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News and stories about managing, leading and operating a franchise

Lessons on how franchisees adapt to quick change

Quick printing has changed in the last 30 years. Here is a good summary from an Austin shop owner on the changes and the increasing difficulty of being a small quick-print shop. First, adapting to rapid technology change is critical - being leading edge but not bleeding edge. In one story, an Alphagraphics owner speaks about how upgrading equipment helped turn around profits. Do it the wrong way or too much and you bleed profits.

Second, the Austin shop followed equipment upgrades by pro-actively training its customers on technology changes that make their life simpler.

"There has been a complete turnover of equipment and processes in the last 10 years," says Meyers, who started the 25-employee company with a $10,000 bank loan while he was a student at the University of Texas. "We had to completely revamp our equipment and personnel for the digital era."

Yellow Pages: What You Don't Know Can Cost Big Bucks

SamB is not my real name. I'm writing under a pseudonym because it gives me the freedom to tell you like it is.

I'm an account executive for the leading yellow page directory in a large city. Although I'm not a franchisee, I meet quite a few of them in the course of my work. Many of my good friends and relatives are businessmen and women, a couple of them with franchises. Writing is my hobby and this blog is my opportunity to contribute while doing something that I enjoy.

Sun-tsu and The Art of a Franchise Business

"Generals who succeed in war will strategize in their sanctuary way more than the other guy." -- Sun-tsu

Over two millennium ago a Chinese general and philosopher wrote a book called The Art of War. Sun-tsu’s text has become a classic used by leaders since. It's been used by Western military leaders as early as Napolean and as recent as Operation Desert Storm. During those ancient days long ago in my MBA program and my tenure with multinationals, Sun-tsu's writings, which I studied for language purposes in my undergrad years was chic. People knew and could quote from the Art of War. It had a band wagon, albeit a small one.

How to satisfy your hiring needs, then reduce turnover

It's that time of year in which franchisees have already hired staff to handle the busy holiday season peak. Hiring workers and keeping them in franchises is almost always a challenge. But there are some things that can be done to push up the number of applicants. For example, few franchisees use their own signage to advertise for talent, particularly if some customers have the background to be potential employees. Franchises tend to think that such signage is only for fast food restaurants. Anyhow, here's three good resources on how and where to find good employees.

 

Advice to a Quick-Print Franchisee

Struggle seems to come hand in hand with human existance. There's no escaping, particularly for those in quick-print franchising. I should know. I cut my franchise teeth here, in an industry with a fairly mature market, surprisingly nice margins, and yet a technology and marketplace changing so quickly that it is hard for a store to keep up.

As franchisor executives and franchise owners recently wrestled with how to turn around drooping profits, they sought my advice. There was discussion of complex long-term trends and strategy but that is for another post. First, let's cover the fundamentals for the immediacy of now. Here are recommendations to quick print owners in eight short points to consider in creating your upcoming business plan...

Be Obsessive About Details

One constant argument among franchise corporate types is whether a successful franchise owner needs a persuasive sales personality or an operations personality. A sales personality is stereotyped as someone who does broad brush strokes. An operations guy is supposedly someone who is detailed. Many franchise executives may have opinions but differ on which one works best in their system. There are even some types of assessments that are designed to take away some of the guesswork.

Well, here's another piece to the puzzle. Whatever your personality, Author Michael Levine says small things don't get the attention they deserve, so consequently, "businesses insult customers" every day. He continues with this interesting observation about getting the basics right first, advice that translates very well with networks in which adherence to franchise system standards is critical.

Why Can't My Franchisor Innovate Better Returns?

Having system standards rated close to 100%, here I am, a model operation of the franchise network. Doing so was supposed to raise my return on investment, but honestly, it's still low. My money would do better in a bank CD than the returns I get from all the hard sweat that I put into my store. There. I said it. So why should I expand to a second store just because it can be cash positive? Who wants to invest $1.5 million to get $50,000 a year in cash after the bills are paid? I need help from my franchisor in rethinking efficiencies and greater revenue per cost center. With this in mind, here is an interesting story coming down the pipe that I hope my own franchisor will take to heart in rethinking the map on getting better returns for the franchisee.

Change: A franchise's friend or foe?

“Nothing is constant except change.” That quote came to mind today in thinking about what franchise organization would I want to be part of. It may be a strange way to think of picking a franchisor, but it is a crucial way to think.

After all, if the franchisor is not on top of change, then all of the stores die a slow death until one day the network closes its doors.

Change is in the air. Fads change. Food even changes. Remember when Tofutti, an ice cream made of Tofu, was popular? Technologies change. Buying habits change. Obviously, with all of this dynamism, selecting a franchise that is going to be there in the long-term and not just the short-term is critical. One wants to be with a franchise product or service that is going to be there years from now. So, pick a product that looks like it has market stability — staying power. But that is not enough. Pick a franchise that has growth through innovation.

Brand Molested, Franchisees Revolt

Don't think that not much happens in Tucson, Arizona, where Marshall Wyatt Earp once roamed. It seems the law is being summoned again. After a franchise chain's namesake, Picurro, harmed the brand for alleged child molestation, four Picurro Pizzeria franchises in Tucson want their franchise contracts voided . The question is, can they?

This is no easy feat, but what else is one to do if the company's CEO and namesake has slandered the Picurro name by sexually soliciting minors? Picurro's name has been in the papers and on television for the offense. The bad publicity seems to be affecting business. Franchise owners say they have seen a dip in business of some 40%.