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Both personal service like auto repair or fitness centers and business to business services like janitorial, accounting, print, etc.

New Horizons Looking For Better Horizons

Looking at its share prices over the last year, there doesn't seem to be a lot of enthused investors over New Horizons Worldwide, the world's largest IT training franchise chain. Share prices have tumbled to less than 1/7th of the value they were a year ago.

The Giants Move, What It Means to America's Small Business

“There is no security on this earth; there is only opportunity.” -- General Douglas MacArthur

The way consumers and customers access their local shop is significantly changing. It’s about to go online in a big way, shifting away from the more traditional. The 800 pound gorilla in the room, EBay wants to take over the local phone directory as the first place customers find local services, according to a recent Wall Street Journal ($$) report. It will take a lead from its German operations and first focus next year on local auto services and brake jobs but its ultimate goal is obviously to draw in consumers of all local businesses.

A Christmas Franchise

There seems to be a franchise for every season but there's one franchise concept that seems just right for Christmas.

South Carolina's newspaper, The State, recently ran an article on a Christmas Decor franchisee Bryan Starnes, who makes sure the stockings are hung by the chimneys with care. Lots of chimneys. He will decorate 15 to 20 houses for the holidays and show up again to take down and box up the decorations. "It's a great way to fill in the gap in the slow part of the season," said Starnes, owner of Bryan's Lawn Maintenance in Little Mountain.


Tales of a Quick-Print Business: The Power of Word-of-Mouth Advertising

I began my quick-print shop with a used AM 1250 press. I would sell a few small jobs during the week to people I had come to know while working for the Plumbers Assn. My son Doug would print them on the weekend, I would deliver and pick up some more work. Meanwhile, we invested in an AM 3500 typesetter and began selling typesetting to some of the same accounts, plus those our current accounts recommended.

Pet Franchises, Bow Wow Wow WOW!!

“A boy can learn a lot from a dog: obedience, loyalty, and the importance of turning around three times before lying down.” -- Robert Benchley

I love my dog and I certainly do pamper it. The busier I get the more I seem to pamper her when I am home. And apparently, there are more and more people like me who downright pamper their dog. I mean, our dogs can even sleep in bed with us. Sociologists can comment about why we continue to take to our pets the way we do but what is of interest is how many out there are just like me. The business fundamentals of a booming pet franchise industry sounds like money to me.

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...

After 25 Years Quick Print Franchisees Cannot Leave Network

Quick Printing magazine comments about a typical problem in franchising. Franchise buyers typically are not very concerned about agreement clauses that kick in 25 years in the future. The article points out that quick print franchisee contracts that were signed "DID NOT terminate at the end of 25 years. In fact, in many agreements, owners unwittingly agreed not to compete against the printing franchise for the next two years within a 5-50 mile radius of their current location. Some of the agreements, especially some of the more recent ones, also call for giving up rights to the 'business telephone listing' as well as the customer database!" Imagine what would happen to a quick print business if it had to adhere to a non-compete clause for two years.