How to Use Instagram to Boost Business


Do you even Instagram? Yes, the iconic photocentric social media app is now a verb in addition to a noun. According to the esteemed Wikipedia, Instagram is a “…mobile, desktop, and Internet-based photo-sharing application and service that allows users to share pictures and videos either publicly, or privately to pre-approved followers.” The photo posts can also be shared across many of the other most popular platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. You can add texts to your photo posts as well, but these are generally short and sweet lines of content cutting through the bottom one-third of your image.

According to the research site Statista, Instagram boasted of having over 500 million daily active users worldwide as of Sep. 2017. And in January of 2017, that number was estimated to be 150 million. Think this social media app is on a roll? What we’re going to talk about today is using Instagram to boost your business, something that can be invaluable to a franchise owner with a product or service to sell.

First things first, creating an account is free. And easy. Simply go to Instagram on the web or your mobile device and create a login. You’ll have to provide the same basic information about yourself (or business) as you would with Twitter or Facebook. Once you’ve created an account, begin taking a few test photos to post to your account and see how they come out. If you—or anyone in your organization—happen to have a knack for photography, allow them to be the point person for the account. It does take a keen eye to take a good photo—and that’s what Instagram is all about. Get creative!

One really neat trick that many business-minded marketers are doing is using Instagram to showcase the process—not products. We’ll give you an example. Say you own a QSR franchise that specializes in gourmet hamburgers. On a typical day, we’ll probably come in contact with about a half-dozen photos of hamburgers. How can you set your photo apart from the rest? Maybe highlight the process of making your hamburger. Like a tight shot of the grilled onions cooking on your stovetops perhaps? Are you beginning to get the picture? People love behind the scenes looks. Just pop in any DVD and you’ll see what we mean!

Just like Twitter, Instagram is a hashtag driven social media platform. If you’re a franchise owner, you should already have a list of acceptable corporate hashtags to use when tagging your photos. But you can hashtag anything, so long as it aggregates the Instagram post with others. Just don’t go overboard like some people do. If you don’t know what we’re talking about, let’s look at the following two examples:

#gymtime

#ohmygodmyworkoutwassotoughthismorning

See the difference? #gymtime will get aggregated with all of the other posts using this hashtag. The second example will likely be in a set all by itself. You can also use Instagram to collaborate and mention others in your posts—it works the same way as Facebook.

Many businesses also use Instagram to build excitement and anticipation. New items, new products, an exclusive offer, a coupon…all of these things can be expertly intertwined with visual photography. Perhaps one of the best places to begin is to look at how several major brands are using Instagram in their marketing efforts. Follow their accounts and you’ll likely come up with some spectacular content ideas of your own.

Instagram is an impactful social media platform, simply because it is a visual medium. Remember that adage that people would rather look at pictures than read? Over 500 million people worldwide agree…

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Let’s chat! There’s a local FranNet consultant right in your market who knows that market inside and out – knows the personality of the market – knows the competitive landscape. FranNet has a great track record of assisting individuals on their path to entrepreneurship, and one of our franchise experts would love to provide you with guidance free of charge. Sound like something you might be interested in? Get started here and find your local consultant right now!


What Your Local Chamber of Commerce Can Do for You


For all our past, present and future franchise owners, we have some more knowledge to share with you and your business. We’d like to delve into what your local Chamber of Commerce can do for you. No doubt you are probably familiar with the concept. A consortium of local businesses who conduct meetings, business and networking for the express purpose of supporting one another. And the beauty of your local chamber is that there almost certainly is one—regardless of the population of your hometown. 

As a franchise owner, your local Chambers of Commerce can become an invaluable resource for your operations. At its heart, chambers operate as a de facto trade board, promoting and advocating on your behalf as well as other members. Fees are typically nominal and it’s a tremendous way to build goodwill right in your own community for the goods or services you’re selling to the public. Once you’re ready to open your doors, it’s even likely that a representative of your local chamber will seek you out to invite you to join. And if you decide to do a promotional grand opening (complete with the salutary ribbon-cutting), guess who’s going to show up in support? Your fellow chamber officers and members.

Businesses who belong to their local Chambers of Commerce typically seek out other members to do business with first, which is why membership places you in their annual directory in the first place. Chambers are groups designed to support one another through referrals. But by far one of the best benefits is the opportunity to network which chambers provide. Typical chamber outfits get together for monthly after-hours meetings and mixers, all designed to have you introduce yourself to the other members and vice-versa. You never know where just one good connection may lead.

It is also typical for local Chambers of Commerce to conduct additional business outreach through local nonprofits and charity causes, many of which are tied to other civic-minded organizations. See? Your networking opportunities could triple! Parades, festivals, annual events, fun runs and local business expos are but a few examples where you could have direct involvement as a chamber member.

When chamber-sponsored events are planned in advance, your franchise—as a member—may get exclusive opportunities to promote and advertise your business. Almost every chamber keeps a calendar listing of upcoming events and utilizes a monthly newsletter to disseminate information on key get togethers. If you find an upcoming event that matches up nicely with your franchise operations, make an effort to get involved and see what hyper-local promotion is all about.

As a franchise owner, your local Chambers of Commerce membership can be an important stepping stone to success. But we want to reiterate an old adage here---you’ll get out of it what you put into it. Just joining your local chamber and putting the seal on your exterior door won’t accomplish much if you don’t make the effort to attend the meetings, introduce yourself and promote your franchise. If and when you do join, find out if there are ways for you to get involved beyond the membership level. Seek out a committee. Join a task force. Become an advocate and support your local Chambers of Commerce. It’s a great way to rep your franchise to your community.

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Let’s chat! There’s a local FranNet consultant right in your market who knows that market inside and out – knows the personality of the market – knows the competitive landscape. FranNet has a great track record of assisting individuals on their path to entrepreneurship, and one of our franchise experts would love to provide you with guidance free of charge. Sound like something you might be interested in? Get started here and find your local consultant right now!


Explore the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Learning Center


Our month of “New Year, New You” continues, as we aim to provide our budding entrepreneurs with the knowledge they need to make the proverbial leap to business ownership of their own. In this edition of FranNet’s blog, we’re going to investigate a resource you may not have heard of, though it comes from the most reputable of sources, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The SBA is a very franchise friendly organization and has several resources designed to ingratiate you with knowledge and information. But did you know it was neatly packaged under the moniker, the Learning Center? Let’s see what they have to offer…

The SBA’s Learning Center covers hundreds of topics, but for our audience the main resource topic will be—what else? Starting a Business. The SBA’s Learning Center is a series of topics arranged for you to investigate in a self-paced environment. Each of the topics are divided into packaged courses for you to complete. You can choose the subjects which interest you the most, or delve into each and every one of the designed courses. The choice is yours. 

As for those looking into getting into the world of franchising, what topics might apply in this instance? A cursory review shows several which FranNet would deem, “…right down the wheelhouse.” For starters, they include:

Encore Entrepreneurs: An Introduction to Starting Your Own Business, a course is designed for individuals planning to start a business after earlier career endeavors. Sound kind of familiar? There are 10 courses total under Starting a Business, all of which are 30 minutes or less of your time. Other relevant topics in this category include advice on writing a business plan, strategic planning and even a course designed and targeted for women business owners.

When you do click on a particular course, you will also note that the SBA makes a few suggestions of what you might like to learn next. If time is of the essence in your world and appointments are a little harder to come by, the SBA Learning Center can help fill in the gaps in your entrepreneurial education.

Sufficed to say, the SBA Learning Center is a fantastic resource for anyone interested in buying and operating a franchise. Most, if not all, of the topics they cover in their online courses can also be found during a personalized visit with a certified franchise consultant at FranNet. We know that schedules get busy fast, so a combination of information learned through the SBA can help you prepare for your consultations with us.

Now is also the perfect time to mention that the SBA dedicates a portion of their website solely to the world of franchising. It’s also definitely worth your time to investigate. You can visit this dedicated section by following this link.

If 2018 is shaping up to be the year of independence for you, let us know about it. At FranNet, we remain at the ready to assist you in your personal journey to entrepreneurship through franchising. Remember, our services are free and non-obligation. Just a friendly discussion of you, your goals and what you’d like to do in becoming your own boss. If these words are speaking to you, call or make an appointment today so we can be your official guides.

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Let’s chat! There’s a local FranNet consultant right in your market who knows that market inside and out – knows the personality of the market – knows the competitive landscape. FranNet has a great track record of assisting individuals on their path to entrepreneurship, and one of our franchise experts would love to provide you with guidance free of charge. Sound like something you might be interested in? Get started here and find your local consultant right now!


What the New Tax Bill Does for Small Businesses


Last year ended like a whirlwind and we’re still getting used to crossing out 2017 on our personal checks and replacing the date with 2018. Yet we shouldn’t overlook the significance of the Tax Cuts and Job Act bill which passed the U.S. House and Senate, then was signed into law by President Trump on Dec. 22. At a glance, it includes $1.4 trillion in tax cuts designed to spark business investment and subsequently benefit additional hiring and wage growth. But if you’re a budding entrepreneur looking to go the franchising route, what exactly will it mean to your future small business? Here’s a breakdown of benefits:

Updated Tax Rates on Small Business Profits

Businesses which classify themselves as C corporations will see a maximum tax rate of 21 percent beginning in the 2018 calendar year. Business owners of pass-through entities—of which include sole proprietorships, partnerships, limited liability companies, and S corporations—will now be able to claim a 20 percent deduction of their pass-through business income, however some limitations apply. You should always check with a certified accountant or tax-preparer for an accurate assessment. 

Work Opportunity Tax Credit

If employers, including franchisees, hire staffers from specific targeted groups, they will become eligible for a Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC). Defined, these targeted groups include disenfranchised individuals who might otherwise face certain barriers in seeking gainful employment. What this tax credit does is reduce the tax liability at a rate of $1,200 up to $9,600 per employee, depending on several factors, the least of which includes the actual number of hours worked per week. 

Equipment Expenses for Small Businesses

The dollar limit for being able to expense equipment purchases will now be considerably increased. The updated rate will now be $1 million beginning in 2018, almost doubling the previous amount from 2017 rules. In addition, bonus depreciation now doubles from 50 percent to 100 percent for any and all property purchased and put into use after Sept. 27, 2017.

The franchise industry is certainly applauding the first overhaul to the tax code in over three decades. The International Franchise Association (IFA) came out with a strong statement of support, credited to its president, Robert Cresanti:

“We applaud Senate Leadership and the Finance Committee members for listening to the concerns of business owners and working to ensure small businesses see tax relief. For years, the burdensome and complex tax code has held back small business owners and stifled new investments. With two-thirds of new jobs being created by small businesses and 80 percent of franchises filing as pass-through entities, important changes were made in the final days for these franchise small businesses."

Change is definitely in the air in 2018 and the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will play a large part in what our government believes is a catalyst for strong and sustained economic growth. If you’ve been planning a pathway to becoming your own boss, the landscape and environment of operating a small business or franchise just got a lot friendlier.

If you’d like to talk specifics, call us or make an appointment with one of our certified franchise specialists. We can begin our journey together at a time when small businesses are primed for future success.

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Let’s chat! There’s a local FranNet consultant right in your market who knows that market inside and out – knows the personality of the market – knows the competitive landscape. FranNet has a great track record of assisting individuals on their path to entrepreneurship, and one of our franchise experts would love to provide you with guidance free of charge. Sound like something you might be interested in? Get started here and find your local consultant right now!


Want to be a Franchise Owner? Here’s How to Start Your Year


Don’t look now, but it’s 2018! Are you ready? At FranNet, we sure are. And as an exercise to kick things off the right way, we’d like to offer you some advice to get your year off on the right foot. Want to be a franchise owner in the not-so-distant future? Here’s how to start your year primed for success

If you’ve been thinking about it, pondering it, wondering exactly how you’ll get all the moving parts and pieces together, now is the time. And you can do it. We’re talking about the quest to become your own boss. Maybe it’s something you’ve dreamed about in the past year. Perhaps you’ve been preparing for this moment a long time ago. Either way, your future is truly in your hands. So what ways can you effect this new motivation to change? Here are three tried and true examples to get up, get moving and get yourself out there: 

Past, Present, Future…

To begin this introspective exercise, let’s take a look at the past year that was 2017. What type of personal and professional progress did you make? Are you where you thought you’d be today? In addition to ruminating on your accomplishments, it’s just as important to delve into areas where you didn’t feel like you succeeded. Because these are the areas, with improvement, that will end up making the difference. Take stock in what you’ve accomplished in the last 365 days. Write it down if you have to. Check your current status, and get ready to plan for an exciting future with you at the helm of your own destiny. 

Communicate!

If this is going to be your year when you finally take the proverbial leap of faith into entrepreneurism, you’ll need to ramp up your communication efforts. Becoming your own boss through franchising is going to take a lot of advice. We know because we quite frequently get to dole it out. If you’re serious about making a run at owning your own business, we want to hear from you. And since we’re not mind readers, you’ll have to seek us out. Be sure to talk to as many people as you can about your plans. Seek your family’s approval, as this will be a real key. Solicit advice from friends or others you know who already own a business. Find out from them what works, what doesn’t and how to get from point A to point B in this game. Now’s not the time to be bashful. Pick up that phone and make some calls! 

Mind Your Budget

When we advise you to mind your budget, we aren’t just talking dollars and cents, although that is of supreme importance. You’ll need to budget your time as well. The franchise investigative process can be an intense undertaking and we want to make sure you’re as prepared as possible. We’ll work closely with you to craft a schedule which keeps your regular life intact. So, check those finances. And just as importantly—check that calendar. 

As we saw in 2017, life comes at us all pretty fast. We want you to make 2018 as impactful as possible. If you’re just beginning to consider a life as your own boss, we’re ready to have an exploratory conversation. If you’re already down that road, we can catch up to you at the next exit. At FranNet, we just want to be a catalyst for your success. And if that means becoming a franchise owner, we have decades of experience in guiding you.

Happy New Year! FranNet wishes you a blessed, prosperous and successful 2018. Let’s go do this!!!

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Let’s chat! There’s a local FranNet consultant right in your market who knows that market inside and out – knows the personality of the market – knows the competitive landscape. FranNet has a great track record of assisting individuals on their path to entrepreneurship, and one of our franchise experts would love to provide you with guidance free of charge. Sound like something you might be interested in? Get started here and find your local consultant right now!


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