise) operate without an issue ever being raised. That is, licensees are satisfied and there are no legal disputes, licensees do not complain to a state regulator and the state regulators themselves don’t contact you. Even if this is the case, the problem is that you may very well be exposed to future liability and your licensee issue may be a “ticking time bomb” only to rise up later on as your system gets larger and larger or during third-party due diligence during an acquisition. Typically this issue arises where:

Dispute with a Licensee – You have a dispute with a licensee and during the course of the dispute the licensee consults with a lawyer and the lawyer claims that your entire license agreement is an unauthorized franchise and that the licensee has been harmed because you did not properly disclose him or her with a Franchise Disclosure Document. Basically, whether you have been right or wrong, the licensee and his or her attorney use this as leverage over you.
Licensee or a Competitor Files a Complaint with a State Regulator – If or your licensee is located in a franchise registration state or a state that actively regulates franchising, if a licensee or, even, a competitor, files a complaint with the state regulator they could trigger an investigation. That is, the state regulator will make inquiries about your license agreements and may determine that your license agreements constitute franchises and that you have violated the state franchise laws.
Due Diligence During an Acquisition – A third party is interested in buying your business and during the pre-acquisition due diligence process the potential acquiring company and their lawyers raise an issue about your license system and whether or not your license agreements are even enforceable.

What’s the Potential Legal Exposure?
If you sell licenses that turn out to have met the criteria of a franchise then you will have violated the franchise laws. The violation is an extremely technical one (i.e., your license is really a franchise, you did not satisfy franchise disclosures mandated by the franchise laws and therefore you have sold illegal franchises) that creates substantive legal and business issues. Basically, your license agreements become unenforceable by you but your licensees may nevertheless enforce the license agreement plus other rights that will be afforded to them under the franchise laws. Your licensees will be afforded the opportunity to rescind their license agreements and seek damages, including reimbursement for their business expenditures.

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Although the liability potential is very real, if approached properly there are methods for mitigating licensing liability and for converting your license system to a franchise. It may take some time but it is definitely achievable. Also, an honest and direct approach with state franchise regulators will prove beneficial in the long run.

What Are The Next Steps
The next step or steps has more to do with your business and the facts surrounding your licensing system. Before jumping any gun, the first step is to evaluate your existing license agreement and licensing structure to determine if your license system has even transcended the line into franchising territory. If it has, then the next steps will involve an assessment of your current licensee relationships, whether or not you are involved in litigation or threatened litigation with a licensee and whether or not you have been contacted by a state regulator inquiring about your licenses.

Are You Being Proactive? – If things are going well and there are no current legal issues (i.e., licensees are not threatening you and you have not received a regulatory notice from a state claiming that you are illegally selling franchises) then the next step is to evaluate your license system, whether or not your license is really a franchise and, if it is a franchise, to implement an effective plan to convert your license system to a franchise system.
Has There Been a Legal Threat? – If a licensee has threatened you or a state regulator has sent you a notice claiming that you are selling illegal franchises then your next steps needs to be accelerated with a focus on mitigating potential licensee claims and addressing state regulators.
The positive news is that if you are dealing with a licensing problem, there are extremely realistic and achievable goals that can be reached in successfully converting your license system to a franchise system and resolving regulatory issues involving claimed franchise violations. The solution may take some time but it is achievable.

Services for Converting Your License System to a Franchise
We have worked with many successful entrepreneurs who, like you, were faced with the need to evaluate their existing license system, convert their license system to a franchise, address licensee legal claims and resolve state regulatory claims.

Our Licensing Evaluation and Franchise Conversion Services
Evaluating and Assessing Existing License Agreements
We will evaluate your existing licensing structure, including your license agreements and other related agreements like licensee training agreements and other agreements involving the licensees sale of products and services. We will provide you with a confidential assessment regarding your licensing structure that will include, if available, recommended modifications to the licensing structure and recommendations for potential conversion to a franchise system. Our review will include evaluation of the applicable franchise laws and regulations in your state and the states where your licensees are located.

Litigation Defense and Responses to Regulators
If a dispute has arisen with a licensee claiming an illegal franchise or franchise violations, we offer litigation services focused on defending your systems against franchise violations. If you already have legal counsel we will work with them on an as needed basis. If you have received a notice from a state regulator either requesting information about your system or claiming that your license is an illegal franchise then on your behalf we will work with the state regulator in resolving the claim.

Convert Your License System to a Franchise System
We successfully convert license systems into franchise systems. Our services not only include a complete franchise development process but also includes a strategic plan that we implement to convert licensees to franchisees, achieve state franchise registrations (even in states that claim you illegally sold franchises) and resolve state regulator claims through negotiated agreements that are commonly referred to “Assurances of Discontinuance”.

Our franchise conversion services are focused on preserving and protecting the existing business and network that you have already built and laying the foundation for continued expansion and growth.

About The Internicola Law Firm, P.C.
The Internicola Law Firm, P.C., helps emerging brands get the legal support they need, resources for growth, and strategies to win at franchising.
At The Internicola Law Firm, P.C., we believe all emerging brands can win big at franchising.
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About the Author:
Charles Internicola – National Business and Franchise Lawyer
The Internicola Law Firm, P.C.
New York, New Jersey and Nationwide Representation
(718) 979-8688

The managing partner and founder of The Internicola Law Firm, PC, Charles is a seasoned business attorney who has worked with and guided his clients at every stage of the business development cycle from start-up, regional expansion, franchised expansion, mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property protection and high-stakes litigation. Charles serves as outside and general counsel to a number of franchise, manufacturing and service based businesses throughout the nation where Charles and his team coordinate, monitor and manage all aspects of his clients’ legal matters, regulatory obligations and legal programs for the expansion and protection of their businesses.

Franchise And Independent Businesses Need These 4 Key Resources

As a small business owner, time and cost savings are precious. Make sure you know what tools your business needs to function smoothly, and choose the most efficient, cost-effective equipment to meet those needs. Whether it’s a good phone system, up-to-date computers or a shredder to safely dispose of sensitive documents, your business is only as good as the equipment you rely on.

4 key resources small businesses need to succeed

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From small home offices to co-working spaces to hotels and airplanes — as a small business owner, you’ve likely learned that being flexible with your work environment is critical to establishing and growing your business. No matter the spaces you travel to and run your business from, there are a few important resources to have in place to ensure that your operations are productive, efficient and a step ahead of your customer’s needs.

Office-quality equipment at consumer prices

As a small business owner, time and cost savings are precious. Make sure you know what tools your business needs to function smoothly, and choose the most efficient, cost-effective equipment to meet those needs. Whether it’s a good phone system, up-to-date computers or a shredder to safely dispose of sensitive documents, your business is only as good as the equipment you rely on. For example, a great product to invest in is a high-quality, reliable cartridge-free printer, like the Epson® EcoTank® Monochrome Supertank printer. Print more and worry less with a printer that comes with an easy-to-fill supersized ink tank that holds enough ink to print up to 6,000 pages and has a fast first page out time. Available in-store at Office Depot and OfficeMax, the Epson EcoTank wireless SuperTank printers also allow you to use voice-activated printing via Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri, giving you the convenience to focus on what’s most important for your business.

Professional IT support

Build a tech support team that keeps your business running no matter where you are. You likely don’t have the time to run your business and be your own IT support help desk. With help from a 24/7 remote tech support team from Workonomy™ at Office Depot, you can have access anytime and anywhere to a dedicated experienced tech support team by chat or phone. There’s never a good time for computer problems, but with a reliable 24/7 tech support team that helps with everything from data recovery to virus scans, you can have confidence that your tech will be running smoothly and optimize your business for efficiency.

A method and a space for resetting

Just because you can bring the office with you wherever you go doesn’t mean you should. Make time to leave it all behind. Create a toolbox of activities that help you reset, relax and rejuvenate your thoughts so you can bring fresh ideas to your business. From a brisk walk or a podcast episode to a phone call with a friend, choose one or two activities that you can quickly call upon each day to reset your mind and passion.

A workplace that’s as flexible as you are

Whether you are traveling, meeting a new client, need some help with your laptop or just want a small space to call your own, a great resource to have on hand is a co-working space. Office Depot’s Workonomy™ Hub co-working service provides support and assistance to home-based and small businesses in select locations. From private offices and conference rooms to daily drop-in, there’s a space and a plan that fits your work style. You can also take advantage of services including tech support, storage, packing and shipping, and more. Check out the available services and locations near you at officedepot.com.

Being a business owner requires you to wear a lot of hats and sometimes work in unique and on-the-go places. Your environment doesn’t have to impact the output of your business. With the right equipment and tech support, outlet to relax, and a flexible co-working space, you can set your business up to run efficiently and give yourself more time to do what you’re most passionate about. Sponsored by Office Depot.

Advice for Franchisor CMOs When Dealing With Digital Marketing Vendors

This post is to simply inform and alert any franchise CMO who inherits one of these troubling vendor relationships. If you don’t own control of your online assets, you’re going to have unfriendly challenges ahead of you. We’re currently on boarding several clients that are experiencing these challenges. Here are a few results that we’re seeing with brands that are transitioning from this arrangement.

Digital Marketing Advice for Franchisor CMOs


By Andrew Beckman
Chairman, Founder Local Marketing Expert

The franchising community is complicated. With thousands of franchisees operating under thousands of corporate brands, breakdowns in communication are inevitable. As partners of these brands and franchisees, the franchise marketing community should be working to build trust and stability throughout the franchising network, not actively adding to the confusion.

Unfortunately, many franchise marketing vendors are misleading the franchising community. As some vendors put franchise websites on custom content management systems, they’re neglecting to tell these brands the consequences of this arrangement. Mainly, that franchise brands are unknowingly relinquishing ownership of their site and other web assets.

This arrangement might not seem like a big deal at the outset of an engagement. But when these brands decide to change course, it’s the brands that are left with the complicated transition — a transition that threatens long-term damage to not only their online presence, but the brand itself.

This post is to simply inform and alert any franchise CMO who inherits one of these troubling vendor relationships. If you don’t own control of your online assets, you’re going to have unfriendly challenges ahead of you. We’re currently on boarding several clients that are experiencing these challenges. Here are a few results that we’re seeing with brands that are transitioning from this arrangement.

* It’s your logo. They’re your words. But they aren’t your pages. Your site pages are being hosted and managed by a third-party business.

* When transitioning off the vendor-owned pages, if you don’t own your content (images, videos, etc.), you will be starting from scratch.

* Some vendors are including proprietary tracking code within your site structure. If not identified properly, this can cause significant issues during site transition.

* If you’re using a subdomain hosted on a separate IP address, you will not get the same SEO benefit, and will need to spend time pointing links to new subdirectory location pages.

* Lack of custom Content Management System (CMS) build out.

* Limitations with Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) strategies.

Whether these imbalanced vendor-client relationships stem from a genuine misunderstanding or an unethical approach, it’s imperative that all franchise brands are aware of the potential pitfalls of the arrangement. I’d love to continue the discussion.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR – Andrew Beckman
As Chairman of Location3,
Andrew Beckman oversees strategic direction and business development initiatives in conjunction with the agency’s Executive Board. Andrew founded Location3 Media in 1999 as a direct response digital partner with a portfolio of services that included PPC management, SEO, local search marketing, display marketing, social media marketing, content strategy, website design & development, web analytics management and more. Since 1999, Location3 has evolved into a full service digital marketing agency that delivers enterprise-level strategy with local market activation.

Prior to founding Location3, Andrew was an international sales manager for DoubleClick, Inc. where he was charged with opening new sales offices, as well as training teams on U.S. search marketing strategies for the original AltaVista Search Engine. Andrew is an expert in local search marketing strategy and is a frequent presenter at industry conferences including SES, SMX, StreetFight Summit, ClickZ Live, PubCon, BIA Kelsey and more. Follow him on Twitter.
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ABOUT LOCATION3
Location3
is a digital marketing agency that delivers enterprise-level strategy with local market activation.
As the premier digital marketing partner for franchise brands and multi-location businesses, we operate under the belief that Everything Is Local. That means using our digital expertise and proprietary technology to connect businesses with the customers who are searching for their solutions.

Fulfill Your Dream of Business Ownership – Here are 5 Tips For A Business Loan

The U.S. Census Bureau’s 2012 Survey of Small Business Owners found that 2.52 million businesses in the United States (or 9.1%) are majority-owned by veterans. There are many resources available for veterans interested in starting or growing their business, including those from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Dreaming of starting a new business? Remember these 5 things

(BPT) – If you’re dreaming about starting a business, or if you’re already a business owner looking to grow your business, chances are that you’ll need a loan at some point to help your vision become reality. And if you’re a veteran or active-duty servicemember, you already possess the skills and vital experience needed to make your business a success.

“From resourcefulness and determination to the ability to take smart risks, military experience teaches skills that translate well for business ownership,” said Tony Pica, vice president of business services at Navy Federal Credit Union.

The U.S. Census Bureau’s 2012 Survey of Small Business Owners found that 2.52 million businesses in the United States (or 9.1%) are majority-owned by veterans. There are many resources available for veterans interested in starting or growing their business, including those from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

What are lenders looking for? Here are five considerations to keep in mind before securing a loan for your business:

1. Do your market research and prepare a solid business plan.

Doing research on the industry and preparing a solid business plan is an important step to take when seeking financing for your company. If you can demonstrate to lenders that you’ve done your due diligence — created a detailed business plan, have a trusted team, know the demand for your product or service, and developed a sales strategy to show the viability of your business — you’ll be much more likely to convince them to take a chance on you and your company.

2. Review your overall financial profile.

“Your complete financial health demonstrates your creditworthiness to lenders, so it’s best to review your credit history before applying for a business loan,” Pica said. “You’ll also want to know the amount of money you need to borrow and what exactly it will be used for.”

Presenting your complete background, such as your education and experience, including whether you’ve worked at or managed a similar business in the past, can also make a big difference.

3. Be willing to invest some of your personal money.

Depending on the lending request, you might need to provide a cash injection or collateral. This may include your home, a vehicle, marketable securities or tangible inventory. The lender wants to make sure that you’re willing to put your own skin in the game. In many cases, a certain amount of capital may be required by law.

4. Expanding an existing business? Demonstrate evidence of continued success.

Lenders will want to see evidence of your past and projected cash flow as a result of expanding your existing company. If the loan is for a new business, you’ll need to show lenders your ability to repay it by providing a detailed explanation that includes projected expenses and income, based on solid research.

5. Partner with your trusted financial institution.

Once you’ve done your market research and developed a concrete business plan, talk to your trusted bank or credit union about the business lending products and services available to you.

For example, Navy Federal Credit Union Business Services provides more than just loans for equipment, vehicles and commercial real estate for its members. It provides a whole suite of options, such as business checking and savings accounts and business credit cards, as well as assistance with bill pay, payroll processing, insurance policies and retirement coverage for employees.

Financing your budding business can be a smooth process with these considerations in mind.


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Small business: How ethics can help your bottom line

Often, leaders at small businesses with few employees feel protected from or less susceptible to fraud or unethical conduct because of the close-knit nature of their teams. But research shows unethical behavior is more widespread than they realize, and not confined to one type of business.

Small business: How ethics can help your bottom line

(BPT) – The last thing any company wants is a misstep that hurts the trust it has built with customers. This is especially true for smaller businesses, which may not have the resources to recover from a reputation setback. To prevent mistakes, bad decisions and wrongdoing, smaller businesses can take a proactive approach to developing ethical business leaders and business cultures. Experts say when businesses do that they can achieve benefits for their bottom line, their employees and the common good.

It can happen anywhere

Often, leaders at small businesses with few employees feel protected from or less susceptible to fraud or unethical conduct because of the close-knit nature of their teams. But research shows unethical behavior is more widespread than they realize, and not confined to one type of business. According to a 2017 Ethics and Compliance Initiative survey, nearly 47% of U.S. employees at companies of all sizes said they personally observed workplace conduct that “either violated organizational standards or the law.”

A 2018 Better Business Bureau survey found that 84% of consumers trust small businesses the most. That’s important for business owners to recognize, because the more trust a consumer puts in your company, the greater the ramifications when that trust is broken. This means business leaders have every incentive to develop strong ethical standards and cultures.

Empowering businesses

One university is looking to empower smaller businesses through a new open-access website. The University of St. Thomas recently launched the Business Ethics Resource Center (BERC), with U.S. Bank as the founding sponsor. The BERC is part of the university’s Center for Ethics in Practice in the Opus College of Business and provides resources for small and midsized businesses, focusing on ways they can develop ethical leaders and cultures.

Resources include videos, articles, toolkits, example plans and other multimedia assets that can help companies promote ethical conduct as part of their core mission. The BERC is designed to help time-strapped business leaders develop and sustain a strong ethical culture within their organizations and realize the inherent benefits that come along with that.

The benefits of ethics

While it’s difficult to determine the true cost of developing an ethical culture within your organization, it’s clear there are several tangible benefits. For starters, practicing ethics can help you avoid costly legal issues while enhancing your company’s reputation. It will also help you build customer loyalty, with 80% of customers saying they are more loyal to a company with good ethics, according to a recent survey from Salesforce. The same qualities that attract customers will also increase your ability to attract and retain outstanding employees. When you’re able to establish ethical standards as the foundation of your company values, you foster a more positive, meaningful work culture for your employees.

Promoting ethical conduct and compliance doesn’t have to be expensive. By utilizing the resources available and cementing strong ethical standards as a critical part of company values, businesses can establish an ethical company culture that benefits everyone involved.

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Veterans – What’s Your Next Mission? – Franchise Opportunities for Veterans.

Photo by Yeo Khee on Unsplash

Many Veterans find their transition to be very challenging because they’re used to either preparing for a mission or executing one. They return home only to find that they no longer have that focus or a team around them.
Franchise opportunities for Veterans abound.

What’s Your Next Mission?
By Rich Vaill
VP, Business Banker | Marine Corps Veteran | Veterans employment advocate

I used to meet with my Platoon Sergeant on a regular basis to ensure we were on the same page and to discuss any challenges. One morning, we sat down to talk about a young Marine who continually got into trouble. Although I thought the Marine was intelligent and had potential, his mistakes and poor judgement left me unsure as to how to approach the problem.

My Platoon Sergeant suggested that we place him in charge of our publications and resource section. Puzzled, I asked, “You want to reward his mistakes with a new responsibility?” He explained that while he was also troubled by the Marine’s decisions, he recognized the young man’s potential and wanted to provide him with this new challenge.

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It was a great decision, as the Marine embraced the role, improved the overall effectiveness of the section and became a top performer. We promoted him to Corporal a few months later.

Many Veterans find their transition to be very challenging because they’re used to either preparing for a mission or executing one. They return home only to find that they no longer have that focus or a team around them. It can make for a tough time, so it’s important that Veterans find another mission to embrace. I was lucky enough to discover my passion for helping my fellow Veterans find employment on which to focus my attention.

I was chatting about this with a friend, and we came to the conclusion that everyone needs a “next” mission. It’s certainly not just for those who have served in the military. Everyone can benefit from having a daily and/or long-term purpose.

It might be something as simple as helping your kids through Algebra, more extensive like becoming involved in a local charity or assuming a new role within your company. Either way, it’s something that demands your attention and, hopefully, yields a positive result.

Whether it’s a personal objective like helping a family member, a new challenge in your career or starting a business, a new mission gives you renewed focus and a chance to thrive.

“When you discover your mission, you will feel its demand. It will fill you with enthusiasm and a burning desire to get to work on it.” – W. Clement Stone

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About the Author

Rich Vaill works with Professional Service businesses and Veteran entrepreneurs who are:
* Worried about rising costs and decreasing cash flow
* Unsure about how much working capital they should have on hand
* Frustrated with the amount of time it takes to perform simple banking operations

At my core, I’m a Marine. As a Marine in Business Banking, I focus on what’s important to my clients and I get it done.
Specialties:
Escrow | 1031 Exchanges | Cash Flow Optimization | Credit Solutions | SBA Loans
Founder of LinkedIn group, “Jobs for Veterans”
President – New Jersey Chapter of the National Marine Corps Business Network
I may be contacted at 973 699-5616 (c)

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Franchise Opportunities for Veterans
https://www.franchisegrowthsolutions.com/clients