side Group Franchise Consulting

In This Issue

&nbsh1>

ario AltieryDon’t reflect on past failed resolutions just start now!

I never have made New Year’s resolutions. By most surveys, New Year’s resolutions almost always fail. We could surmise on the reasons...could it be they were not realistic? Were they not well thought out? Maybe they were the same affirmations made all year long without success, but now they ring out into the night one more time with the toast of champagne and never really had any chance at fulfillment.

Regardless the reason the results tend to be the same – mostly fruitless. That is why I have never really spent much time creating a list at the clock ticks down. Although as 2013 rang in just over a year ago, I did make a list or resolutions– why I did it I’m not sure. By all measures I had a very “good” year professionally, and personally and I was healthy and happy. Upside Group Franchise Consulting continued to grow with quality staff and successful clients, so why the resolutions? I’m not sure I will really even know why I decided to engage in the tradition of resolutions but what I do know is like most they were unfulfilled as 2014 rolled around.

So as 2014 rang in, I resisted the urge to set things straight by once again making resolutions– and of course making sure that they came true, but I stopped myself. I’ve always tried to refrain from regret or putting things off for later that I could start now. I’ve always found if you just start, you’ll be well along your way before you even realize it.

So if you were thinking of buying a franchise – jump on Bing and start your research. Don’t wait– just open up your laptop! Pull up franchisegator.com or franchisesolutions.com and see what franchises meet your criteria, request information, set time assign to speak with the franchise development staffs and find yourself a new career!

And if you have been considering franchising your business, don’t waste any more time thinking about how to franchise your business– just start the research. Go to upsidegroupfranchiseconsulting.com and read the plethora of articles on the top, research franchise attorneys in your market, go on franchise.org and take the intro course on franchising – with a little education you will be well on your way to franchising your business.

·  Upside Solutions – By: Mar-Lyn Vitale

ar-Lyn VitaleStop making lists and just start doing!

As we move into the second month of the New Year, we have all had the opportunity to reflect on what has passed and prepare for what is to come. For many of us, this means closing old chapters and starting new ones using a clean slate. Do you remember the feeling of hanging that new calendar — blank, organized, uncluttered? As you make this fresh start for 2014, consider doing the same with your computer. Too often, we ignore this until it is too late. Our files become cluttered; it takes forever to find something; or worse — a computer crash! — and everything is gone.

For many of us, life can be very busy. This task is easy to put off, but not one that should be put off. As franchise consultants, we always advise our clients to perform regular backups. Our computers are a bigger part of life than ever before. We rely on them for everything: working, communicating, photo storage, music library, shopping, travel, etc. It is important to remember that computers are machines. Files become corrupt, hardware malfunctions, the computer simply calls it quits and taking our precious data forever.

The best defense is data backup. Backing up data is essential in the workplace. Lost information can lead to crisis. Individuals who don’t backup computer data run a similar risk. While this may not cause financial ruin, it will certainly mean frustration, lost time and unnecessary hardship. So why do so few of us practice data backup? Here I address some of the most common excuses.

EXCUSE: “I’m too busy to backup my computer.”
RESPONSE: We are all very busy in today’s world. We try to balance work, family and friends. There is typically little time left for mundane things like computer maintenance.

SOLUTION: There is good news here! Present day back up options make back up simple and quick. Many options even offer scheduled backups at an interval you choose – without interrupting life.
EXCUSE: “I don’t know how to backup data.”

RESPONSE: This is a common excuse for anyone who does not have an existing solution, such as Network Attached Storage, in place. There are many solutions available to backup storage, and more options than ever before are easy to use.
SOLUTION: One option is to store your data on DVDs (you may need a lot of them) or a removable hard drive. While this may be a great solution for some, I prefer using an off-site solution. This offers even greater protection. Here are a few solutions to consider. All are secure, easy to use, and affordable.
Carbonite http://www.carbonite.com/
Drop Box https://www.dropbox.com
Jungle Disk https://www.jungledisk.com

EXCUSE: “My computer won’t crash.”
RESPONSE: Data backup is about protecting your data’s future. When it comes to computers, it isn’t if you crash, it’s when you crash. In 2011, a series of devastating tornados struck the south, wiping out entire neighborhoods and businesses– even a Lowes in North Carolina was decimated! The companies that were able to easily recover files were able to get back in business sooner than those who weren’t. It is essential that you protect against loss.
SOLUTION: Backup your files. There is no other way to keep you data safe. Backup your files.

Hopefully, this information will put backup into perspective. For many, the practice of regular backup is much more important and much less daunting than they have previously believed. I hope we will all journey through 2014 with a clean slate and peace of mind allowing you to focus on what is important: franchising your business. Happy New Year!

·  Teresa Talks

eresaLooking Back for Forward Success

Despite how painful looking in the mirror can be, taking time for honest reflection is essential in a profession as demanding as franchising. Making an earnest effort and intention to self-reflect can bring about some of the most productive and innovative changes in your franchising business.

So what is honest self-reflection? It is asking the tough questions and facing the truth of their answers no matter what they are. It means regularly and consistently examining what has worked and what hasn’t, and turning the latter into positives for the future of your career and business. It is doing this even when it means admitting that you’ve failed in a certain area and might need help.

Here are some questions you may need to consider for yourself – and remember, be honest!

What did I learn from competing for my clients last year?

What prospecting methods brought me those clients?

What relationships made those deals possible?

How do I repeat this more often in the coming year?

What did I learn from competing for the opportunities I lost?

What prospecting methods brought those lost opportunities?

What relationships were missing that might have avoided these losses?

What three things do I need to stop doing today to improve sales in the future?

It can be difficult to get started when you’ve been in franchise sales a long time or have had “enough success” to maintain, but that’s precisely why you must undertake this effort. Times change, perspectives change, and you must change and adapt to remain relevant and rising in the ever-changing world of franchising a business.

So take the time to reflect on the past, thoughtfully write down your learning experiences, develop new strategies, and apply this to your daily work. Let last year’s lessons become this year’s improvements and move ahead with confidence– if you’re willing to think deeply and take mindful and motivated action.

·  Matriculating with Marlene

arleneReflection for Your Business Mind – Books for the Entrepreneur that Really Improve Your Business

When a new year begins, it is a time to look back at the last year and reflect upon what works for you personally and professionally. As most effective entrepreneurs will tell you, reading books that challenge the way you think about your business will inspire and direct you to some creative ideas and practices that can help you achieve your goals. When franchising a business, it is also critical that you draw upon the lessons of others to improve your strategy for success. Start moving forward with a few reading suggestions that range from the classics to new ways of thinking.

The Classics

Every person who is launching a business of any kind needs to read at least one of these two books. They give the reader fundamental advice that can change the way you work with others, a necessity for franchisors who want to expand their business.

Most of us have heard of Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Written 15 years ago, this book provides timeless insight into how people can solve personal or professional problems. Covey’s theories remain as useful as ever for the modern businessperson because he uses principals such as fairness, integrity, honesty, and human dignity to motivate his reader. If you have never read this book or are in need of a refresher course, pick up the newly printed The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Anniversary Edition. In it, Covey answers why these habits are still relevant in today’s business world.

A must-read for anyone who is in a sales or leadership role is How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. The original self-help writer for the businessperson, Carnegie’s advice has been the cornerstone in this genre for over 60 years. The main theme of the book is the author’s premise that it is possible to change the behavior of others by monitoring how you react to them. The book contains techniques and strategies designed to change you from a follower to a leader. Topics such as three fundamental techniques in handling people, the six ways to make people like you, and the nine ways to change people without arousing resentment are still applicable in today’s business climate.

New and Interesting Reads for Today’s Entrepreneur

Is there anyone in the franchising industry who doesn’t want to be the “Amazon” of franchise sales? The following books look at the skills you need to be innovative in a challenging marketplace.

The Innovator’s DNA: Mastering the Five Skills of Disruptive Innovators by Jeff Dyer, Hal Gregersen, and Clayton M. Christensen is a book for those entrepreneurs who want to take their groundbreaking ideas to the next level.

In this book, the authors track leaders from today’s visionaries at Amazon and Apple to Virgin Group and define the five qualities that set these leaders apart from the rest of the pack. The authors pinpoint practices such as Associating, Questioning, Observing, Networking, and Experimenting as parallel traits found in the advanced business minds of our day. Innovator’s DNA offers the reader an opportunity to help master these abilities and use them in everyday practice.

Another good read for the innovative entrepreneur is Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur. Designed for those seeking to challenge outdated business models and turn them into businesses of the future, this handbook delivers a dose of hard-reality and strategies to help you move ahead of your competitors.

If you are working in a business that is becoming obsolete, Business Model Generation provides the road map to achieving success by helping you create a “game-changing” business model. Whether you are reinventing or just looking to repair your business, many business consultants and leaders of industry find this book to be required reading.

Franchising in today’s challenging marketplace requires a firm foundation and new ways of seeing your business. Along with an experienced franchising consultant, a good book can help you explore new ideas and learn from some of the best business minds in the world achieve your goals.

·  Spragno Shares

ulanOut with the old, In with the new

You know the drill – new year, new start. You may have plans to slim down, give up that gross habit, or get your life in order in some way. But have you given any thought to your business and planning your goals? At this time a year, it is important to make time for reflection and equally important to make time for planning. Whether you’re a client of Upside Group Franchise Consulting or hoping to franchise a business, it is a great time, perhaps one of the few, for some serious consideration of where you’re headed.

Reflect

Make a list, check it twice: Write down the two to three things that you or your business did during 2013 that were the naughtiest as well as two to three things that brought you the most fulfillment– both personally and professionally.

Ask Questions: What did you truly enjoy doing in the previous year? Was it visiting customers or working in the office/warehouse? Perhaps it was networking at different events or helping your staff become more productive?

Refocus

Scheme and plot: Avoid the naughty list and to do more of the nice list. Determine how to make sure that you engage in more activities that bring you successes from 2013 in 2014. List your wins, successes, and breakthroughs for 2014, as though they have already happened.

Ask questions: How can your business best be of service to your customers in the New Year? How will your business ensure to conduct its business in 2014 sot that it is in line with its vision and values?

Strike now: While everyone else is pondering and focused on their New Year’s resolutions, the time to launch something new can be ideal. If you have been thinking about launching your own franchise, take that first step immediately and strike now!

Communicate: Do you receive messages through your social media network or gifts baskets and greetings from clients, customers, and friends but with no personal touch? Don’t make the same mistake yourself. Focus on building a relationship with the community surrounding your business. Let people know where they stand with you and how important they are. You will be surprised how much it may mean to them.

·  Social Media Spotlight– By: Morgan Matthews

organReflect, using Social Media

Nowadays in society, people are always stating their opinion and thoughts. Whether it is in person, over the phone, by email, by text message, or on social media, opinions and thoughts are voiced. In the past people might have been weary to reflect their thoughts on the main basis of being judged. These days social media has become a great platform for people to reflect on for many reasons.

One main reason why people reflect using social media is that it is simply easy to do so! By the click of a button your thoughts, moods, opinions, etc., are now out in the open for the world to see. Popular social media websites to reflect on are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, and Linkedin, just to name a few.

Instead of people reflecting their thoughts by using just words, a lot of people and or companies are using pictures! Pictures are a great way to state how you are feeling or to describe what you are going through. Pictures with quotes on them are a great way to reflect too. You will see these all over social media sites now, almost more than people’s own words. Instagram has become one of the fastest-growing social media websites in the last few years!

Another reason why people like to reflect using social media is because it can at times be anonymous. Sometimes people are too nervous to voice their own personal opinions about things for the sad fact of being judged afterwards by others. Now, people can create their own blogs and write about different things without the public knowing who they are. This can be used as a therapy for some people.

In the past years, speaking up for what you believe in has become more popular and reflecting in general on your thoughts, life, and opinions has as well. Social media is a great way to reflect because it is easy. You can post a variety of different things such as photos and quotes– and you can always be anonymous using social media, just in case you do not want your name out there!

·  USG Services Spotlight

ervices SpotlightFranchise Consultants Provide – Lead Management

Most franchise companies face the same question every month —
“What lead generation sources should we use?“

Franchising a business begins with a sound business model and lead generation strategy. Upside Group’s franchise consultants understand there are many franchise lead generation sources that exist, and it can be daunting to determine what sources to add or remove from your franchise development service plan. The opportunity to generate franchise leads can seem endless and the modern day franchisor has many options; franchise tradeshows, franchise web portals, franchise periodicals, industry print, newspapers, pay per click and search engine optimization. Upside Group’s franchise consultants will help you understand the differences between the quantity and, depending on the type of industry you’re franchising a business in, the quality of leads that are typically generated through each source.

While other firms might describe franchising a business and the franchise lead generation process as an art, our franchise consultants describe it as a science. All of Upside Group’s franchise consultants have extensive experience in the science of sales and lead generation. Their expertise helps our clients stretch their marketing budgets to obtain quality leads more efficiently.

With careful calculation and diligent research, our franchise consultants can help you successfully acquire leads and then manage those leads for sustained, long term success. From setting measurable lead conversion goals to qualifying leads for financial wherewithal, we understand the nature and mindset of a lead and how to best convert it to a quality franchise candidate. More than that, your franchise consultant will teach your franchisors how to secure customer loyalty and increase referral traffic from an array of sources with customized franchise development services.

After researching your franchise industry and aligning with your franchise development service goals, Upside Group’s franchise consultants will present you with a comprehensive lead development plan.

During the franchise lead generation process, Upside Group Franchise Consulting will handle all negotiations with web portals and print media to advertise your franchise opportunity. With Upside Group’s extensive clientele, our franchising consultants have the buying power to ensure you receive the best prices available for all media purchases.

·  Legal Corner

arry KurtzCoping with Minimum Wage Hikes

By: Barry Kurtz
Certified Specialist, Franchise & Distribution Law
The State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization

To say the least, the nation’s economy has been turbulent and challenging for franchisors and franchisees alike over the past several years. However, the franchising industry has had some cause for optimism over the past year: consumers seem to be a bit more willing to spend, the housing market seems to be recovering, the unemployment rate has fallen some, and the stock markets are reaching all-time highs. Unfortunately, just as it seemed that the general business climate was improving, the franchising industry realized that it, like other businesses, was facing a new challenge: a substantial rise in the minimum wage.

In August of this year, fast-food workers and their supporters were able to gain the media spotlight by staging strikes and protests in 50 cities seeking to have their pay increased to $15 an hour. Their efforts drew the attention of many lawmakers and bolstered support for legislation to raise the minimum wage in many states. Then, on September 25th, California passed a law raising its minimum wage to $10 per hour by 2016, making it the highest hourly minimum in the nation. New Jersey voters followed suit by passing a minimum wage increase in November, raising that state’s minimum wage to $8.25 per hour beginning in January 2014. Massachusetts’ Senate just passed a bill that would, if signed by its Governor, raise its minimum wage from $8 to $11 per hour, a 37.5% increase. Not to be outdone, several other states, including Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, South Dakota and Washington D.C. are considering similar changes. The bottom line: support for raising the minimum wage is growing nationwide, and franchisors and franchisees alike should expect the minimum wage in most states to rise above the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.

In general, an increase in the minimum wage impacts most franchisors and franchisees. For franchisors, wage costs rise at company-owned locations and they experience increased pressure from franchisees looking to them for concessions and selling franchises becomes more difficult as the profitability of franchise ownership starts to fall. However, the truth is that an increase in the minimum wage most directly impacts franchisees because franchisees hire and employ the workers who work in their franchised businesses. Considering these facts, and the fact that minimum wage rates will likely continue to rise throughout the country, franchisors and franchisees will need to be proactive and work together to determine how they can continue to turn a profit.

Franchised businesses will need to do one or more of the following to survive in the face of rising minimum wage costs: cut costs, increase efficiency, develop or sell new/additional products or services, find alternate streams of revenue, or raise prices. Cost cutting in a franchise scenario may be achieved in many ways: reducing employee hours, postponing plans for hiring and expansion, reducing the total number of employees, and renegotiating the terms of leases and financing obligations, just to name a few. Increased efficiency may be realized by employing energy saving technologies, increasing employee productivity through better training and management, and reducing waste. Franchisees, though, will find it tough to add new products or develop alternative streams of revenue without their franchisor’s permission, as most franchise agreements restrict the products a franchisee may sell to those approved by the franchisor. That said, innovation is the mother’s milk of profitability so to speak, so franchisors and franchisees should put their heads together to develop the latest and greatest innovative products and services. However, when all else fails, franchised businesses may be forced to pass along their additional costs to customers by raising prices, which is sometimes pretty tough to do.

Needless to say, the time is at hand for franchisors and franchisees to address the issue of rising minimum wage costs. Franchisees should reach out to their franchisors, franchise consultants, and other franchisees in their systems to get their take, as they may have already come up with some creative solutions. Franchisors should study the issue and figure out ways to improve their systems to benefit themselves, as well as their franchisees. Regardless, overcoming the challenge of rising minimum wage costs won’t be easy. But by working together and facing the problem head-on, franchisors and franchisee can succeed.

Barry Kurtz
Certified Specialist, Franchise & Distribution Law
The State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization

21650 Oxnard Street, Suite 500
Woodland Hills, California 91367
Telephone: 818-827-9229
Fax: 818-986-4474
bkurtz@kurtzfranchiselaw.com