AmSpirit Member Testimonial (Anderson)

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SfsM1adDDI8&feature=related] Here is something else one of our members is saying about AmSpirit Business Connections. For more information please CLICK HERE.

Business Affinity Chapter Member Ranks in Annual Book of Lists

AmSpirit Business Connections member Bruce Landis (Business Affinity Chapter) is an owner of TransCounty Title Agency Metro IV, which Business First ranked in its annual Book of Lists as the sixth largest Title Agencies by 2010 revenue. Bruce can be reached at 614-799-2464 or via email at bruce.landis@tcountytitle.com.

Is That Low Cost Franchise Really Low Cost?

You might have hesitated to consider buying a franchise because you felt you needed a seven-figure net worth to afford it. Don’t. While there are some franchises where that is the case, a great many do not require an investment equivalent to a “king’s  ransom.”

In fact, there are plenty franchise opportunities where you can own a franchise for a few thousand dollars.

That is an exciting thought. For an amount that is about as much as your credit card limit, you could own a franchise with all the rights and privileges of any other franchisee.

Often franchisors declare these to be “low cost” opportunities. Just because a franchisor categorizes something as “low cost” does not make it so. Usually they make this claim just because the initial investment is relatively small compared to other franchise opportunities.

The initial investment fee, however, is just one aspect to consider in determining the financial potential of a franchise. Thus, just because you can get into a franchise “on the cheap” does not mean it is low cost. Sometimes, franchises will attract prospects into the opportunity with a low initial franchise fee, but make up for it in other ways. So before you fully commit to that “low cost” opportunity, you should examine all the aspects of the franchise. At a minimum, you should consider:

  • Ongoing Royalties: The initial franchise fee may be low, but what are the ongoing royalties associated with the opportunity? If the ongoing royalties are excessive relative the ongoing support, what you did not pay on the front end, the francisor intends to make up (and then some) over time.
  • Training Fees: The initial franchise fee may be low, but what does that include? If the initial franchise fee only gets you the rights to operate the business and you still need to pay for (and attend) required training, the franchise opportunity may not be as low cost as you thought.
  • Ongoing Support: The initial franchise fee may be low and the ongoing royalties a good value, but you also have to take into account what the franchisor is and is not doing for you. For example, if the business model requires that you have a website or sophisticated billing system, and you need to build those from stratch, you need to factor that into your determination. Low cost may not be as low as you thought.
  • Equipment And Supplies: Some proclaimed “low cost” franchise opportunities have a low initial franchise fee, reasonable ongoing royalties and no training fee. They do, however, require that you, the franchisee, purchase all equipment and supplies from the franchisor. Not surprisingly, the franchisor sells these items at a hefty profit.
  • Franchise Term: When you purchase a franchise it is generally only for a fixed term, which varies from franchise to franchise. When that term expires, the franchisor generally requires you to pay a renewal franchise fee or you forfeit your franchise rights. While this payment is generally only a percentage of the initial franchise fee, it is important to consider. If the franchise term is short, a franchisor can make up for  low initial franchise fee with an unusually large renewal fee.

No, you do not need to risk your first born child to own a franchise. There are many low cost opportunities available. It is important to remember, however, that not all low cost franchises are created the same. As a potential buyer of a franchise, you are best advised to do your homework before you fully commit.

TXT MKTING

Do you realize that the phone you carry in your pocket or purse can be a great marketing tool? Read 3 Ways Text Marketing Can Work for Your Business [hyper link to http://3x4consulting.com/2011/02/28/3-ways-text-marketing-can-work/] by Jacci Adams (Hall of Fame Chapter and owner of 3×4 Consulting).

The Professional Service Franchise … Three Great Extra Benefits

Franchises come in all shapes and sizes. There are retail goods and wholesale goods franchises.  There are full-time and part-time franchises. There are professional service and blue-collar service franchises. There are franchises that are home-based, others that require brick-n-mortar and some that operate out of a van.

Also, there are combinations of these. There are the part-time, blue collar, retail franchises. And the full-time, wholesale franchise that operates out of a van. There exist a franchise for most any business type or industry.

Now, every franchise type has its benefits … great financial potential … cutting-edge industry … easy to master. The professional service franchise, however, has unique benefits. These are franchises where the services are often deemed to be white collar in nature (consulting, coaching, etc.) or perhaps require a professional degree (such as accounting, finance, legal, etc.). These benefits include:

  1. Lower Required Franchise Investment: Generally speaking, there is not a tremendous amount of required overhead involved with owning a professional services franchise. These franchise opportunities do not have many fixed assets and may not even require a separate office or place of business. Therefore, you would have a lower overall investment as compared to many other franchise types.
  2. Business Synergies: If you are someone who already has a professional degree or accreditation (or an aptitude to using your intellectual skills to help others), it can be much easier for you to step into a professional service franchise as opposed to learning a new trade, skill or specialty.
  3. Value Beyond: If you get into many franchise operations, the skills and techniques you learn are unique or specific to that business or industry. Thus, when the time comes to sell your franchise and move on to something new, much of the intellectual capital you have relative to that franchise does not transfer and is lost. With a professional services franchise, however, while you will not be able to compete against the franchise, the development you generated during your tenure sticks with you and will serve to benefit you on your next business adventure.

So, while every franchise holds great benefit, a professional service franchise has some unique benefits that you ought to consider as you ponder your franchise investment.

B2B Focus and Short North Chapter Member’s Company Rank Second in Annual Book of Lists

AmSpirit Business Connections member Jeff Skinner (B2B Focus) is an owner of Proforma Graphic Services, which Business First ranked in its annual Book of Lists as the second largest Promotional Products Companies in central Ohio by 2010 revenue. In addition, Jared Cummins (Short North Chapter) is part of the sales staff at Proforma Graphic Services.  Jared can be reached at (614) 760-5800 x260 or via email at jared.cummins@proforma.com. Jeff can be reached at (614) 760-5800 or via email at jeff.skinner@proforma.com.

What About? Questions To Ask In Considering That Professional Services Franchise?

Whether you are considering investing a few thousand or a small fortune into a professional services franchise, you need to be well informed. You may never have all the information you want, but you can have the information you need if you get clarity on the following list of questions:

  • How much do I need to invest in the professional services franchise to get ramped up (considering initial franchise fees, training costs (including travel, lodging and meals), royalties owing for three to six months, equipment and supplies, licensure, as well as office rent and overhead)?
  • Realistically, how much can I make operating the professional services franchise business (net of ongoing royalties and ordinary and necessary expenses)?
  • Does my current skill set, education and experience translate well to the professional services franchise I am considering?
  • To what extent do I feel as if I have a reasonable understanding of professional services franchise I am considering?
  • In the short run, how many hours will I need to commit to effectively run the professional services franchise? In the long run, can I take advantage of economies of scale to grow the financial potential?
  • How long is the initial franchise term and what will it cost to renew the franchise rights?
  • How long has the franchisor been in business and to what extent do the leaders of the franchised business have experience working in this particular business?
  • How will owning this particular professional service franchise affect my stature in the business community in which I operate?
  • Are there any products or services I must buy from the franchisor? If yes, then how are they supplied and how much do they cost?
  • What are the terms and conditions under which the franchise relationship can be terminated (or renewed), and how many franchisees (and why) have left the system during the past few years?
  • What is the financial condition of the franchisor and any associated business operations?
  • What are the potential long-term prospects of the professional services franchise? Is there the potential that the entire system could be purchased by a larger entity? Is there the potential that the death or disability of the leaders of the professional services franchise could impair the potential?

It is important to note, this is not an exhaustive list of questions you should consider asking. Answers to these questions will uncover other lines of questions you should pursue. Nevertheless, this provides a good start.

Networking: The Key Ingredient To Professional Services Franchises

In business there is much that goes into being successful. No matter what franchise you own, it is more than just one thing that puts you on the map and keeps you there.

  • You need to not only be well capitalized, but also carefully manage cash flow.
  • You need to harness technology to the extent possible, integrating hardware, software, Internet, social media, and mobile telecommunication.
  • You need to not only find good people, but then also put them in the right position.
  • You need to have a good product or service which is competitively priced, with consistent quality, and delivered it in an effective manner.

And this list could go on. For professional services franchises there is an added key ingredient for success: Networking.  Most other businesses (franchised or otherwise) can rely on marketing and advertising to drive sales.  With white collar type franchises, however, business comes from cultivating relationships.

If you are considering a professional services franchise (or if you own one), you need to get yourself out amongst people, even if the opportunity is just a part time one. This networking encompasses many things, including (in no way limited to):

  • Attending business after hours, open houses, conferences and other networking events.
  • Volunteering with local charities, school activities or civic organizations (such as Toastmasters, Rotary, Kiwanis, etc.).
  • Joining (and becoming involved with) business organizations (such as Chambers, industry or trade associations and structured referral organizations).
  • Actively engaging in social media of all types (such as electronic newsletters, blogging, LinkedIn, Twitter and (even) Facebook).

All this networking may seem time consuming and pointless, at times. It isn’t. The people you meet and relationships you develop will score big dividends in the end.

Networking. It will create buzz about you and your franchise. It will develop word-of-mouth. It will generate quality business referrals. In summary, all that networking (even the seemingly time consuming and pointless stuff) will serve as a key ingredient for you professional services franchise success.