Leads – A Never Ending Challenge For All Companies

Photo by Berkeley Communications on Unsplash

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!

balloon kings franchise opportunity
A Balloon Kings Franchise may be exactly what you need in 2020, click here to find out!

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.

hoagies, philadelphia, franchise, sandwich, cheesesteak
Lee’s Hoagie House – 64 Years of Success. Click here for franchise info

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.

Article Source: http://www.ArticleGeek.com – Free Website Content

franchise, royalties, profits, expansion
Click Here To Learn About Franchising Your Business

How to Achieve A Competitive Advantage With The Help of Key Customers and Suppliers

Photo by Cytonn Photography on Unsplash

The greatest barrier to successful collaboration is the conventional mindset of a combative relationship with suppliers. Negotiations are perceived as a zero-sum margin tug-of-war, with the relative power balance determining the result.

Achieving Competitive Advantage through Collaboration with Key Customers and Suppliers
By: Don Johnston

An Evolving Operational Focus
In the past when companies pondered corporate strategy, operations had been peripheral to the discussion. Operations were considered a technical matter with one way of doing things and therefore not, strategic. Strategy is about products, markets, and competitive advantage with divergent possibilities.

Operations were seen as a series of puzzles with single best solutions. The realization that optimization of parts did not optimize the whole led to new focus – operational management went up a level from looking at individual tasks to looking at whole processes. During the 1960s, Japanese manufactures obtained competitive advantage by optimizing operational efficiency, which meant lower prices, flexible production capabilities and a reduction in lead times. Operational considerations became a key theme in strategic discussions.

During the 1990s, companies like Dell took this further. The computer market was changing faster than any other market had done in history. Dell began managing operations by synchronizing functional activity into a single corporate heartbeat. An order instantly drove procurement, which drove production and then distribution. The result was a further drop in lead times, inventory requirements, and operating costs along with flexibility. Operational efficiency was Dell’s sole source of competitive advantage and it reaped enormous market share gains.

Collaboration – The Next Step
The historical trend is clear. The impact that one activity has on the next means they cannot be optimized in isolation. The result is that operations have become the key corporate strategic consideration. Yet the nature of competitive advantage is to elapse as competitors replicate it, which places a continual onus on companies to find new differentials. This begs the question – what next?

The answer lies in another step up in the way we view corporate operation. We need to look beyond the borders of the firm in our search for operational efficiency. Optimized company operations can only be achieved through alignment and coordination with the agents up and down stream. Collaboration with suppliers and customers is the essential vehicle of the 21st century for achieving competitive advantage from operations.

The benefits of Collaboration

1. Sharing demand signals
The first step to collaboration comes through information sharing. Across nearly all industries, companies play a guessing game (called forecasting) to estimate the products and quantities that their customers will demand across different markets. Even if a company gets it just right it still needs large inventory buffers to cope with demand variability, thus dramatically reducing its capital efficiency. It is imperative to compress lead times to meet demand rapidly and lessen these negative effects – this can negate the production-cost benefits of today’s off-shoring vogue in China. The butterfly’s wing effect on forecasting and ordering means the end demand signal gets wildly distorted as it echoes up the supply chain being reinterpreted and exaggerated at each turn. Inaccuracies are amplified at each stage, leaving suppliers facing high-stake production gambles.

The answer is simple – relaying end user demand signals and likely future order quantities to suppliers up the chain. This is the single biggest benefit of collaboration and it comes at virtually no cost reducing much of the variability from the forecasting calculation. A supplier’s response will be a much closer fit to market demand if information about likely order quantities is shared. Typically, inventory levels can be reduced by two thirds, service levels sky-rocket while lost revenues evaporate, and supply costs are cut by a quarter when demand information sharing is implemented correctly.

2. Efficiency through alignment
The next step is operational coordination. Working capital naturally collects at the borders of the firm. Finished Goods nearly always account for much more inventory than Work in Process, mainly because of the typical inadequacy in coordination between supply chain entities. Accounts receivable tend to be swelled by disputes and billing problems, which would be ironed out instantly if they were internal issues. Most companies currently allow working capital to accumulate at the point where their processes meet those of their customers and suppliers, which provides a great opportunity for freed cash flow and increased capital efficiency.

Costs can also be reduced dramatically through simple operational coordination between suppliers and customers. Systems, processes, and organizations can be joined up much more effectively to eliminate unnecessary duplication and increase the through-put and flexibility of both supplier and customer organizations.

Franchise Money Maker
Franchise your company, expand your brand, collect your royalties!

The interfaces of goods delivery/goods-receipt, invoicing/invoice-processing and collection/payment all exhibit the same misalignment and duplication. The painstaking effort spent on internal efficiency is negated by a clumsy operational weld between suppliers and customers. Functions get managed to performance metrics, which encourage activity that runs, counter to the efficiency of the organization, let alone the total supply mechanism. Firms should optimise their impact on their key customers’ total cost of supply. Configuring and managing the organization to better align with key customers and suppliers facilitates a more fluid transfer of goods, cash and information up and down the supply chain. This provides a win/win of capital and cost reduction at the same time as enhanced revenue levers for all organizations involved.

3. Joint exploration of strategic options
The final step is a strategic coordination-unlocking new market development and product development possibilities based on co-exploring avenues to competitive advantage. This is only attainable once trust has been built through information share and some steps in operational integration. With the foundation of operational collaboration set, customers and suppliers can combine in entering new markets, coordinated off-shoring and shared selected R&D to explore exciting product development opportunities and condense launch times.

Overcoming the Zero Sum Mindset
The greatest barrier to successful collaboration is the conventional mindset of a combative relationship with suppliers. Negotiations are perceived as a zero-sum margin tug-of-war, with the relative power balance determining the result. This precludes a focus on win-win value driving activity. Suppliers and customers end up perpetually wasting and reworking because they see opening a constructive dialogue as weakness or even as surrender. Many executives fear a loss of flexibility through higher switching costs from greater collaboration. The truth is that most firms’ key supplier base has not changed dramatically over the last 2 years, so collaborative activity would have been massively beneficial as the payback period can be. Still, this does not irreversibly affix firms together – competitive pressures still work to drive down prices and provide the incentive to offer the best value.

Another fear is that companies would give away their competitive advantage to customers or suppliers if they collaborate. The reality is that core competencies do not vanish through sharing demand information, or through bridging operational rifts. The reason that there are few truly vertically integrated industries is testament to this – core competencies dilute and effective organization is impossible over too lengthy a chain. Such anxiety may be unfounded, but the fear is real and debilitating. This is why companies should commit progressively and in parallel, reaching a point acceptable to both parties; from information share, to operational alignment, through to symbiotic strategic planning. As a further development, (depending on the concentration of the end user markets for a product), a company can then extend its collaborative relationships further up and down the supply chain to suppliers’ suppliers, customers’ customers and beyond.

=============================================================
fitness franchise Click Here to Learn About Acai Express-The Premier Acai Lifestyle Franchise opportunity! – OR CALL (917) 991-2465
=============================================================

As with preceding operational evolutions, collaboration will doubtless be pioneered by some companies and shunned by others. Far from the micro/technical operational thinking of the past, collaboration offers a strategic perspective, divergent options and colossal profit, and capital efficiency benefits. Until it becomes universally adopted, collaboration is the most promising source of competitive advantage from operations available today.

Author Bio
Don Johnston is a consultant with the REL Consultancy Group www.relconsult.com – REL’s financial consulting services are all about generating improvements in cashflow. As experts in working capital management REL has been associated with some of the world’s most successful companies for over 30 years, focusing on all of the three key areas of payables, receivables, and inventory.

Article Source: http://www.ArticleGeek.com – Free Website Content

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

Photo by Gautam Arora on Unsplash

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.


Click here to learn how to franchise your business

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

Article Source: http://www.ArticleGeek.com – Free Website Content

Free Website Content
http://www.articlegeek.com/business/small_business/292-startyourownday.htm

Convert Your Licensed System To A Franchised System

Photo by Helloquence on Unsplash

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.

franchise-growth-solutions-for-emerging-brands
Click Here to Learn about Franchising Your Business

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.
====================
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.

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.

——————————————-

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.
——————————————-

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.


============================================

franchise-growth-solutions-for-emerging-brands
Click Here to Learn about Franchising Your Business

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.

END OF ARTICLE
——————-

franchise-growth-solutions-for-emerging-brands
Click Here to Learn about Franchising Your Business

Business Owner Tip – When Dealing With Succession Planning – Removing An Irresponsible Executor.

When a loved passes, many issues arise regarding assets IE: succession and the distribution of acquired wealth. This includes all personal property, real estate and in many cases, a business. Usually a trusted family member was assigned the task as “executor” of a Will. However, what happens if that person is mishandeling the process through negligence, incompetence or for personal gain. Today our guest contributor; Spencer Lauterbach, Esq, addresses the problem and the solution. Take this advice when planning your business succession plan you put in place

Can I Remove an Irresponsible Executor?
By Spencer Lauterbach, Esq.

If a loved one has recently passed away and you believe his or her executor is mismanaging the deceased’s assets in some way, you may wish to have him or her removed from the position. If you are looking to remove an executor, here are some of the questions you may have:

What does an executor do?
Executors bear a lot of responsibility. First, they will open probate and identify the deceased’s assets. An executor will then notify all beneficiaries, pay off the deceased’s remaining debts, distribute assets amongst heirs, and finally close out the estate. Executors are essentially responsible for ensuring the administration process goes swiftly, smoothly, and according to plan.

What is a valid reason to remove an executor from the position?
* He or she is ineligible for any reason
* He or she is incompetent or has become incapacitated
* He or she is unqualified
* He or she is purposefully or negligently mismanaging the estate

How can an executor behave irresponsibly?
There are several ways in which an executor can either behave negligently or break the law. Executors must obey the following rules:

* Never sign a will on behalf of the deceased
* Never change provisions in a will
* Never carry out a will before its creator is deceased
* Never deter, coerce, or prevent beneficiaries from contesting a will
* Never sell the deceased’s assets for less than fair market value without the beneficiaries’ consent

How can I remove an executor?
Fortunately, those who believe an executor is mismanaging assets have legal options to get the irresponsible executor removed. Rather obviously, talking is a solid first option. You should not have to get involved in a nasty legal situation with a relative if you can simply voice your concerns and move on. However, if you have already tried, or are unable to communicate with this person for any reason, you may petition the court to remove the executor. Once you do, you and the current executor will attend a hearing, where a courtroom will listen to both sides of the story. From here, the court will decide whether to remove the current executor and appoint a new one.

Additionally, you may file a civil lawsuit against the executor as well, especially if you can prove he or she acted maliciously or dishonestly when carrying out his or her duties as executor. If you have suffered significant damages and can prove it was because of an irresponsible executor, there is a very good chance you can recover some of those damages through a lawsuit.

About the author:
Spencer Lauterbach, Esq.
The Lauterbach Law Firm is proud to serve clients throughout Rockland County who are faced with legal matters related to estate planning, real estate, foreclosure defense, landlord-tenant law, business law, and criminal defense. If you require the services of an experienced team of attorneys, contact The Lauterbach Law Firm today to schedule a consultation.

===========================================================

franchise-growth-solutions-for-emerging-brands

Click Here to Learn about Franchising Your Business

Franchisors – Why You Should Use Mediation before Litigation

Our guest contributor, James A. Meaney shares his insights on why franchisors should seek mediation when settling disputes with franchisees. saving costly legal fees not only benefits both parties but often times leads to a better outcome.

Why I Love Mediation and You Should Too!
By James A. Meaney – Franchise Attorney
The majority of franchise agreements that I come across or create these days have a mediation clause. For those of you who have no clue what I’m talking about, when a dispute arises, the disagreeing parties have only a few options: do nothing, file a lawsuit, go to arbitration, or sit down and try to work it out a/k/a MEDIATION.

Avoid spending a fortune
This is not the first time I have addressed this important topic and you can find earlier posts here. And, full disclosure: I serve as a mediator when selected by the parties or their counsel. But, here is why I love mediation and you should too! To help your clients or your company resolve disputes before spending a fortune.

Litigation and arbitration can burn up a very large sum of money. Remember it is a battle. The courtroom or the arbitration room is the battleground and counsel are the warriors. Let’s not get too carried away here but some of these disputes run from tens of thousands of dollars to over hundreds of thousands of dollars.

WORK TOGETHER
Mediation is a process that allows parties to work together, usually with the help of a trained and experienced mediator (often a lawyer but not universally), to settle a dispute before an action is filed and sometimes after. Mediators come in all types (ex. commercial law, domestic disputes) and styles (ex. objective neutrals, aggressive, evaluative). But the hallmark of an effective mediator is keeping the parties engaged, keeping them talking and negotiating. Also, an astute mediator may offer “creative” solutions that the parties did not consider.

Franchise Money Maker
CLICK HERE NOW: Franchise your company, expand your brand, collect your royalties!

So counsel, if you have a long-standing client, wouldn’t you want to save them time and money? Wouldn’t it be the best advice you can provide under the circumstance? Besides, litigation or arbitration is always on the table but why not think of it as a last resort? Company officials or franchisees, not only could you save those precious funds, but you may find a solution that preserves the relationship. The earlier you seek resolution, the more latitude you have.

Of course some disputes cannot be resolved through mediation but, even when there is a small chance of resolution, it seems like a wise investment. And, as any commercial lawyer knows, whether a litigator or transactional lawyer, serving our clients’ needs is our top priority.

About The Author:
James A. Meaney is an Attorney on the Zaino Law Team. Zaino Law Group, LPA, in Dublin, Ohio, serves clients in Columbus, Dayton, Springfield and communities throughout Central Ohio. Our lawyers offer a unique blend of practical advice and a thorough understanding of legal issues. We recognize the importance of being part of a total planning team. Our attorneys consult and work closely with your accountant, your financial planner, your insurance professional and other attorneys in order to provide comprehensive legal counsel.

The Last Mile – On the Ground in Delivery Land

As a long-time restaurateur primarily in the franchised, fast-casual business, I understand the need to outpace and add more value & service to customers. Our contributing writer today, Roger Lipton highlights and adds his insights to what he calls the “The Last Mile” in the restaurant business. As more and more operators are fighting for the same dollar, speed, value, and convenience become the point of differentiation for many restaurant brands.  Enjoy Roger’s take on ‘Delivery Land.”

 

Another potential problem, as pointed out by a group of restaurant operators in Los Angeles, is that delivery agents are not trained in food handling and temperature maintenance standards. One LA-based operator said, “If a customer gets hepatitis, they are going to sue the restaurant.” Another stomach-turning pitfall, as described, is the hungry delivery person that helps themselves to part of the milkshake or a couple of the ribs.

 

DELIVERY, THE BIG THING IN RESTAURANT LAND – THIS IS WHAT “THE LAST MILE” LOOKS LIKE.

 By Roger Lipton

Reposted with permission

Restaurant companies are unanimous in their pursuit of delivery as one of the huge opportunities to increase the productivity of their physical plants. Too much square footage continues to be a burden on productivity, especially when it takes labor at $15.00 (ex the tip credit) per hour to service the space. It’s also clear by this time that control over the “last mile” is of major concern to restaurant operators. Not only is the reputation of The Brand at stake, but valuable information relative to the customers is in the hands of the third-party agent, potentially not as useful to the food provider.

Franchise Money Maker
CLICK HERE NOW: Franchise your company, expand your brand, collect your royalties!

A reality of this new source of business is that margins for the restaurant company will be affected since 15-30% of the ticket is paid to the delivery agent. While some argue that a large portion of the delivery dollars is “incremental,” it stands to reason that a customer who receives the product at home on Wednesday night is less likely to visit that restaurant on Thursday or Friday. On the hopeful side: delivery companies are already competing for market share, negotiating their fees lower, therefore improving the remaining margin for the restaurant. Overall, this is a portion of dining dollars that is very much in a state of flux.

ON THE GROUND IN DELIVERY LAND

Two articles caught our eye in the last day or so, in the New York Times and the New York Post, describing the reality of “the last mile,” and it’s not pretty.

The Post described how a delivery worker (from DoorDash) punched a pizza store employee in the head because the order wasn’t ready for pickup. We are not trying to focus on DoorDash (DD) in particular, because this could happen with any third party agent, but another DD employee posted a negative review on Yelp because the food “trash” wasn’t ready on time. Another DD hire made a scene after getting a parking ticket while waiting for a delivery pickup. Since delivery agents, including DD, UberEats, Postmates, and others, get paid primarily for completed deliveries and little, if anything, for waiting time, they are obviously very sensitive to the availability of the order. At the same time, restaurant employees, including one cited at (well run) Cheesecake Factory, are not necessarily treating the delivery person with great courtesy.

TRAINED TO DELIVER FOOD BUT NOT HOW TO “HANDLE” IT

Another potential problem, as pointed out by a group of restaurant operators in Los Angeles, is that delivery agents are not trained in food handling and temperature maintenance standards. One LA-based operator said, “If a customer gets hepatitis, they are going to sue the restaurant.” Another stomach turning pitfall, as described, is the hungry delivery person that helps themself to part of the milkshake or a couple of the ribs. All of this can be considered “anecdotal,” but the proper selection and training for third party agents are no doubt far from optimal at this early point in the evolution of the food delivery industry. Parenthetically, stock investors might well keep all of this in mind before they pay a considerable valuation for DoorDash when it comes public.

The New York Times described the experience of a bicycle delivery person in Manhattan, obviously a unique market, but still indicative of urban issues. The bicycle person, working for UberEats as well as Postmates, had continuous decisions on the run to make, all while anticipating traffic patterns and potential delays. Should he pick up several orders at a Mexican restaurant five blocks away for UberEats, or divert to two orders for Postmates at Shake Shack that was a little closer. As he said, “I had to decide: take on three orders at once and risk falling behind? Stick with UberEats, which was running a $10 bonus for doing six deliveries by 1:30, or try for a Postmates bonus? Information was limited. The UberEats app doesn’t tell you where the delivery is going until you pick it up. I could not know what the Postmates job would pay. The Postmates clock ticked down – you have seconds to accept or decline an order. I was threading my way around lurching honking trucks and oblivious texting pedestrians and watching for cops and looking down at the phone mounted on my handlebars and calculating delivery times.”

The article goes on to describe the intense competition among companies like Grubhub Seamless, UberEats, Caviar, DoorDash and Postmates, and delivery agents are often representing more than one company. The restaurants have been forced into the e-commerce business, outsourcing their product to the hands of a fleet of freelance personnel who may or may not appropriately represent the restaurant Brand. Especially as competition has increased, the net hourly pay for delivery agents has become closer to $10/hour than $20, sometimes even less than $10. We can only imagine the professional skills, or lack thereof, of a person that is going to subject themselves to this kind of pressure for that kind of wage. There is a myriad of other hurdles that delivery agents in urban areas will have to deal with, but that will vary by venue. We can say with assurance; however, just as above described in suburbia, there is enormous work to be done to iron out the issues, reduce the risk, and improve the profitability for the restaurant operator.

CONCLUSION:

The challenge remains to make delivery incrementally profitable, without taking on considerable risk to The Brand in the process. To whatever extent possible, maximum control over the delivery process should be at The Brand level. In the meantime, takeout and curbside pickup may be convenient enough to maintain market share, without incurring the risks as described above. Perhaps orders, above a specific size at limited times of the day within a certain radius, can be delivered by properly trained store-level employees. There is a large market to be served, but not necessarily at the risk of The Brand.

Read more from Roger Lipton here