Archive for the ‘Franchisee Resources’ Category

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Standards set the bar for achievement, and in business, that bar raises and shifts position. No wonder professionals often burnout — they’re competing in a rat race, never making it out of the maze. Work culture must move from a focus on performance to a focus on learning.

The prioritization of performance over learning persists in education, where the root of the issue lies. Many studies have shown test results are not accurate indicators of student potential, talent and knowledge. Still, the goal remains to get the A and move on to the next score goal, rather than truly learning the material — as if they’re given the time to do so in the first place. When students graduate, this damaging mindset often persists in work culture.

There’s nothing wrong with challenging yourself, but without learning, you continue to fight the same fight. You lose in the end when you burn out and limit your potential as a professional. Prioritize education to achieve improved, sustainable performance over the long-term with these four tips.

  1. Ask for Feedback

Like tests, annual performance reviews rarely get into the nitty-gritty of generating improvement. This once-a-year picture usually fails the employer and employee. Feedback notes feel like a chore for both parties and don’t encourage growth or nurture development of talents.

Feedback must function collaboratively — employees want and deserve better feedback. Of all generations, millennial workers most desire regular feedback, but every worker should frequently seek it out.

CEOs should also seek feedback from their employees. More constructive, transparent and positive feedback opens the door to improved trust, communication and performance. View feedback as a learning opportunity on the road to improved performance.

  1. Focus on Learning Outcomes

Reviews measure how someone performs at a specific time, offering only a snapshot of an employee’s work while a focus on learning stretches the view longitudinally. Regular reviews help track the results of knowledge and provide a more holistic vantage point of learning through time. The focus on both performance and learning outcomes adds value to employee contribution and growth, but a broader lens is needed to nurture success and growth.

Develop a customized feedback process with your supervisor and plan timeframes during which you’ll regularly ask for feedback. Communicate your learning objectives to measure your performance more holistically and get a better view of how on-track you are to achieving your learning outcomes. You’ll feel less stressed and more focused on your professional development.

  1. Participate in Mentoring

Open up mentoring opportunities for yourself to gain knowledge and give back to those rising in the ranks. Do you admire a specific professional or entrepreneur? Arrange a time for a coffee meetup — your treat — to discuss the possibility of a mentorship.

Come to the table with your learning objectives and possible outcomes in mind. Don’t worry if what you have outlined feels abstract — this is part of the learning process. You’re gathering information and developing a pathway to learn and grow professionally.

Senior-level employees who give back usually feel good about passing on their knowledge but could stand to learn more about how they work through the process of exchange. Of Fortune 500 companies, 71 percent offer mentoring programs for employees because they realize the proven link between learning and performance.

Does the company offer mentoring programs? Why not be the first to pitch this as an idea and help set it up? Cultivate something bigger than one employee — an opportunity that benefits you in the long run, too.

  1. Pursue Enrichment Opportunities

Achieving the work-life balance feels like trying to clone a dinosaur — nearly impossible. You must make the time. Build a full life in your personal and professional worlds by pursuing enrichment opportunities.

Enrichment opportunities is a broad term, but one that encompasses endless potential. What opportunities for learning exist on the job and in your personal life? Take advantage of exercise programs, employer tuition reimbursement and stipends for night or online classes. Attend that life drawing or marketing class you always wanted to schedule.

What opportunities might you cultivate by talking to the right people and pitching the right ideas? Speak up.

Research reveals that satisfaction among employees relies on having a fulfilling experience on the job. One study found employers who deepened worker knowledge through enrichment opportunities possessed higher motivated teams and company loyalty. The workers were also more productive and happier due to benefits and programs that promoted recognition, achievement, advancement and responsibility.

It’s possible to achieve the right balance of completing duties and pursuing growth through learning. Open up the lines of communication toward a culture of knowledge and enrichment, and productivity and performance will follow. Honor quality over quantity.

Don’t let your focus on performance hold you back from the wealth of the learning experience. By redirecting your attention to creating learning objectives and outcomes, you can broaden your horizons and improve your performance over time.

This article originally appeared in Personal Branding Blog.

 

This article was written by Personal Branding Blog from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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Nothing kills a vacation faster than obsessing about the work you left behind. Next time you’re OOO, try these real-world hacks for leaving the office at the office.

I used to be distracted with work for the first few days of every vacation because I don’t turn it off and on easily. Now I know that I have to have a system in place to release work thoughts. When I’m with my family, we bookend the trip with some kind of relaxing activity. We might sleep in on the first and last days, at a minimum. We don’t schedule anything. That helps me put away the work thoughts and transition into relaxing. Being intentional about the transition is so important to me. — Jennifer Kem, 44, CEO of Branding Agency Kemcomm in Honolulu

One goal I have when I vacation is to stop multitasking and just focus on a single thing at a time. I use the vacation to experiment with letting go of the world I’ve created for myself and escaping my routine. I also like to think about what I want to get out of the time. Ask yourself, “What kind of vacation is this? Is this one for the kids? Is it a retreat for me? Is it for R & R, to get away?” Knowing the answer creates a purpose for my vacation. — Marsha Nunley, 68, Physician Specializing in Bioidentical Hormones and Healthy Aging in San Francisco and Austin, Texas

Before I go on vacation, I write out what my intentions are for the trip. I might write down, “I desire this to be a really rejuvenating time” or “I hope to have ease during my check-in and flight.” I meditate on those intentions and put them on an altar in my house, which I use as a place for all the things I want to come to fruition. I also take crystals and stones with me on vacation: rose quartz for love, citrine for happy energy, and carnelian because it’s grounding. Anytime little things happen on vacation that might agitate me, I take out my crystals and hold them to help me stay in my restful state. — Jo-ná Williams, 37, Intellectual Property and Business Attorney in New York City

Last year my wife and I went on a trip to Costa Rica. We bought plane tickets six months in advance and took Spanish classes at a local college to prepare. Since we’d been looking forward to the trip for so long, it was easier to not let myself work while we were away. I didn’t want to spoil all the anticipation we’d had by working. Planning everything so far in advance also helped us make the best use of our time and really made the trip feel special. My first day back at work, I set aside some time to catch up on everything. — Jon Busdeker, 35, Freelance Videographer and Nonprofit Group Leader in Orlando, Florida

We schedule our work and phone time so our family time doesn’t revolve around it on vacation. I make sure I schedule about an hour of phone and computer time each day and like to do it first thing so it’s out of the way. I feel better knowing the sky isn’t falling back at work. We also have a family agreement that when we sit down for a meal, there is a no-phone rule. My children fought this rule for a while, but now they put their stuff away and we just enjoy our time together. It’s such a stress reliever. — Sunny Hostin, 49, Cohost of the View and Senior Legal Correspondent for ABC News in New York City

 

This article was written by Jane Porter from Real Simple and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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Whether you’re just starting out or thinking of ways to further your ability to succeed with your business, you will certainly benefit from getting into an informed position and learning as much as you can about boosting your business. It means that, with any luck, you can increase your sales and revenue. Boosting your business performance will take time, resources and effort but it’s well worth the investment. It is far easier than you might at first expect, all you need is the know-how to do so and the desire to achieve. If your business performance often slips and slides, then you need to be focused on trying to find a strategy that reliably works for you and keep your business consistently achieving and growing towards further expansion.

  1. Review Business Processes

Business processes are structured activities that help the everyday running of your business, and they’re hugely important. These can include maintaining customer relationships, weekly emails of company updates, checking stock reserves and using a warehouse inventory system to help you know exactly what stock you have and where they’re going. If your business includes a warehouse, then it needs to run like clockwork, and you cannot afford for mismanagement where product and delivery is concerned. Business processes are subject to aging, and it’s important to remember that they will not stay new forever. They need regular review to see if, and where, they could benefit from a change.

  1. Use Best Companies

In order to earn your place among the best, you must work and interact with the best. If you want to boost your business, then you need to make sure you’re working with other companies that are reliable and have a good reputation. You should be able to benefit each other mutually by doing business together, so wherever you can, try and purchase and connect with the local businesses. When it comes to deliveries, make sure that you do business with those that can promise a high standard and that your goods can be with you in time. Do some research and find out which companies have a great reputation for service and excellence. You cannot afford to waste your time on companies that cannot promise brilliance.

  1. Have a Great Work Environment

Your environment needs to be conducive to work for both yourself and your team. A happy and contented team is a productive team, so to boost your business, you’ll need to pay attention to the conditions of where your employees work and spend their time. You need to be providing a bright, clean and clear space where they can work calmly. Surfaces need to be clear from clutter, and efficient and timesaving technology should be installed. If your business processes cannot be carried out at speed, then you’re losing time and therefore money and resources. The office space is far more important than you might have realized, so pay attention to it. If you’re unsure about how to go about brightening up the work premises, conduct some further research or (better yet) interview your staff and ask for their opinions and suggestions.

  1. Maintain Customer Relationships

Booting your business involves increasing how many clients and customers you work with, that’s clear. However what is not so clear, is that you need to maintain the customer relationships you have already been able to form. Customers like to know they’re appreciated and valued, so don’t shirk on your responsibility of letting them know how important and fundamental their custom is to the success of your business. Consider getting customers on an emailing list and updating them of company news such as new and improved products, an increase in company revenue, and other anecdotal pieces of information that let your customers know you’re thinking of them. Strike up a meaningful relationship with customers and ask for their advice on matters too. Find out exactly what the customer wants and work out how you intend on bringing it to them.

  1. Utilize the Power of Social Media

Social media can be the difference between failure and success, so make sure you are harnessing the full force of its power to boost your business. Social media is used by millions of people worldwide, so it’s important that you’re active on it. If you’re going to ramp up your business and sales prospects, then you must rival the competition. Let’s face it, there’s going to be many other companies just like yours that sell similar products and services so you must make yours stand out from the crowd, and the internet is a great place to get started. Make sure your product stands out by using marketing skills such as SEO copywriting, using attractive graphics and video, and adding share buttons to allow your content to be more widely distributed.

  1. Boost Management Skills

As the manager, you’re largely responsible for how the company performs, so working on your ability to lead a team to success is going to boost business performance. Learning how to manage a team expertly comes with time and experience, however, if you don’t have this time to spare, then you should consider attending lessons, workshop, and programs to help you go from strength to strength. Managerial skills have a significant impact on how well a business runs, and you must be up to date with technological advancements and knowledge of how to improve staff morale for example, as well as how to deal with conflict, lateness and maintaining customer relationships. Always be interacting with impartial business professionals and ask for tips and tricks and pose questions.

  1. Be on Hand to Answer Queries

Make sure you’re not a distant manager who fails to interact with staff. Your team will look to you for guidance, advice, and inspiration so make sure you’re in the best position to inspire and impact the wisdom you have down to others. Think about holding an office hour once or twice to a week to discuss matters and points of interest with colleagues and your team. Always be seen to be helpful and to genuinely care about the welfare of both the company and also your workforce.

 


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5 Keys to Successful Email Marketing

Wednesday, March 14th, 2018

successful email marketing

Successful email marketing is a critical, and often overlooked, element of digital marketing.

According to an article on Inc:

But after a couple decades of Nigerian prince schemes, Spanish lotto scams, and mountains of unsolicited spam (which is never a good marketing tactic), how do people feel about email now? Is it still a worthwhile tactic for small-business owners and marketers to pursue?

The simple answer is yes.

Take a look at the graphic below and you’ll see how important successful email marketing is to your bottom line–generating nearly 2X the ROI of the next more cost-effective tactic.

successful email marketing

Image courtesy of Data Mentors

Successful email marketing

Successful email marketing requires 2 tactics: 1) list building and 2) email campaigns.

So, you’ve really got your work cut out for you. Here are some tips to get you started:

List building

Before you can have a successful email marketing campaign, you need a good list. In the bad old days before CAN-SPAM, you could simply buy a list and spam a bunch of folks with your message. Some experts advised against such “cold messaging”, but it worked well if you were very selective in purchasing a list of likely buyers. List buying was an art in those days and I got paid a lot of money to guide businesses on which list purchases were likely to result in high returns. And, selling lists is what kept a lot of small, specialty magazines in business–they provided unique access to highly targeted subscribers.

Now, of course, you can’t buy lists, so you have to develop your own (and comply with CAN-SPAM regulations which you can find by following the link above). Since, the law makes your email client (for instance, Constant Contact, AWeber, or MailChimp) responsible for your violations, they can get hit with a big fine, so they’re invested in keeping you honest in this.

So how do you go about building a list?

  1. Include your sign-up form everywhere-on the home page and each page of your website, in your store (if you’re a brick and mortar), at events, on social platforms …
  2. Offer something (like an ebook, coupon, etc) in exchange for signing up for your email list
  3. Don’t ask for information you don’t need so it’s fast and easy for visitors to sign up. Maybe all you need is an email address and name. Don’t forget you can get additional information after they sign up.
  4. Make your sign-up form obvious without interfering with user experience (I hate those popups that block content until you either sign up or x out). I prefer a small band at the bottom of the screen that asks for an email address or something that pops up as the visitor starts to scroll away from your site. Remember, your website is critical for SEO and you don’t want to mess with anything that reduces visits, bounces, or time on site.
  5. When you send an email, include social sharing and the ability to subscribers to forward your email to a friend. These are great ways to build your list.

Email marketing campaigns

Your email client should make it easy to create attractive and professional email campaigns to subscribers. I use AWeber because of their flexibility and ease of creating campaigns (they recently added drag and drop capabilities).

Here are some things to keep in mind as you craft your campaigns:

  • Your goal. What do you hope to accomplish with the email.
  • Timing — how often, time of day, day of week, etc. Sure, email is available whenever a user wants to view it, but it’s more likely to get opened soon after it’s sent. The better your timing, the better your open rate.
  • Optimize open rates with a great pre-header, the description users see when they check their email. Check out the image below:

successful email marketing

  • Make your email easy to read and inviting on multiple screens (especially mobile) with great design.

Keys to successful email marketing campaigns

1. Strong content

Just like everything in marketing, the message is everything.

  • Make your content (both text and images) attractive and inviting, use lots of white space and a little humor doesn’t hurt. The more an email looks like a personal conversation with a friend, the better it will perform.
  • Personalization doesn’t end with including the person’s name. Make the email look like it was designed especially for each reader.
  • Don’t waste your readers’ time with nonsense: say what you need and provide links to more information.

2. Timing

You don’t want to overload your readers by sending too many emails, but you want to use your email marketing to build loyalty and engagement with your target audience. That’s a tight balancing act.

And, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. A good gauge of the right frequency comes from analytics. If your open rates drop or you start getting complaints or a bunch of folks unsubscribe, you’re probably emailing too often. If you’re not getting folks unsubscribing or complaining, you could probably send more frequent emails.

The key is to send emails when you have something worth saying to your audience.

3. Use marketing automation

Marketing automation often receives a negative knee-jerk reaction because it sounds like you’re treating your subscribers as robots who all get treated the same. But, it’s actually the opposite. Whether you prefer Salesforce or Hubspot or some other marketing automation tool, successful email marketing requires you send the right content to the right people at the right time and that means using marketing automation.

No marketing automation platform works well unless you spend time keeping information up-to-date to ensure the content the subscriber receives is targeted to their product interests, stage in the customer journey, and other key elements, like gender.

4. Use analytics

The wonders of digital marketing provide a plethora of metrics which should guide every marketing decision you make. Here are some metrics you should watch:

  • Subscriber data such as new subscribers and unsubscribes
  • Performance of your email form–I do this by setting up goals in Google Analytics, but AWeber also shows me how many times my form was shown and how many subscribers were generated. I periodically do A/B testing to determine the optimal form, placement, etc.
  • Campaign performance–how many opens, how many clicks, and, if you’ve installed tracking codes, goal completions based on each campaign.

5. Mobile-friendly

Making your content mobile-friendly is a key to successful email marketing. According to Buffer, 47% of emails are opened on a mobile device. Here’s their advice for making your content easier for mobile users:

  • Convert your email to a one column template for an easy mobile fix.
  • Bump up the font size for improved readability on smart phones.
  • Follow the iOS guideline of buttons at least 44 pixels wide by 44 pixels tall.
  • Make the call-to-action obvious and easy to tap. Above the fold is preferable.
  • Consider ergonomics. Many users tap and scroll with their thumb, so keep important tappable elements in the middle of the screen.

The do’s and don’ts of successful email marketing

Here’s a nice infographic if you want more keys to successful email marketing:

successful email marketing

Infographic courtesy of: Campaign Monitor

This article originally appeared in Hausman Marketing Letter.

This article was written by Angela Hausman and PhD from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Ten Steps to Starting a Franchise

Thursday, August 24th, 2017
  1. Read through the franchisor’s franchise disclosure document (FDD). The franchisor is required by law to supply this document to prospective franchisees. The FDD provides information about the franchise system, such has its history and corporate structure, as well as the information about the franchise relationship, such as fees, financing, obligations, intellectual property and financial performance. Be sure to study the FDD before making any decisions. Pay particular attention to the FDD’s Item 19, which details the franchise’s earnings data. A franchise that values transparency will include the grosses, expenses and EBITDAs of all its franchises for the previous year. In other words, it should provide information so you can make the most informed decision.
  2. Do your due diligence. Talk to other franchisees who have been in business a while. Ask them what they think of the business. What are the challenges? What are the rewards? What made them decide to open a franchise? Is the franchisor easy to work with? While this is obviously a great way to get information, it may also help to form working relationships with other franchisees if you decide to open a franchise.
  3. Experience a franchise in action. Visit a franchise during business hours, see how it works, see what the franchisee and the employees have to do on a day-to-day basis. This should give you a better idea of what being a franchisee is like. Also be sure to talk to customers. Are they happy with the service the franchise provides? Would they recommend it to others? Getting a feel for the customer base is just as important as seeing what a franchise does every day.
  4. Find a franchise that offers excellent support. The great thing about buying a franchise is that you go into business for yourself, not by yourself. But this concept only works when the franchisor offers the best support in all aspects of business operations, including, but not limited to, marketing, advertising, IT, finance, training and real estate. Visiting the corporate headquarters is highly recommended.
  5. Visit the corporate headquarters. Some franchisors host a “meet our team” day that allows prospective franchisees to tour the corporate office as well as meet the people who will be supporting their business needs. This is an excellent way to get a first-hand look at how the franchisor operates.
  6. Review the terms of your franchise agreement. If you decide to pursue a franchise, the franchisor will give you its franchise agreement, which lists your obligations and theirs. It is a good idea to hire a lawyer with franchise experience to review the agreement to make sure it meets your expectations.
  7. Obtain financing. When you sign the franchise agreement, you will need to pay the franchisor. These initial costs, which vary from business to business, can amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Many entrepreneurs need to secure a loan, such as a Small Business Administration loan or a bank loan, to pay those fees. A franchisor that offers excellent support will often have a franchise finance team that can help you navigate the loan process.
  8. Locate a suitable site for your business. Many franchises have specific site requirements that your business will need to meet. These may include things such as square footage, a minimum lot size and a minimum number of parking spaces. A high-quality franchise will staff real estate experts who will help you with the process of finding a suitable site.
  9. Receive training. You will need to complete a series of training courses, either at the franchise’s corporate headquarters and/or online, that will teach you what you need to know to operate a franchise.
  10. Prepare to open your business. If you have never opened a business before, which includes many different things that need to be done, this process can seem daunting. A franchise with best-in-class support will provide assistance with this process, usually in the form of an openings team who will work with you to ensure your business is ready to open.

Goddard Systems’ VP of Marketing, Paul Koulogeorge shares three key insights along with actions to help business owners market to the Millennial generation.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE>>

The Goddard School, with 460 locations and counting, has been listed as one of twenty emerging brands exhibiting at the 2017 International Franchising Expo.

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Jim DiRugeris, Vice President of Franchise Development at Goddard Systems, explains how he evaluates and applies customer data during the franchisee recruitment and development process.

READ THE FULL STORY HERE >

  How Goddard Systems Is Using Data To Improve Franchise Development

Jim DiRugeris, vice president of Franchise Development for The Goddard School Franchise, provides insight on how to responsibly navigate a growing franchise.

READ THE FULL STORY HERE >

 

Small Business Financing Made Easy

Tuesday, November 17th, 2015

Accessing capital for a new business can be an unfamiliar territory in the start-up process, so it’s not surprising when new franchisees have questions. Outside of securing home mortgages, many people have not had experience with commercial lending, much less government-backed loans from the Small Business Administration (SBA). This is one reason having the support of an experienced franchisor like The Goddard School Franchise can help make obtaining financing easier than navigating the finance process alone.

The Right Support

Without the right support, knowledge and guidance, the commercial lending process can be tedious. The Goddard School Franchise conducts an internal financial pre-approval screening so prospective franchisees are not awarded a license unless we feel confident that they will be financed. After an approved prospect enters into an agreement with The Goddard School Franchise, they work with the Real Estate Department to decide whether to lease or purchase a building. A member of the Franchise Finance team is available to review the finance options for both. After the site is secured, our team guides the franchisee through every step of the finance process. We explain commercial lending practices, offer resources and contacts, answer questions, provide insight and feedback and serve as a liaison between our franchisee and the lenders.

The Goddard School Franchise’s Franchise Finance Department addresses questions, provides guidance and communicates directly with the lenders to help avoid surprises along the way. We want our franchisees to have the same confidence in their loan as they do in The Goddard School brand.

Our Franchise Finance team creates an allocation of funds for each project; provides necessary templates, such as business plans and projections; directs franchisees to financing sources; reviews loan proposals and commitment letters to ensure the loan is structured properly, covers all project costs and offers competitive terms; and assists with the loan closing. This support can definitely help the finance process go more smoothly.

The Right Resources

Due to the record demand for childcare and The Goddard School Franchise’s success, reputation and unrivaled support, The Goddard School system is an approved franchise concept for many national and local lenders. We also meet the criteria for SBA eligibility, and our Franchise Finance team has great relationships with many national SBA lenders. We have one main contact with each lender who is already familiar with our model and lending needs.  Most of these lenders are part of the SBA’s Preferred Lender Program, which allows them to approve SBA loans in-house. These valuable relationships result in competitive terms and a streamlined process for our franchisees.

The Goddard School Franchise makes the financing process easy for our franchisees by providing great resources, a strong business model, superior support and knowledgeable employees. We pride ourselves on finding the right lender and terms for each franchisee, and we look forward to working with prospects who are considering joining The Goddard School family!