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Tom DuFore, CEO of Big Sky Franchise Team, was recently featured on The Atlanta Small Business Show. The segment was titled, “The Advantages of Adopting a Franchise Model for Your Business.

The Atlanta Small Business Network, from start-up to success, is your go-to resource for small business news, information, resources.

You can watch or listen to the interview by CLICKING HERE.

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July brings patriotic parties, fireworks, and adult beverages. Franchising seasonal industries or businesses that see significant increase during certain holidays can be highly lucrative when done properly.

Franchising seasonal fireworks stands can be tricky depending on which states you operate in. Each state and municipality has its own specific requirements regarding the use and sale of fireworks. Because those restrictions don’t cross state or sometimes even county lines, it’s imperative to know and understand the laws for each area before bringing in a fireworks stand.

Party supply stores are a necessity year ‘round for holidays such as the 4th of July, birthdays, special occasions, and events. Be sure when franchising a party supply store to incorporate a sales and marketing plan that allows enough time to bring in plenty of the right supplies for each holiday and to market those items within the right timeframes. Too early and the message is forgotten. Too late and potential consumers will have already purchased elsewhere due to the lack of brand awareness. The type of supplies will also vary between locations. All of these items should be outlined in detail when creating a plan for potential franchisees.

Liquor stores are holiday hotspots and Independence Day is no exception. Adult beverages such as beer, wine, and cocktails are considered by many to be essentials at cookouts and other festivities. Beer in general is a summertime staple. Franchising liquor stores will also come with its own restrictions, codes, and laws that need to be adhered to, so be sure to take that into account when building out a franchising plan. 

No matter which industry you’re in, deciding whether or not to franchise is simple. There are just three things needed for a business to be franchised:

Is your business profitable?
Do you have a national or international customer base?
Could you train someone to do what you do?

It’s hard to operate a business and grow it at the same time. Especially when you have limited time, money, and people resources. That’s why franchising is a great option for just about any industry. Schedule a 15-minute introduction call today.

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Nowadays, anyone can set up an online store for their products with only a few clicks. E-commerce is wide open to anyone who wants to enter the market; however, the shadow of the industry’s biggest giants looms wide in the minds of anyone thinking of trying. How can you possibly compete with Amazon, let alone all the other big names in online shopping?

To compete, you need to make sure your service matches their speed, reliability, and convenience while offering something they don’t. It is possible. 

Have a Great Website

In order to compete with Amazon, your website needs to run well and look nice. For the former, it’s all about the hosting. InMotion, for example, is a solid choice, which offers a 90-day money back guarantee, 24/7 support, and $250 worth of advertising credits. You can find a full review of InMotion, as well as of all its major competitors, on Digital.com.

In order to make your website look great, you can combine a hosting service with a DIY web builder that prioritize aesthetics and ease of use. Alternatively, you hire a web designer to make you a custom website, but this is a big investment that is often out of reach for new businesses.

Make It Personal

Amazon is convenient, sure, but it’s also a huge international tech giant. As such, nothing about the Amazon shopping experience feels personal. This is where you, as a small business, have the advantage. There are several ways to make your business feel personal and friendly. For instance, you can inject some personality and humor into your tracking emails, use creative and interesting packaging, or simply add in a nice little extra — like a handwritten note or a free sample of another product — into the shipping. The point is to make your customer feel special.

Have a Solid Brand

You need to make it clear to your consumers what the benefits are of shopping with you. This guide to building a successful e-commerce brand has great, detailed advice on crafting and marketing a unique message, including examples of strategies that have worked for start-ups. Also, remember that by branding yourself in opposition to corporate giants like Amazon and eBay, you are inherently appealing to a certain demographic.

According to a 2017 survey by AT&T, about half of millennials are willing to spend a bit more to shop with a small business. This is especially true if you can show that your service is socially and/or environmentally sustainable. As Amazon continues to come under fire for its unethical business practices, there is more and more room for small brands and businesses based on ethical principles to flourish in the e-commerce world.

Fast, Efficient Service

So, you have a great website, an appealing brand, and a personal approach to your service. All of that means little if the service itself isn’t up to scratch. Two areas to focus on in particular are shipping and returns. First, customers want their stuff as fast as possible, so you need to use a reliable shipping service. If you manage your shipping in-house, USPS is often considered the best choice for small businesses due to its good value and range of delivery options. As your business grows, you may want to look into third-party logistics for your shipping.

When it comes to returns, remember that 30 percent of products bought online are returned, and 60 percent of consumers actually check your returns policy before buying. Therefore, make sure the policy is clear and easily available, detailing a timeframe for returns, what customers can expect to receive (store credit, full or partial refund), and how they will receive it.

Coming up against the giants of e-commerce is intimidating. Stores like Amazon and eBay have a global reach, lower prices, and almost unlimited resources. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for your business in the e-commerce game. Focus on building a solid product with reliable service, perfecting your brand, and nurturing a loyal following among your customers.

This is a guest blog article by Marissa Perez with BusinessPop.net.

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We have been helping business owners franchise their restaurant for years. This week QSR Magazine published an article by Big Sky CEO Tom DuFore about “Tips to Franchise a Restaurant.” Read the full article here.

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Consumption has changed. Consumers are holding themselves accountable for the buying choices they make. Businesses that want to maintain a certain level of success are now socially required to hold themselves to a higher, more eco-conscious standard. This new standard applies across all business models and can have an impact on potential franchising opportunities.

Franchising is a good fit for those with an entrepreneurial spirit, but no desire to risk building a business from scratch. This is why franchising remains a solid business model that can be applied to almost any business type, including the current eco-friendly business trend. There’s a broad range of eco-friendly businesses available for the eco-conscious entrepreneur.

Eco-safe pest control boasts effective pest control that is less toxic to the environment by using chemicals that are both healthier and safer for both owners and their pets. With regard to franchising, this model is replicateable and the initial components for franchising would be fairly straightforward. Build out an easily consumable business plan that highlights all of the details and guidelines a potential franchisee would need in order to replicate the parent business. Throughout the process and ensure that the business’ brand is always being protected. This will sometimes mean rejecting certain would-be franchisees if they fail to meet a certain pre-established standard.

Urban garden planning is becoming increasingly prevalent in residential areas with large populations of families. Incorporating sustainable gardens that are both beautiful and beneficial because they produce edible goods will likely continue to grow in popularity. Cost to build and franchise a business like this would depend on the range of services offered. If the idea is to simply build out a sustainable landscape plan and allow the consumer to self-initiate, the overhead would be minimal. Including installation and even maintenance services within the business model would increase the costs, but also greatly increase growth potential. All of these elements need to be outlined in detail before taking on franchisees. As with eco-friendly pest control, urban garden planning is a fairly straightforward model that should be easy to replicate with the right foundation.
Waterless car washes are not available in many areas and, depending on the potential franchise locations, a certain amount of consumer education would need to be incorporated beforehand. Waterless car washes utilize ready-to-use or concentrated chemical spray products with high lubricity to clean vehicles; an eco-friendly alternative to its water heavy counterparts. Because this is a newer business type, along with consumer education, the franchisor would need to provide specific details to every potential franchisee with regard to equipment and chemical spray types that need to be used. They will also need to educate them on the consumable and consumer ready breakdowns of the chemicals used in the sprays, since the franchisor would understand that they are dealing with a specific type of consumer that will most likely want that type of information upfront.

As with any franchising opportunity, eco-friendly or not, it’s important to know your consumer base, always protect your brand, survey every location prior to approving a franchisee to operate in that area, and support your franchisees in every way that you can. As they grow and succeed, so will you. If you’re ready to take the next step to multiply your success by franchising your business, call Big Sky Franchise Team today at 855-8-BIG-SKY for your 15-minute introduction call.

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With so many twists and turns going on in the real estate industry over the last several years, it’s more important than ever for real estate businesses to make their presence known. Combine that with a growing millennial market and with the expectation of modest inventory gains, having as many people on your team could be crucial to your success.

In this article, we share how franchising your real estate business may be your best option in this growing market.

Why Real Estate Businesses are a Perfect Model for Franchising

With the homeownership rate sitting at about 64.6%, at some point those homeowners are going to want to sell. Not to mention the people who are looking to buy those homes are going to need the assistance of a real estate agent.

You also have a booming market of homeowners who are taking part in the fixer-upper craze. Taking the cue of so many home remodeling shows found anywhere on cable, they realize that with some redecorating skills and upgrades, they can get top dollar for selling their home. For some, they’ve even turned it into a house flipping business, and they need a professional real estate agent on their team to help them gauge the market and stay on top of the latest trends.

By transitioning your business into a franchise, not only will you get more exposure, but you’ll have more people on your team to help attract more business. When you add on franchises, your real estate business can have the potential to reach more people, expand to different markets, and increase services for those looking to buy or sell a home.

Right now, you’re probably limited by your location or the amount of staff you have in your office. By moving to a franchise model, you can help additional clients in your current area, adjacent cities, different counties, or any other popular markets throughout your state. As long as your franchisees follow their state’s rules and regulations, you can also expand your business to other states throughout the country.

Your reach is virtually unlimited as a franchise business. With such a large demographic of millennials entering the market, you’ll want to be front and center for when they’re ready to buy their first home. Or, you’ll want to help those homeowners looking to sell their homes and take advantage of the current seller’s market.

Partner with Us to Franchise Your Real Estate Business

Transitioning into a franchise business involves careful thought and planning. It’s a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly, so it’s essential that you seek the help and guidance of experts in the industry to make the best decisions for your current situation.

At Big Sky Franchise Team, we specialize in the evaluation of businesses and determining feasibility for franchise potential. Once a business decides to transform into a franchise, we provide services to help them with their Franchise Blueprint, general consultation, and strategic planning. We also have services to support a franchise’s growth and longevity with marketing solutions, content creation, sales training, and much more.

Contact us today or call us at 855-824-4759 to set up a free, no-obligation consultation with a member of our team.

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Like Independence Day, President’s Day is an excellent way for Americans to show their patriotism and love of country. Celebrated on the third Monday of every February, it’s a way of recognizing George Washington and Abraham Lincoln’s birthdays since they both fall during this month. In recent years, it has become more of a way to celebrate all the presidents that have served the U.S. over the years.

Even though it normally isn’t considered a major holiday, it is Federally-recognized with many people having the day off, including school children. Because of its low profile, it may be overlooked by most businesses. However, it can be a great way to boost sales and attract new customers to your franchise business.

Celebrate with Red, White, and Blue Promotions

If your franchise business is food-related, then promoting colorful dishes should make for a simple celebration. You could feature salads, sides, or desserts that highlight foods like blueberries or strawberries, colorful pasta, or foods that can be prepared to look like the American flag. Cherries also offer a great option given the correlation to Washington famously chopping down a cherry tree.

Decorating your business with flags can also help promote the patriotism of the day and get people to take notice of something special going on at your franchise business. Try decorating storefronts and window displays with pictures of presidents or flags along with any details of a promotion your offering. For additional fun, you can hold beard contests in recognition of Lincoln or president look-a-like contests either in person or online. Your current customers as well as prospective ones will be attracted to the fun and will be more likely to remember you as they seek out the types of products or services your business offers.

Attract Those Customers Who Have the Day Off

If you have a retail-oriented franchise business, you’ll probably be open on President’s Day. However, quite a few people who work at banks, government offices, and schools are off for the day. And they are probably desperately in search of something to do to keep the kids from being bored.

Why not hold special events for families or kids? You can do a coloring contest that features either Washington, Lincoln or other U.S. Presidents. You can also celebrate with a party for people that visit your franchise business with patriotic decorations or red, white, and blue cupcakes.

Another way to attract people who are looking for something to do on their day off is to offer a flash sale. You can easily promote this on social media for foot traffic to your stores or online shop. This is an incredible way not only to boost sales, but you can also use this opportunity to get rid of any lingering inventory left over from your holiday promotions. If necessary, you may even want to promote sales throughout the week to help attract more customers while clearing out your stock room.

Need Help with Organizing Promotions Year-Round?

Are you looking for more promotional ideas that you can utilize throughout the year? At Big Sky Franchise Team, we offer a wide variety of services exclusively geared towards helping franchise businesses succeed.

In addition to general franchise business consultations, we also provide marketing plans, content creation, sales training, and much more. Contact us today or call us at 855-824-4759 to get started and set up your free consultation.

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It’s that time of the year again. While most people are still cleaning up forom the holidays, most business owners are focused on planning for the new year!

With the new year here, it is time to reflect back on the wins and losses of 2018 and to start looking forward to 2019.   This equates to looking at where improvements and adjustments may need to be made. It could also mean that it’s time to keep things as they are or whether you should expand your operations.

In this article, we pinpoint some things you can look at now to help get your franchise business ready for a successful 2019.

Reviewing Sales Trends

It’s never too soon to start looking at sales trends. They are a clear window into what happened with your business over a certain period of time.

If you’re looking at the last 12 months, you can gather some keen insight into the trends that affected you and how they could impact you in the future. Was there a time when your business did really well? Did you experience months where sales were lower than others?

While some businesses are seasonal, others may notice that there’s a clear trend of when people are flocking to their business. Having this knowledge means that you can plan ahead. You can ensure that your locations are stocked with inventory and that you have enough staff to handle customer traffic. On the other side, it can also help you know when to scale back and save on unnecessary expenses when things slow down.

Consider Opening Additional Franchises

Reviewing overall sales trends can also help you determine if your franchise business is ready to expand.

Are your sales steadily increasing? Have your customers expressed a desire to visit you in a specific area where you aren’t located? Is there a market that your business could serve but hasn’t yet? Answers to these questions could help you decide your next steps.

The great thing about having a franchise business is that your franchisees take on most of the work when you expand. However, that isn’t a sole indicator of whether you should add on more locations. It’s an important decision just like any other, and it requires careful consideration.

In fact, you may decide that you’re not ready for more locations at this time. You may want to invest more resources in your existing stores. You could upgrade equipment, or you could give locations a facelift.

Regardless of what you decide, make sure that it’s not only in your best interest but also that of your customers. Any changes or additions to your franchise business should be geared toward generating more business and boosting your revenue.

Build a Stronger Franchise Business in 2019 & Beyond

At Big Sky Franchise Team, we wish you a Happy New Year, and want to ensure you have a successful 2019!

We’re also here to partner with you if you’re interested in discovering how you can build a stronger franchise business now and into the future. We offer a wide variety of services including marketing plans, consultations, and strategic planning designed exclusively for franchise businesses.

To learn more, contact us today or call us at 855-824-4759 to set up a free consultation with a member of our team.

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It’s no secret that the holidays can be a stressful time to own a business. Whether it’s working extended hours, customers demanding that the most popular items are in stock, or making sure your locations are adequately staffed, the holidays can wreak havoc on even the best-laid plans.

As a franchise owner, you’re certainly not immune to the chaos, and it’s essential that you do what’s necessary to keep your head on straight during this tumultuous time. In this article, we’ve provided some valuable tips to help ensure that your franchise business survives the holiday season and beyond.

Keep Your Business Organized and Prepared

One of the best ways to survive the holiday season is to make sure you’re as prepared as possible. Have you stocked up on popular items? Have you been in touch with vendors to ensure they can deliver a steady flow of products to keep customers happy?

Not only do you have to make sure your customers are taken care of, but you also need to make sure your locations and employees have what they need to operate smoothly. Do they have enough receipt paper to meet the increased demand? Have you stocked up on office supplies to accommodate the increased business as well as the additional seasonal staff? And, are these items easy to locate when you’ve got a line of anxious customers?

The more organized and prepared you are, the more you and all your locations can focus on more important things. Your customers will also notice that you’re on top of things and that you value their time.

Ensure Your Customers Stay Informed

With the holidays comes a change to the usual way of doing things. Nowhere is this truer than when it comes to what hours your locations are open.

Most business offer extended hours during the holiday season, and it’s crucial for your customers to know whether you’ll be doing the same. After all, there’s no reason to have extended hours if no one’s aware of them. Post your new hours on your storefront, mention them on your site, and post them on social media.

The same goes for if you will be closed for a specific holiday or closing early on certain days. Some businesses close early on Christmas Eve and then close entirely on Christmas day. If your customers don’t know this, and they show up to shop when you’re closed, you could face somewhat of a backlash on social media. Make sure any changes to your hours or the days you’re closed are communicated to your customers to avoid any negative publicity.

Take Care of Your Staff & Employees

Last, but certainly, not least, take the time to ensure your staff and employees are taken care of.

First, you should inform your franchisees to hire enough staff to meet the additional foot traffic. Next, they should also be watching to make sure employees aren’t getting burnt out, are taking breaks, and have enough time off between shifts.

Without happy employees, your franchise business could suffer on many levels. A tired employee won’t be able to serve customers well, and a poor attitude could also impact other staff members.

It may also be a good idea to stock breakrooms with a variety of snacks and non-alcoholic beverages to help them refresh and recharge. If feasible, cater in food or hold a holiday party to show how much you appreciate their hard work.

Need More Tips to Survive the Ups and Downs of Running a Franchise Business?

At Big Sky Franchise Team, we know firsthand how challenging running a franchise business can be. There’s a lot to juggle, and it’s crucial to have a respected resource in your corner to help you figure everything out.

Contact us today or call us at 855-824-4759 to set up a free consultation and discover how we can help you with strategic planning, sales training, digital marketing solutions, or a variety of other services geared towards aiding the success of your franchise businesses.

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Is Stress Hurting Your Career? 

By guest blogger: Julie Morris

Do you wear your busyness like a badge of honor while behind the scenes you’re exhausted to the core? When you have a demanding career, it feels like giving everything to your job is the only way to make it to the top. In reality, your high-stress approach to work is harming your career more than it’s helping it. 

The High Price of Workplace Stress 

The effects of workplace stress reach wide and far. These statistics from The Muse and TinyPulse show just how far: 

  • Stress results in $300 billion in lost productivity each year. 
  • 1 million people are absent each day due to stress. 
  • 70 percent of workers say they have too much to do. 
  • 77 percent of people have physical symptoms caused by stress. 
  • 73 percent of people have psychological symptoms caused by stress. 
  • Stressed workers have 46 percent higher health care costs. 
  • 48 percent of people say their stress affects their sleep. 
  • 54 percent of people say their stress affects their relationships. 

 

The data is clear: If you’re too stressed out, you’re less productive, less healthy and less happy than when your stress is well-managed. Letting your well-being suffer for the sake of your work isn’t sustainable. If you try to forge ahead without addressing your stress, you risk experiencing burnout so severe that it threatens your job. 

The Keys to Managing Workplace Stress 

Workplace stress isn’t just something that happens to you. You play an active role in the amount of stress you face and how you cope with it. 

 

There are three strategies every person should take to manage stress at work: 

  1. Set boundaries

If you say yes when you want to say no, it’s only a matter of time before you’re worn out from unpaid overtime, late night calls from the boss, and handling other people’s busy work. Boundaries are essential in any workplace. While it’s nerve-wracking the first few times you say no to someone at work (politely, of course), eventually you’ll find that sticking to reasonable boundaries leads to greater respect. 

  1. Know when to make a change

Stress doesn’t only happen if you’re working too hard or too long of hours. If you don’t find your job challenging, you’re also at risk of burning out. Making a career change is scary, but it can be the first step toward more fulfilling work and a more well-balanced life. It it’s your work culture, not the content of your work that’s the problem, a job change can land you at a company with a better culture fit. 

 

Leaving your job isn’t the only way to make a change. If you’re a manager or business owner, you can delegate work and give yourself more time to focus on the projects you enjoy. Even if you have no subordinates, you can use outsourcing to your benefit. Instead of delegating work tasks, outsource work that needs to be done at home, like cleaning the house, mowing the lawn, or walking your dog. That way, you’ll have more time to unwind after work instead of worrying about yet another to-do list. 

  1. Make self-care a priority

If you’re not taking care of your health, you can’t give life your all. For more energy to excel at work and enjoy your off-hours, treat your personal wellness as a priority. Don’t skip meals or sleep because you’re busy, exercise regularly, and find time to live a fulfilling life outside of work. Don’t think it’s possible? Psychology Today explains an approach that makes self-care doable for the busiest of people. 

 

Don’t only use self-care as a remedy when you’re feeling overstressed. While self-care can help in times of acute stress, its real power is in the daily habits that prevent stress from growing in the first place. 

 

When everyone around you is just as stressed as you are, workplace stress starts to seem normal. But while work isn’t easy and carefree — it is called work, after all — you shouldn’t feel like your job is grinding you to the bone. If you want better health, a happier life, and a more productive career, make sure you have a plan for managing workplace stress. 

Julie Morris is a life and career coach, visit her site at juliemorris.org.

Image via Unsplash 

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