10 Tips For Starting Your Own Home Business

Are you sick of the daily grind? Worn out from the boss asking when your next presentation will be ready, or tired of making the same old sales pitch? Sometimes, the commute alone can make you want to hang it up and never head back into the office. Unfortunately, dropping out of the workforce altogether isn’t practical. And frankly, ask anyone who has fallen victim to tough economic times and lost their job, and they will tell you that being unemployed can leave you with a very unsettling feeling that you have suddenly lost your life’s purpose.

So, what’s a person to do? Have you ever considered making the transition to starting a home-based business and being your own boss? If so, here are ten things you should consider before handing in that letter of resignation.

1. Research

There are some great resources to help in your search for a home-based opportunity. Turn to reliable organizations like the International Franchise Association, the Canadian Franchise Association or publications like Entrepreneur magazine. They will not only educate you about the concept of franchising, they will be an unbiased way to learn about which companies you may want to investigate further.

2. To franchise or not to franchise

Buying a franchise is not like starting an independent business. With a franchise, you’re buying a support system and the rights to operate a business that has been designed by someone else. Someone who has developed an expertise in the business and who has, most likely, tackled and solved the problems that people generally encounter in the industry you are thinking of entering. You’re buying the security of a track record, a brand, and operating, reporting and management systems. With a franchise, you’re purchasing a head start in the industry and a foothold from which to begin your climb.

Franchising is growing at nearly 6% per year. Currently, there are over 1.5 million franchised outlets, accounting for approximately one-third of all U.S. retail sales. Statistics show that 80% of franchise owners succeed in their businesses. Compare that to the 60%-80% failure rate of new businesses overall each year in the U.S.

It’s important not to be misled, though. Even though a franchise can give you some advantages over starting a business yourself, it’s not going to guarantee you success. Each and every individual business – franchise or not – has one major difference: YOU. And with the statistics in your favor, franchising can be the method of owning a business that can allow you to succeed.

3. Talk with other franchisees

Any competent franchiser will happily provide you with a list of current franchisees for you to ask questions and learn more about the business. If they don’t, then run the other way! It’s that simple.

4. Do something you enjoy

What do you like to do? Garden? Travel? Fix things? Make sure whatever opportunity you research aligns with your passion. You might be surprised at the number of business opportunities that are really out there.

5. Ask how much training you’ll get

If franchising, your relationship with your new company should begin with some sort of training program. For example, a cruise travel franchise company offers a mandatory one-week training for its new home-based professionals. The training is conducted classroom style with other new franchisees. They learn about the cruise industry, with a primer course on major cruise lines and popular destinations, and then learn about the company’s various programs, including marketing support, technology, business development strategies and more. Franchisees are also invited to a week-long seminar on prospecting, marketing and selling cruises to large groups of people. During this advanced training session, franchisees develop their marketing plan and dive into the details of how to make their business successful. Thereafter, the franchise headquarters team works year-round to host seminars, conduct net-conferencing training, plan national meetings, and fulfill as many of the franchisees’ training needs as possible.

6. Know how much time you want to spend on it.

There are franchises available that allow you to work less than a 40-hour week. It just depends how much money you want to make. That is part of the beauty of working from home. If your personal life forces you to spend a little less time on it one week, you can always make up for it the next, but you won’t have your boss watching your time card! You may need a transition period, where you work on your new business on evening and weekends, and then eventually you can transition away from your old “day job.”

7. Consider the costs

There is a very simple way to find out how much your new business will cost, especially if it is a franchise. You can request a Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD), which franchisers are required to make public. They list all costs associated with the business, including the initial fee, monthly fees (if applicable), renewal fees and even other miscellaneous fees that might come up from time to time.

8. Go with a reliable company

The promise of an instant six-figure salary is attractive, but just remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. There are many ways to judge a franchiser’s reliability: how long it has been in the business, how many franchisees it has, how successful their franchisees are, how happy their franchisees are, and more. That’s why it’s more important than ever to have those informational interviews with current franchisees. Also, what are the companies that the franchiser associates with? Do they work with reliable vendors, and so on?

9. Determine the opportunities for growth

Unfortunately, there is no real way to predict how much money you will make. But a good franchiser will provide a host of programs to increase the effectiveness of your business. Their corporate staff should be available to review your complete operations and provide programs designed to increase profits. You can also look at the industry as a whole and determine whether businesses related to that industry seem to be doing well or on the decline.

10. What is your real goal in working for yourself?

Do you want to make more money, have more fun, spend time on the road, never have to leave the house, create a business you can sell to someone else, the list goes on and on. Make a list of what your real goals and desires are. You may find that the list changes as you investigate the many opportunities out there.

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Tips for School Franchisee

Franchising is a process that provides an individual with the opportunity to run a unit of a recognized brand under its guidance and support. Various successful brands from numerous sectors (service based and product based) have franchised their businesses in lieu of the franchise royalty and franchise fee. Franchising has turned an ordinary individual to a great business entrepreneur. India has become the hub of opportunities. School franchising is one of the safest ways to start and run a successful business. Franchising is simple to understand and does not involve much difficulty but one needs to be knowledgeable and well versed with the process to make this decision of buying a franchise a big success.

Buying a franchise can be a life-changing experience. These tips will be very beneficial and helpful to the individuals who are planning to purchase a school franchise but are not able to decide how.

Pre-Franchise Purchasing: Buying a school franchise is not a simple decision as it involves investment. Before purchasing a franchise or entering into the contract of buying a franchise, you should take assistance of the franchise consultants. These franchise consultants provides expert advice that helps you to get knowledge of the best franchise opportunities keeping in mind your interest, investment and financial goals etc. Besides this, the financial consultant will help you develop particular conditions that can be used to find out various franchise opportunities or the renowned brands in the education sector.

Market Analysis: This factor is an essential and a must task that precedes the process of purchasing. Examination and analysis of the market trends helps finding out the performance of the particular brand in the education sector. It is advised to have a good knowledge about the functioning, goodwill and performance of the brand. Before actually entering into contract, you should make comparisons between different brands of the education industry.

Financial Availability: Generally, school franchise does not require much finance as the investment level is less than other franchise opportunities. But availability of finance is an important element that should be kept in mind before signing or buying it. Cash is King and without enough capital, one cannot survive in the business world. Therefore, before actually purchasing your own franchise, make sure that there’s sufficient availability of the funds required for the operations, infrastructure, royalty fees etc. You can also take help of the financial institutions and banks that provide loan facilities.

Purchasing Franchise: The franchise agreement is a crucial thing at the time of purchasing the franchise. You should not sign any agreement, or pay any royalty fees, until you have full knowledge about the legal aspects.

Purchase Team: The purchase team consists of the key members required while making the agreement a success. This team must have a legal advisor, an accountant, and a manager or a consultant to provide the professional advice in the respective fields.

Management of Franchise: Before buying or purchasing a franchise, it is important for the franchisee to establish a competent and experienced management team. This team is responsible for the smooth functioning of the business involving vital business tasks and processes. An appropriate management team will be of great help.

Exit Strategy: The franchisee should be aware of and must have full information about complete procedure from buying a school franchise till its closure (if it does not generate adequate profits or lack the appropriate number of student’s strength).

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Franchisor Consultants Give 5 Tips For Improving Relationships With Franchisees

If you are the VP of Marketing, the Director of Marketing, or the marketing manager for a large franchise organization, let me just say that I know your pain. From my experience working with franchisor organizations, the biggest potential source of pain for internal marketing gurus like you also happens to be potentially our biggest leverage point for improving sales: the relationships you have with your franchisees.

The value of strong franchisor-franchisee relationships cannot be overemphasized. This is because the franchisees collectively hold in their hands a great portion of the responsibility for the success of the organization. In short, it is important to the health of the organization that they are well-supported!

Improving the relationship between franchisor marketing staff and the franchisees whom they support is not just a matter of having good people skills (although that doesn’t hurt!). At its essence, it boils down to an issue of how smooth and efficient are the information and approval flows between you. The bottom line: your marketing staff holds not only information that the franchisee needs, but also the ability to say “go” on key initiatives and requests from the franchisees. And, I have found that there are certain tasks that are actually better to hand off to the decision-making authority of the franchisees (if done properly), resulting in less aggravation and better revenues for all involved.

Drawing upon the collective wisdom I have garnered from working directly with multiple franchisor consultants and heads of marketing at franchisor companies, here I offer you 5 tips for improving your relationships with your franchisees:

Tip #1: Standardize your message formatting, style and frequency: Overwhelmed by e-mails and phone calls from frenzied franchisees? It may be time to streamline your communications with them. Here’s how to get started: first, categorize the top 5-10 reasons franchisees regularly contact your team. Next, determine which of these could be reduced or avoided completely if you were to improve how you communicate with them. The more consistent you are with your message format (e.g., e-mails, letters), message style (i.e., the writing quality and style with which you present the information), and frequency (i.e., when and how often you send out certain types of messages), the more clear the information will become to franchisees – and the less often they will be contacting you with follow-up questions.

Tip #2: Use the KISS principle when creating and rolling out new marketing programs: The KISS principle (Keep it Simple, Stupid) is a wonderful guideline for getting anything done, especially when it requires getting others motivated and on board! When rolling out new programs, make the rules, processes and procedures exceedingly clear. Minimize potentially confusing elements like unnecessarily complicated procedures, and write everything down in terms of what the franchisee should do (and by when). Charts and diagrams can also be a huge help! Your goal should be that 95% of franchisees will receive your communications and be fully-informed without needing to contact you again with questions.

Tip #3: Pre-approve all promotional materials for no-hassle administration and better brand control: One of the biggest headaches that franchisor marketing managers grapple with is having to constantly approve a huge range of different promotional materials from different franchisees. Varying font sizes, different shades of red (or green or blue!), disparate offers and even different types of messaging. Approving and/or requesting changes to all of these materials, even if you have a solid style guide in effect, can be maddening and time-consuming for all involved. Instead, create a set of pre-approved materials (postcards, brochures, mailers, in-store displays, banners) and make them available for franchisees to order. If you do, you will eliminate completely the need to field even one more call or e-mail about approving new materials from overly “creative” franchisees.

Tip #4: Unify all branding and direct mail efforts by using a single ordering system: Direct mail is one of the most powerful tools that franchisees have to promote their businesses. When executed correctly, direct mail is sent only to those prospects most likely to respond. However, putting together an effective mail campaign can prove to be too much for the average franchisee. Questions about how to source a good list, what type of customers to target, and what creative to use can be overwhelming for the typical franchisee. Instead, do everyone in your organization a favor and offer your users a single direct mail online ordering system. Franchisees can run live list counts, customize the creative with their own store address info and choice of offer, and place the order. No hassle, no headaches – and no calling the corporate marketing office for advice.

Tip #5: Help your franchisees analyze their marketing results to keep them abreast of program effectiveness: One of the best value-added services that the corporate marketing office can offer franchisees in support of their marketing efforts is direct mail response analysis and other customer analytics programs. Most franchisees do not have the ability to accurately scan coupon barcodes, analyze data and then determine whether their recent marketing efforts were a boom or a bust. Also, by aggregating such analyses across multiple locations, your office can look for macro patterns and then share the results with all franchisees.

Franchisees can be your biggest source of pain – potentially your best friends. The secret to making it a successful relationship is to simplify your communication, make it easier for them to make good marketing decisions, and offer value-added services. If you do, everyone stands to benefit with a better quality of life at work – and better revenues for the organization!

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