Archive for category Franchising

Franchise Marketing 2

As a Franchisor, you have created a marketing plan of action and an aim. Let’s say you want to get your franchisees more corporate leads, by creating a targeted direct mail campaign to ensure clear penetration into a specific market. You call your friendly branding expert to get some ideas and explore some concepts.

You decide to send out a suitable small gift with a personalised note advising businesses of your new corporate level services.  The letter attached to it gives them a local contact and some information on the new services and why they should choose you, it includes a call to action “call now” for a free sample, analysis, quote etc.

You then advise the Franchisee they can call the prospect and you provide an easy script for them to follow. It’s simple and should provide some solid leads over time. It can also be followed up and the contact details added to the franchisees database to market to later on.

The challenges, as stated in the first article, clear communication to the franchisees needs to take place so they know what’s taking place and why. A great marketing plan can only be great if the people on the front line know what is happening and why.

You could create a short video which you email to them to outline the process, or a step by step text email.

You could follow these up with a phone call, or have a webinar to outline the process and let them know why you picked the gift you did and how you worked with your friendly branding expert in the process.

Getting the communication right at every stage of the process should cut down on the amount of hassles you experience internally as well as ensuring you are setting great plans in place to develop and implement the marketing campaign.

There are lots of ways to market a business and if your task is to organise it for someone else (in this case franchisees) then get the process right so you can expect the right message to be delivered to the right people, so solid results can be tracked. This will then give  you great evidence about what works and good directions to take in the future.

  • Get people on board – Communicate the aim clearly to them.
  • Make the process easy to implement – Show them how to implement it and measure the results.
  • Make the most of it – Show them ways to build the relationship beyond the initial campaign.

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Franchise Marketing

When it comes to marketing for your Franchisees you need to get a few things sorted, know your aim, create the message and figure out how you will deliver the marketing message and who it will be aimed at.

You might think this is fairly simple and standard, yet there seems to be a range of challenges people face with their franchisees and keeping them on board with the whole marketing “thing”. Some franchisees simply follow your lead, while others buck at every new thing which seems to be an expense rather than an investment.

What might seem a rather simple process can soon become a slinging match, especially if you have conflicting input into the process; or people in the organisation simply do not like or understand the intended concept, especially if it’s the Franchisees.

What’s important here is to make sure you market your marketing well, i.e. communicate clearly what it is, what its aim is and how it will be implemented. Then you have a greater chance to ensure you get stronger “buy in” from the team.

I have been part of a franchise organisation where the people creating the marketing had only a simple aim (to give the franchisees more prospects.) They failed to cater for the existing clients (encouraging them to buy more), nor did they have much idea of the target markets they were trying to reach or how to reach them.

The other challenge they failed dismally at was advising the Franchisees about ways to do their own Local Area Marketing with ease, so they could get stronger involvement from existing clients and build greater referrals.

Where to from here?

  • Make sure the marketing plans and outcomes are clear about what’s happening and why.
  • Use simple communication methods to let everyone know why the marketing is what it is and the aim of it. Then people will feel more at ease with the process and know what their investment will hopefully get them.

Far too often Franchisees can build resentment to things being thrust upon them, simply because they don’t know enough about the intended aims and processes involved.

In part two I will outline a way to implement this sort of strategy, so you can see the benefit of utilising your friendly branding expert to help take some pressure off for you.

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Making the Marketing Difference

You are up to your elbows in marketing challenges, pressures from all sides are making your job NOT what you want, a lot of hassle. How do you find time to get out of the pressure cooker and search for solutions to give you breathing space?

Image courtesy of Image Majestic http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

Image courtesy of Image Majestic http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

Chances are if you have the time to read this, that’s probably about as good as things will get! So let’s jump in and see if we can provide some fast answers to your marketing department challenges.

Marketing relief options…

  • Get support – There are a whole host of “marketing supply” organisations all wanting to take your cash and supply you with goodies, but use the ones who can take the pressure off. The good ones do this by doing at least SOME of the thinking and organizing for you as well as supplying great products, the great ones will show you how to use the products as well… Try calling your friendly branding expert and see if they can do it for  you.
  • 1 hassle or five+? – If you look after marketing for a single organisation there is probably less hassle, however if you are looking after multiple organisations (in the case of a franchise group), then you might have a whole range of conflicting forces pushing and pulling. Find ways to keep these forces off your back, perhaps by educating the end users on how to fully use the marketing devices provided to full effect.
  • Think, not do… – It’s easy to say it but sometimes hard to do it! Perhaps it’s outsourcing the “practical side of things” and even some of the thinking, so you can plan better what’s coming up next. A friendly Branding Expert should be able to assist you with this and not just be a provider of products.
  • Plan – Yes the thinking part means you can be more strategic in your approach so planning has to be next. Figure out if you have to get more new customers, keep existing ones interested or support an organisation you are sponsoring. Then build your calendar of marketing options from there.
  • Keep your people informed – if you are a one person marketing dept or a 100 strong team, your wider network of staff in the organisation will probably need to know about how to handle the promotions and various processes you will put in place so use your intranet, email and or training sessions, to give them information and get feedback on what’s taking place, often great ideas can come from some very unlikely sources.

Now you are back on track, see what’s out there to make your job easier and less hassle.

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Choosing the right franchise for you

Franchise opportunities abound, but choosing the right franchise requires careful thought and considered research.

Combing through franchise businesses for sale notices should be less daunting if you implement a well thought-out research strategy. Using online research, industry publications, news clippings and other methods is a great starting point.

When identifying franchise opportunities, consider what will complement your lifestyle, business goals and your skill set. Some aspects to consider are outlined below.

Brand strength? Behind every successful business is a strong brand, bolstered by an enviable reputation. Read widely about how the franchise brand is perceived by the industry, customers and business partners. Part of what you’re buying is the company’s brand equity. What do you estimate the brand’s equity to be?

Finding out about financial health How open and transparent is the organisation about its financial health? A company’s balance sheet can provide valuable insights about how well placed the franchise business is to harness future growth.

Expenses today and in the future Before you buy a franchise, you’ll need to know what set-up costs are involved. There could also be ongoing costs, such as marketing or advertising levies.

Strategic marketing, PR and advertising expertise? Dig deeper into the company’s marketing strategy. What level of investment and support is offered nationally and locally? What marketing and branding expertise does the company offer? How well resourced is the organisation to fund public relations programs?

Systems for success? Systems are essential ingredients in any successful franchise network. How efficient are the franchise’s systems and processes – do they help or hinder your ability to operate the business?

Investigate the level of support on the ground Do they have a dedicated operational and field support team to assist you? Investigate the ratio of franchisees to field support infrastructure.

Consider the commercial environment Determine the competitive dynamics that are likely to impact the brand. Do they have a well-defined understanding of their competitors, future opportunities, trends and issues?

Create a shortlist of franchise business opportunities? Once you’ve created your wish list, shortlist your most suitable franchise opportunities. Map out what works for you and what doesn’t, including the business must-haves e.g. IT and marketing support, costs (one-off and ongoing) and other forms of critical infrastructure.

Talk to franchise owners at the coalface Franchise owners are valuable resources. They can often provide you with the ‘inside story’ about a potential franchise business opportunity.

 

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Who’s responsible?

In the “topsy turvy” world of franchise contracts, agreements etc, (which many franchisees have little understanding of) it’s painfully obvious that many of these documents ask the franchisee to jump through hoops, but how about working things the other way?

Over time the franchisor will build a “watertight contract” and expect the franchisee to know a lot of things about business and how to get results, but if the result in the business for the franchisee is less than spectacular, where is the “Duty Of Care” by the franchisor in all of this. It’s far too easy for them to throw their hands in the air and say things like “You knew what you were getting into” or “You had the disclosure documents…” “You had the info” and a whole list of other statements/excuses.

When a franchisee is experiencing challenges (not enough customers, not enough turnover, not enough full stop!) then the franchisor says “Well ask us for help” So some do, they drop their pride and call for help. Often the answers given relate to “Put more into your local area marketing” Hello! if I am down the “tubes” and have less cash, how can I put in to make things “better”.

I figure the franchisor should establish a “Duty Of Care” policy and or procedure for the good of the franchise, and the good of the franchise industry. In fact the duty of care policy should state. (For example) That a franchisee must keep a reserve float of emergency cash (in a bank account) that ensures they are able to pull out some extra to make things go “voom”, and over time add to that so it grows to cope with inflation etc.

I also figure they should be held accountable for the marketing… If they put an advert in a publication, was it designed by a marketing expert or the copy room at the local paper…? Then making sure the results are clearly and effectively measured so you can know how well the marketing $$ are spent and you are definitely getting a respectable return on the investment.

If the franchisor is working at building a robust organisation that can provide an effective system for the franchisee, then they need to make sure the people investing in the business are developing their business and financial accumen as well. Okay some have an annual conference, the people go and have a great time, but how many put the information into action? Is their “area supervisor” following up on that? Are their business plans reflecting that development? In many cases no.

Watch out for more “Duty of Care” observations, as they arise and franchisees become savvy to the idea and franchisors get caught out.

So far it’s a one way street with the contracts, but a savvy organisation will ensure they provide avenues to ensure a franchisees ongoing success and what a selling point that will be.

How to train to Win/Win

From an original article on various business success pointers, here are the individual “how to” possible options for you to explore.

Training to win/win
You and your staff should be trained to make the whole show win, then the customers can win too. A great position to get to and stay in.  For some the idea of training staff means showing them the bare basics of their job, but go a bit deeper and encourage thinking around the idea of Win/Win, when they get the idea the concept will probably become infectious.

  • Find out more about win/win and how you might create some examples you can discuss with your team.
  • Look for examples of win/win already at play in your business.
  • Use the concept to develop a team get together every so often to ask about and pass on ideas in business development.

Getting all this together is a great way to cause the team to work effectively together and can build the business to a strong position where people feel valued. This will then pass on to the customers and cause them to feel valued as well, in the end that’s what we all want.

How to create a business with great values

From an original article on various business success pointers, here are the individual “how to” possible options for you to explore.

Upholding great values
People love it when you are on a positive footing and in the values area it’s a great place to start (integrity – honesty, truthfulness etc.).

Start the business with a strong stance on the rights and wrongs, if you get caught by a staff member or a customer ripping people off, word will spread fast, not a good thing to have happen. Make your act squeaky clean and others will follow.

Make a list of the sorts of values you want the business to uphold, google them on your computer and find out more about what other businesses have as values, then find ways to integrate them into what you do, yes even if you have a one person business.

You may find you already have these values, they are automatic and things that inherently are of interest to you. But there may be areas you want to tweak so you can be better at those ones as well.

Over time the staff and customers will be certain to know your business has high integrity, honesty etc.. In a highly competitive market place these things can set you apart.

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