How to Check in on Your Original Business Plan


Any prospective franchisee or small business owner has to develop a business plan for their new entrepreneurial vision. We’ve covered that subject before, but what we’ll be discussing today is the need to periodically check in with the original plan for the purpose of reviewing your goals for success. You might be surprised by the sheer number of people who put in backbreaking work to create a workable business plan, utilized to drive the funding exercise, then put it on a shelf, allowing dust to gather. What good is that? Here are some compelling reasons for reviewing your original business plan…

It’s easy to get completely consumed by the details of running a day-to-day business operation, especially when you first start out. Everything is new, everything is exciting, your staff has begun to settle in and customers are coming through the door. This is what you want, that excitement of owning and operating a franchise of your own. You might think you’d turn to your original business plan only in times of crisis. What am I doing wrong? Why are my projections off? But in both cases of success or challenges, there is value in updating your plan based on what you’re seeing in the trenches.

First, it can be invigorating to check in with your original business plan. It should get you fired up about what drew you to the business proposition in the first place. Reviewing your plans, objectives, and projections should take you back to that ambitious feeling you had at the outset of your entrepreneurial journey. Don’t be surprised if going over your numbers reinvigorates your desire to succeed and even surpass your original outlook.

Second, you can use the business plan review as an exercise in evaluating your key performance indicators as a measure of your success at periodic times. Some of the questions you may want to revisit include: 

- Am I meeting my customer’s needs as outlined in my original thoughts? How could I improve their experience?

- How is my math? Do my projected numbers line up with my actual income? If not, why not?

- What type of fundamental adjustments can I make to refresh the plan, aligning it with what I’m seeing?

- Are any external factors hindering my growth or progress that I didn’t initially take into consideration?

Answering these and other questions can go a long way towards ensuring a consistent review of your hard working efforts.

Another avenue in this process is the introduction of a business coach or mentor to help give you an unbiased opinion of how well your original business plan is matching up with your current operation. It doesn’t necessarily have to be someone you hire out of the Yellow Pages, but rather a friend or relative who also is a business owner. It would be most likely turn out to be a meaningful exchange for you and a flattering request for them. Entrepreneurial journeys need not be a solo exercise.

Checking in periodically with your business plan and making sure that your ducks are in a row is a useful exercise. You’ve no doubt heard the phrase, “stick to the plan.” Well, it’s true. Your personal business plan is your road map to success and we could all benefit from a glance or two every now and then.

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!


4 Key Site Selection Factors You Can’t Ignore


Signing on the dotted line of your very own franchise business is a crowning achievement that should be celebrated. After the toast, however, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to work on a task that likely began during your negotiations. We’re talking about the all-important aspect of site selection. Where you decide to locate your franchise within your territory could easily spell success—or the opposite—and it’s best to be prepared with sound advice. Here are four site selection factors you shouldn’t ignore:

1. Micro-targeting

Information is widely available from commercial real estate sales groups which identify potential locations. These reports can tell you quite a bit about the target audience which resides within your specific territory. Key data will undoubtedly include the number of households, median income and specific demographic information relative to your future customers. Review these reports carefully and compare and contrast with competing site locations. Always choose the biggest bang for your buck.

2. Know Thy Neighbor

If you’re looking at a specific shopping center or complex within your territory, the key will be the “anchor tenant”. The reputation and reach of this business is often key to the additional businesses attracted to the development. Some familiar national players include The Home Depot, Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse, Costco and various regional grocery chains. In addition to the anchor tenant, take an extremely close look at other tenants. Are any of these businesses controversial? Always seek the most stable environment possible.

3. Take a Swing Out

Before you agree to any determination on the location of your franchise, walk the premises on a busy weekend. Do it again on Tuesday morning. What does the foot traffic look like? How clean is the parking lot? Are there any hindrances to the ingress and egress of entering or leaving the area such as road construction? Even the tiniest of factors can end up affecting your walk-in business. Make the rounds and introduce yourself to the other business owners on the property and take in what they have to say.

4. Read the Fine Print

Is this a cliché? Yes. Does that make the point trivial? Absolutely not. Shopping centers, and the management groups which run them can vary quite a bit in what you’re charged in addition to your lease. Make a list of the responsibilities of both the management group and the individual retailers. That way, there are no surprises later. Strongly consider the involvement of an attorney before signing the contract, so that you can get explanations for that which you may not understand. You don’t want a simple oversight adding to your carefully planned expenditures.

Site selection for your new franchise can be an exciting proposition. Everyone has an innate understanding of the adage: location, location, location. But it’s often more than just a fancy street address. It’s how your new franchise will fit seamlessly in a retail environment.

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!


Giving Credence to a Dark Horse Franchise Concept


For every budding entrepreneur entering the franchise investigative process, there is a myriad of concepts awaiting your review. Many candidates already have a preconceived notion of exactly what they’re looking for and others enter the process with an open mind. However, the 20-year accountant that already has his mind made up to lock down an H&R Block franchise might be wise to not rule out a dark horse contender. Because the investigative process is meant to be a free-wheeling exercise in finding just the right fit for a business of your own.

What exactly constitutes a dark horse contender? By definition, the dark horse isn’t necessarily supposed to win, but it’s chosen because it just might do so. Often the dark horse choice is a lark, a mysterious force pulling it into your orbit of consideration. In franchising, you should embrace this and give it some thought. You may have a great idea for landing a franchise operation where you’re completely comfortable in knowing that you’ll be successful. But will you be happy? The Internet is full of stories where budding franchisees chose a concept they never thought they would, yet turned out to love going to work every day.

The search for the right franchise should be a complex and thorough process. It’s designed to provide you with thought-provoking scenarios of your future as a business owner. Say you’ve been a carpenter by trade. You’re dead set on opening a Mr. Handyman franchise because your area or territory just happens to be wide open. You know you can be successful with the right amount of clientele. But did you come all this way to do the exact same work as your previous career? Just maybe, because you love animals so much, you were truly meant to run a doggie daycare operation. Simply because, in addition to being your own boss, it fulfills your need for true happiness in your work.

Keep in mind that we’re not trying to influence your thinking or make up your mind for you. We’re not even here to challenge your preconceived notions of the type of franchise you ultimately wish to operate. We’re simply saying that investigating a couple of dark horse franchise concepts is, at the least, a healthy exercise in making sure you’re 100 percent certain of your ultimate choice.

Becoming your own boss and fulfilling your dream to own a franchise is a serious exercise. It’s important to make sure that your future day job is a true fit for your strengths and weaknesses. And that takes a careful amount of due diligence and an open mind. Because what’s really at stake is the next chapter in your professional life which could lead to increased happiness in addition to financial independence. 

If you don’t enjoy the day-to-day tasks, you ultimately won’t enjoy your new role. Your choice needs to be cerebral in nature and it may not be the original plan you’ve had all along. As an exercise in your own franchise investigative process, get out a sheet of paper and write down a few concepts that would appear to a breeze for your skill set and experience. Then write down a few things you truly enjoy in life outside of your career. Now contemplate and ruminate on these divergent lists. Might there be a way to merge these columns? Be willing to put your heart into the decision and you just might end up with a dark horse winner of a franchise. The upside? You live happily ever after. 

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!


Top-6 Sales Boosting Ideas


As you ruminate on what life will be like when you’re at the helm of your own franchise, one aspect of your business will remain consistent—the need to increase sales volume to drive profitability. Head to the bookstore and you’re likely to encounter an entire section of shelves dedicated to the latest and greatest sales initiatives. But how relevant are they to addressing sales in the franchising world? Fear not, we already went to the bookstore, read the titles and distilled some of the best sales boosting ideas for franchise operations. Let’s get to it:

First, you must assess…

Running a franchise in a competitive landscape can be a real challenge. Especially if you’re hyper-focused on your own business while ignoring what’s going on in your industry as a whole. A constant assessment of your business and how your product or service fits into the sales equation is necessary to make an educated analysis of your next moves. Don’t let the bottom line sneak up on you, as this is often a trigger for an overreaction. Stay informed and stay rational about the overall business outlook.

Diversify your value proposition

As a franchisee, you’ll sell a product or service to the general population. Is that product or service enough? Is there something additional you can add, at no real cost, to provide extra value to your consumer? You need to be seen as more than a provider. You need to be seen as a resource.

Get a second opinion. Then a third…

As a franchisee owner, you should know your customers almost as well as they know themselves. Feedback is so critical, yet so few business owners take the time to actually solicit opinions. You can’t sit back and wait for positive and negative reviews on Yelp to appear. Engage with your customers. Find out what they like about your operation. And what they don’t like. Then, adjust your efforts accordingly.

Increase your exposure

If the extent of your outreach efforts begin and end with the Open or Closed sign in your door, you know you can do better. Find different and innovative ways to get your brand’s name out there—by any means. Sponsor a 5k, take out a targeted Facebook or Google Ad buy. Join the local Chamber of Commerce. Join the Rotary Club. Volunteer for a charitable organization. Above all, get involved somehow, some way!

Go to the show

Have you attended any type of a trade show, seminar or expo in your franchise brand’s field? If not, why not? A few moments of cursory searches on the Internet may reveal opportunities close to you and worth your time. You may learn many things by attending, the least of which would presumably include boosting your sales volume.

Inventory your inventory process

Are you overstocked? Under stocked? You won’t know if you’re operating at peak capacity if you don’t regularly check in with your inventory process. If you have shelves to stock, don’t overstock. Take the savings and apply it to outreach. Expanded outreach includes the possibility of expanded sales.

These six sales boosting techniques are but a few ideas to help generate the initiative you need to get your franchise sales where you want them to be. There are dozens of other techniques. Don’t be afraid to try experimentation. Because trial and error is the byproduct of future success.

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!


Franchising Outlook – 2nd Half of 2017


The year is now officially more than half over. We’re under new leadership in Washington and, for the most part, the leading economic indicators continue to show positive progress. Wall Street is having a field day, setting multiple new records and unemployment figures continue to tick down. In an economic climate such as this, what can we in the franchise industry predict for the second half of 2017?

In a look back to the International Franchise Association’s Franchise Business Outlook for 2017 released in January, it seems as if we’re right on schedule for a banner year in the industry. Here is one interesting tidbit from the report, quoted directly:

“States in the South and West will lead the nation in franchise employment and output growth in 2017. Economic growth in both regions has benefited greatly in recent years from renewed flows of domestic migration. In addition to the strong growth of population and personal income in these Sun Belt regions, tourism is an important driver for franchise-related growth, since the lodging and restaurant industries are among the franchise-intensive business lines.” 

Growth in the franchise industry as a whole was predicted to rise 2.3 percent in 2017. Franchise employment figures were expected to rise over three percent and franchise output was pegged at over five percent. So far, so good. The consumer index of confidence has been on the rise and shows no signs of slowing. The only economic wild card in play seems to be whether or not the Federal Reserve will embark upon a series of interest rate hikes, one of which occurred last month. Rising interest rates could hamper bank borrowing, but it’s also necessary to achieve a balance in which inflation does not become an overriding factor.

All indices in the report which reference franchise sector growth are in the positive territory. The lowest is commercial and residential services franchise growth (0.9 percent) and the highest should come as no surprise—QSR, and table service restaurants, with a growth rate of nearly seven percent.

Franchises have always been adaptive to market conditions and one small fact that came to light last year is extending into 2017 and beyond. Simply put, it involves the battle for consumer’s eyeballs. For the first time in history, mobile viewing and browsing surpassed desktop computers for consumers. This sea-change shift is expected to continue and has the potential to affect all forms of marketing outreach. In the battle to be seen, franchises will continue to have to focus their attention on capturing this segment of the marketplace in order to be successful. Social media is powerful and must be harnessed at the consumer level for franchises to remain relevant and successful. When it comes to delivering a message, Smartphones have now become a Smart Bet.

While we can never predict the future, we remain hopeful that the U.S. economic climate remains a healthy incubator for further franchising growth. There is most certainly enough geopolitical strife in the world today, but if cooler heads continue to prevail, the outlook on franchising at home should remain on track for IFA’s original assessments.

Here’s to six more months of positive growth, news and outlooks for the franchising industry.

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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