Archive for the ‘Business Plan’ Category

One of the life bloods of franchising is lead flow. Not much different than another of our franchisees business, or any sales and marketing company; you need to be bringing in new blood all the time. At Five Star we are constantly measuring lead flow, sales cycles, velocity, close ratios, and other various metrics to make sure we are on track. Recently, in a sales meeting we discussed two things that we could do to increase our franchise sales.

1) Volume. This can mean so many things, but it can start at the very beginning of the sales cycle – impressions, or in the middle – leads, or in the end – contracts signed. The reality is that you need to be constantly reviewing ways to increase the volume of people looking at your concept, so, that they can express interest and enter into the journey of learning if your franchise concept if the right fit for them. Here are a few ideas on ways you could amp up the volume:

a. Cast a wider net. For example, if you are advertising for the word painting franchise, why not consider something like home based business, or service industry franchises in your online advertising. Some people know what they want, and others have an idea.
b. Use different channels. Online advertising is a fantastic tool that can be approached through SEO, Pay-Per-Click, affiliates, directories, and on and on. However, what about trying something different like Career Builder, or Monster.com? Business brokers is a channel that many franchisors use to get in front of candidates, and many of them use these techniques themselves. Why not try your hand at marketing to the right candidates directly?
c. PR. Public Relations is a tricky tool that few are able to wield effectively. I have approached this different ways for different concepts. The key is that if you aren’t using PR in your marketing mix you should think about doing it now. Have no money to hire and expert you say? Well then pick up the phone and pitch your cool concept yourself until someone gives you the time of day. You need some independently written articles by a quality publication saying your cool instead of that testimonial from your grandma.
d. Social Media – yes, believe it or not I have had people contact me through my blog, Facebook page, and twitter account to request information about one of our brands. So how do you find the time? Well its 12am right now, so, now you know.

2) Efficiency. Getting more eyeballs on your web page is your first mission. Your second mission is to get them to click that submit button. Marketing is scientific, so, please, don’t make this about guy checks. Yes, you can start there, but measure, tweak, measure, tweak, measure, tweak until finally you can tell me you are at 25% conversion rates. 5 years ago I would have told you it wasn’t possible, but, today our team has moved the virtual mountains and now enjoy the results. This is something you can never stop thinking about. Here is a quick example of what we have done over the years.
Go to www.fivestarpaintingfranchise.net this site is our old franchise site. We have tweaked this site dozens of times, and it runs at about a 10% conversion rate. If you go to www.5starfranchising.com you will find very cool information and well-designed research site. This site is below 1%. Now if you go to www.fivestarpaintingfranchise.com you will see our main franchise site for Five Star Painting. I have many times shared these sites with people and have asked the question of which one they prefer, and which one they though would do best. Please remember, that the goal of your franchise site is to generate enough interest to get someone to click the submit button and begin the dialogue.

Of course there is more to franchise lead generation than this. So, with that being said: what do you do that works?

Whether you are on your own or working with a franchisor, you should know where you are headed,
what your goals are, and what you want your outcome to be. If you build a company with the intent to
sell it someday, you will act differently than if you plan on doing this for the rest of your life.

Having a good model to follow, whether self-designed or as part of a franchise agreement can give you
a road map to follow along the way. Business is rarely a stable element, and anything you can do to
add a little stability along the way is going to make your life much easier.

It does not matter if you have a long, drawn out document in a binder somewhere. You should have a
personal plan detailing what YOU want from your business experience. This is your guideline. You
need to know where YOU want to be.

Start by following our old friend Stephen R. Covey and “Begin with the End in Mind”. At the top
of a piece of paper, write what you ultimately want out of your business. Do you want to sell it for
$10,000,00 dollars? Do you want to build a legacy to leave to your husband/wife/children/cats after
you pass on? This needs to be the primary motivating force in your mind for wanting to build a
business. Whether you know it or not, you do have one, so take some time and decide what that is.
You can always change it later.

Set up your ultimate goal and work toward it. That is your job, your calling, and your opportunity.

Sometimes the best way to learn something is to either do it wrong yourself or learn from someone else’s mistakes. I have had the pleasure of doing both. If you are thinking of franchising your business you have probably read, or been told about the pot at the end of the rainbow. Well like anything in life, if it is worth having, it’s going to be a lot of work. Here are three tips to avoid some disasters and maybe help you catch the leprechaun:

1) Mess of pottage. Why trade your franchisor birthright for a few dollars? In franchising, someone looking to buy your franchise will pay you a handsome franchise fee, some concepts as high as $50,000 at signing. The franchise fee is there to do a few things, like get skin in the game, cover the costs of attracting top talent to your franchise system, pay the tuition for all of you’ve learned, fund development of systems, etc. The challenge with such large franchise fees is that it’s often more money than you will get in royalties for a few years. Because of this, franchisors are more excited about closing that big deal than all the hard work to earn the royalties that come from years of business building; they trade their birthright to a share in a successful business for a short term boost to the bottom line. Some franchisors take all this money, go on a nice vacation, buy a new car, and don’t follow through with support. Not only is this not ethical, in my opinion, but it is extremely short sighted. Don’t fall into that trap, stay the course, support your franchisees, and make sure each and every golden goose is well fed and cared for.

2) Dictatorship. So, you’ve convinced a few people to buy your concept and on top of all that you have your 90 page franchise agreement signed, that some high priced lawyers put together for you. All the bases are covered- and the sweet talk stops, honeymoon is over and it’s down to business. Yikes. Nobody like being told what to do; if someone was smart enough to buy your franchise, they are probably smart enough to learn from your team, as well as your fellow franchisees. People like to be influenced, led, and shown your vision. Help them buy into not just your business model but, you and your team by demonstrating why your next big idea is one that they should adopt. I recently read a book called The Science of Influence; definitely one worth reviewing for those of you looking to see who prefer to use the carrot over the stick.

3) Partnership. I have often heard that a partnership is a sinking ship. In saying this, I will say that I have been fortunate to have some amazing partners, and that I have experienced the dark side of partnerships as well. When you consider growing your business, it is critical you get your business structure right, and if you have partners, roles and responsibilities are going to be critical to your success. Whether you form a partnership or not, there needs to be one President, CEO, Chief Pooh-Bah, or whatever title you make up. Every company needs a leader, so don’t make the mistake of approaching your business like a marriage, unless, you are into divorce.

There are plenty more things you could do to mess things up, but, I believe, if you watch for these land mines you are well on your way. Feel free to share your views on ones I missed.

Business Plan Components

Posted by admin under Business Plan

Whether you’re just starting out and want to monitor the health of your business, creating a business plan is your first step on the path to success. Once you determine a business plan is a necessary tool for your company, you may wonder, “Where do I start?” The structure and content of a business plan is to provide an understanding of how the parts of the plan fit together. Business planning is about results. You need to make the contents of your plan match your purpose. Don’t accept a standard outline just because it’s there.

A startup plan includes a description of your business, marketing, finances, and management. The following factors are discussed in detail that contribute to most business success and should guide your planning process:

  • Summary – The executive summary is the most important section of your business plan. It provides a concise overview of the entire plan along with a history of your company. This section tells your reader where your company is and where you want to take it.
  • Statement – The mission statement briefly explains the thrust of your business. It should be as direct and focused as possible, and it should leave the reader with a clear picture of what your business is all about.
  • Company Description – Inform the reader of the basic details of your business, such as ownership, products or services, and legal status.
  • Market Analysis – The market analysis section should illustrate your knowledge about the particular industry your business is in. It should also present general highlights and conclusions of any marketing research data you have collected; however, the specific details of your marketing research studies should be moved to the appendix section of your business plan.
  • Competition – It is better to know what you’re up against than to be surprised when you sales suddenly disappear to an unexpected competitor. A knowledgeable investor needs to know that you have fully examined the realities of your business.
  • Organization – a company’s organization and management style act as powerful invisible forces shaping both the daily working atmosphere and the future of the company.

In this competitive and constantly changing business environment, you have to know how to run a business, as well as knowing what business you’re really running. Too many people think strategic planning is something meant only for big businesses, but it is equally applicable to small businesses. Strategic planning is matching the strengths of your business to available opportunities. To do this effectively, you need to collect, screen, and analyze information about the business environment. You also need to have a clear understanding of your business – its strengths and weaknesses – and develop a clear mission, goals, and objectives. Acquiring this understanding often involves more work than expected.

Now that you have a mini understanding why you need a business plan, start gathering the information you need to create one, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get everything down on paper. Click here for research sources.

Sources:

  1. The Successful Business Plan: Secrets & Strategies by Rhonda Abrams
  2. Entrepreneur.com
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