Chris Conner: Franchise Marketing

16 06 2017

Franchise Marketing Systems, Chris Conner PresidentAt the forefront of any good business model is a great marketing system.  Franchising is the art of duplication, so it makes sense that a solid franchise investment offers an excellent franchise marketing system.  The best franchises in the world are often closely correlated with the best marketing minds.  What effective franchise leaders have been able to do in their execution of a franchise development program is to define a target customer base, build strong messaging to that customer and build a plan to put the brand in front of that customer as frequently and efficiently as possible.  In the end it’s really pretty simple, the good franchises have marketing figured out.

When a business franchises, the effect of marketing, good or bad, has enormous consequences.  The Franchisor now must be concerned with not only the company’s overall success, but also the success of each franchisee who has invested into the system.  The results of a marketing campaign will create a positive or negative ROI for franchisees in the system and ultimately increase or decrease the valuation for the entire franchise business.  Marketing as a franchise therefore has exponential importance and requires innovative thinking, strategy and a clear plan of action.

  1. Good franchise brands have a great plan for marketing.  Think of the strongest brands in franchising on the market today, Dunkin Donuts, McDonalds, 7-11, Sport Clips or Anytime Fitness.  These brands all stand for something and say something in everything they do.  It is clear, concise and always ahead of the consumer curve.  They understand what drives their customer and know how to speak to them in a way that they will respond.  Dunkin Donuts dropped the reference to donuts in their logo years ago and transitioned to a coffee cup, Sport Clips understood that men wanted a hair care service that was tailored specifically for them and Anytime Fitness gets today’s fast-paced consumer lifestyle and the need for a quick workout solution.  All of these brands have great marketing plans where customers and franchisees alike invest in their systems due to the consistency of what they market to their customer base.
  2. Effective franchise marketing starts at the top, but finish at the local level.  You can’t have a great marketing plan and at the store level have different messaging going out to the customer.  Franchise marketing must be consistent at all levels.  The Marketing Fund and Franchisor decision making as it relates to the brand must be in the best interest of the entire system and ultimately be driving bottom line results for franchisees and operating units.  The regional cooperative marketing funds should be managed to best leverage regional presence and economies of scale between units in a given area.  Local franchise marketing needs to be well-planned, structured and targeted so that the customer’s perception of the marketing message is consistent from top to bottom.
  3. The Marketing strategy needs to be numbers driven.  Media placement should be facilitated by the franchisor and the management who should understand the perspective of the franchisee.  Ultimately, bottom line ROI is what the franchisee is most concerned with, but the Franchisor should also understand where the franchisee is in their life-cycle of the business.  Investing in long-term SEO doesn’t make sense for a franchisee in their first month of business when they need to see cash flow and instant results for their new business.  The franchisor should understand how to not only get solid results, but to help the franchisee through all stages of their business’ development.  Good franchisors are communicating regularly with franchisees and sharing insight to how best to move the needle on customer acquisition.

Chris Conner and Franchise Marketing Systems work with franchise businesses to design, develop and implement franchise marketing programs.  For more information on how to support and grow your franchise marketing mechanisms, contact us:  info@FranchiseMarketingSystems.com

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How to Franchise: Good to Great

15 12 2016

how to franchise your business with Chris ConnerWhat makes the difference between a good business and a great business?  There are so many good businesses out there, why do most of them level off at “good” and never transition to “great”.  In our experience working with businesses and helping determine whether a brand should expand through franchising, this discussion and the dynamics of this scenario are reviewed many times over.  Really, any business that is even considering franchising tends to be a “good” business.  They have proven their model has some merit, their value proposition has some unique differentiation from the rest of the market and the leadership behind the brand has vision for growth and scale.  Most of these businesses don’t have what it takes to franchise, but certainly would be considered good businesses by most.  These factors are some of the key indicators from our perspective which delineate good from great:

  1. Great businesses have great systems.  Generally good “systems” means overall processes, technology and duplicatable processes.  A business with good systems operates using numbers and ratios and although the brand may instill emotion, the business operates with very little feeling or thought, it just functions.  Evidence of great systems can be found in a business by how technology is used to manage the day to day business.  Is there an online ordering system?  How does the customer interact with the brand via digital mediums?  What sorts of accounting and bookkeeping systems are in place and how accurate are the financial records?  What about transaction and customer management technology, is there a system in place that the leadership stands behind and the employees embrace?  I once met a successful investor who told me he made a mistake investing in a business one time because he found that they had great technology and state of the art systems, his mistake was not realizing that no one was using the technology.  Great businesses leverage systems and use technology to make their processes consistent, customer experiences great and be able to duplicate the business model in it’s entirety.
  2. Great Businesses Have a Brand.  “Brand” is so overused that it gets tiring to talk about and hear the word so often, but it does mean something and it does carry weight when considering what makes a business Great.  Good businesses have a logo, a website, a brochure and a tagline.  Great businesses have an energy that instills emotion and creates a feeling.  It is a complete strategy that combines all marketing tools and strategies which unite to send a message to the customer without speaking.  A great brand is often confused with something that more people know of or have heard about.  In reality, a great brand could be known in a very small market and a no-so-great brand could have more exposure.  To build a great brand, there needs to be time, energy and focus put into what the company stands for and understanding what is the true mission of the business.  Once the brand is developed, then there needs to be execution to bring the brand to reality and build the tools that appropriately convey this brand to the consumer.  What’s the power of a strong Brand?  Look at Shinola – a brand developed by extremely brand-conscious and intelligent businessman Tom Kartsotis, who also is the founder of the Fossil brand.  Fossil makes a watch that sells for $100 – $150, Shinola makes a watch that sells for $750-$1,000, both are technically manufactured in the same factories using many of the same parts.  Shinola has created a brand that instills a feeling and passion in people which in turn gets people to pay 8-10 times more for the same product.
  3. Great Businesses have Great People.  Having great people in an organization is positive for the obvious reasons such as more able-bodied leaders and hands on deck pushing the business forward.  But what having great people also indicates is that the business and leadership are developing people and supporting the empowerment of the staff.  There is a great book by John C. Maxwell called “How Successful People Lead” that references solid leaders as people who develop others and support their success as one of the stages of leadership development.  This is not only a skill, but also a willingness to share intellectual property and help others which is ultimately one of the most important characteristics in determining whether a business is Great.  Certainly, this plays an enormous role when considering whether to franchise a business as franchisees are the epitome of people looking for support in being developed.

Christopher Conner
Chris.Conner@FMSFranchise.com
Franchise Marketing Systems
www.FranchiseMarketingSystems.com





Buying a Franchise – Knowing What You Are Buying

2 08 2016

Christopher Conner Buying a FranchiseMy consulting firm, Franchise Marketing Systems helps businesses become franchise models. Over the past several years, I have purchased franchises as part of my work in the industry. It has been interesting to say the least to see the other side of the relationship as a franchisee. Buying a franchise can be a confusing, scary and enormously time consuming process. All of this many times leads to bad decision making as people skip steps and tend to jump into something that maybe wasn’t the best business decision to begin with. The irony of it all is that franchising is by nature a business model that helps entrepreneurs and investors avoid unnecessary risk and skip the learning curve through a proven and validated business model. The buying process provides many of the same benefits just by the simple fact that the franchise legal process requires certain disclosures and information to be presented to a franchisee prior to their making a buying decision. So what can you do in researching your franchise investment to help avoid the pitfalls of a bad investment and find the shining star of an investment you’ve been looking for?

First, do your research. Good business people take their time. Haven’t you heard the saying that Warren Buffett had about his investing strategies, “Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” It’s always nice to read things that rich people have said and sound so obvious when you hear them, but the idea here is to look at your franchise investment process as a long term decision. This needs to be planned out, thought through and really understood before you should take action. Do market research, search the industry detail and information to know who is out there and what the consumer market looks like for your potential product or service. If you are going into Tax Preparation as a potential franchise, understand the major players and who is good at what so you know where your brand will fit and what your value proposition would be to the market.

Second, know your rights as a franchisee. The beauty of the franchise investment is that the information is all there for you. Franchise investment law is overseen by the Federal Trade Commission and other state governing bodies, California is the Department of Business Oversight, New York is the New York Department of Law and etc. These governing bodies require that certain information is available to you as a buyer through a Franchise Disclosure Document and that the FDD is reviewed by that particular state’s administrators before the franchise may be offered to people in that market. This means in some cases that the franchise documentation is available through several of the state regulator’s websites and also that the FDD should have been reviewed by the state agency where the franchise is being considered for purchase.

Third, take the FDD to a qualified franchise consultant or franchise attorney to review the document with you and actually provide feedback as to what the franchise offering means to you. Knowing the business and how to read the franchise literature will help you do your analysis. The FDD contains information that relates to other franchisees who are both in the system and who have failed as franchisees. It also will contain information related to the fee structure, initial investment and background on the organizations behind the franchise model.

Fourth, make calls to people who are both in the franchise system and who have failed in the franchise system. There is no excuse! Having conversations….or even meetings with people who have already walked in your footsteps will provide you with the most accurate picture of this franchise investment possible. With the information you have now, you should be able to map out a business model and create a picture of what this franchise is capable of.

For more information on how to buy a franchise, contact Christopher Conner with Franchise Marketing Systems
Chris.Conner@FMSFranchise.com





Atlanta Franchise Tradeshow 2016

6 07 2016

Franchise Marketing Systems, Atlanta Franchise Show, Christopher ConnerFranchise Marketing Systems will be sponsoring the September 2016 Franchise Expo held in Atlanta on 9/24 and 9/25.  The Atlanta franchise show is one of the countries strongest small market shows and will be this fall’s largest franchise marketing event.  The Atlanta franchise show consistently draws a large volume of franchise buyers to the event primarily from the Southeastern United States.  In developing effective franchise marketing campaigns, Tradeshows have always been a key aspect to any franchise development model and in today’s technology driven marketplace maybe even more so than ever before.

Tradeshows are the epitome of a solid marketing opportunity from the standpoint that most of the franchise lead generation options and used are web-based, electronic and not conducive to strong relationship building.  The franchise Trade show can be a powerful marketing tool where the franchisor is able to meet the franchise buyer face to face, shake hands, discuss the business and make a complete presentation of the franchise’s value proposition.  Tradeshows create energy and offer excitement to both the franchise buyer and the franchisor exhibiting at the event.  This energy can be leveraged to drive a meeting to a next serious discussion with a higher percentage of the franchise leads and ultimately a higher percentage of closed franchise sales.

The Atlanta franchise show creates a unique opportunity in that the Atlanta market has been a lynchpin in the Southeastern Franchise Market and drives much of the industry trends and growth patterns throughout the region.  Despite this being a significant marketing event, the Franchise Marketing Systems pavilion allows franchisors to exhibit at the show for the low investment of $1,700 for a (1/2) booth combined with additional benefits associated with the pavilion arrangement.  Franchisors marketing at the show will generally leave the show with 100-150 leads per booth exhibitor providing for a average cost per lead of under $15 making this one of the most economical and impactful franchise marketing events possible.

For more information on the Atlanta Franchise Show or how to take part in the Franchise Marketing Systems Pavilion, contact us.   info@FranchiseMarketingSystems.com

Christopher Conner will be presenting at the show on how to make the transition from employee to franchisee in addition to conducting a workshop on how to franchise your business.

Show Details:

Atlanta, GA

Cobb Galleria

September 24th and 25th, 2016

 

 





How to Grow Your Small Business

30 06 2016

Hiring-for-Small-BusinessI am a small business owner, Conner and Associates, LLC, DBA Franchise Marketing Systems, based in Atlanta, GA.   I fight the same fight you do every day of every week of every month.  Sometimes it seems like all odds are against you being successful and you just can’t do anything right.  Government regulations don’t seem to help the small business owner much, more so they favor the big corporations with money for lobbyists.  Money is tough to come by as lenders look at small businesses as being higher risk in most cases.  All that being said, I wouldn’t change a thing and love every minute of being a small business owner.  My business, Franchise Marketing Systems has been fortunate to experience growth every year we’ve been in business.  We have definitely had our set backs and trip ups along the way, but in the end, it has been exciting and is exciting to see your hard work come to fruition.

So how do you grow your small business and what can you do to experience the thrill of building something for yourself?  First, you need to have a marketing plan.  In most businesses it’s pretty simple math to start the process, figure out how much money it costs you to generate new business, what increases in customers do you see when you spend more money on marketing?  If you are a service business you can probably come up with a number using math such as, “last year I spent $10,000 on marketing and obtained 10 new clients.  Therefore, my cost of new client acquisition is $1000.”  Once you’ve determined this number you can come up with a budget depending on how much you would like to grow your business revenues by.  As might seem obvious, this is a critical peice of your small business growth strategy.

Now that you have a budget, you need to determine where you are getting your return.  Say you spent $10,000, $5,000 on Internet, $3,000 on tradeshows and $2,000 on direct mail, and your clients all came through Internet marketing, your growth strategy should probably focus on web marketing moving forward. By defining your marketing mix, you should be able to generate more business per dollar spent on marketing and see an increase in overall marketing spend efficiency. The marketing mix should always be reviewed on a regular basis to continually analyze where the dollars should be spent and how best to drive customer traffic into your business. If you are wondering, yes, this might require a new job position for someone who could manage the marketing spend and oversee this constantly evolving advertising strategy. One way you can continually track results on this is to assign unique numbers and emails to each campaign in order to find out where the calls/leads are coming from in any given marketing campaign.

When you have the marketing mix somewhat defined, then it’s time to understand how well you are converting these leads and whether your sales people, sales process and overall value proposition are doing the trick. Sales closing rates can vary greatly depending on the industry segment, the price point you sell at and other variables, but you should be able to define what these numbers should look like with a small amount of research. The person who answers the phone, the greeter who meets new customers at the door, the opening introduction given to each customer all will have an impact on how successful the rate of conversion from lead to customer might be. At my company, Franchise Marketing Systems, we have several people who answer the phones, a franchise specialist, a franchise associate, The closer you review these processes and analyze how these portions of your sales process are working, the better you will understand how to effectively grow your small business.

When it “clicks”, you will realize that the ability to grow your business in most cases is directly in your hands and in your control. Only you as the business owner have the ability to make these decisions as to what your budget should be and where you want to allocate your marketing dollars. When you are able to grasp how much in control of this aspect of your business you really are, the opportunities for upward expansion will seem endless and business ownership can be fun again!

Christopher Conner

Franchise Marketing Systems

www.FranchiseMarketingSystems.com





Leveraging Technology to Franchise Your Business

19 05 2016

banner-technologyBusinesses that turn to franchising as a way to expand their brand into new markets generally have a significant learning curve they must overcome as they learn how to manage the responsibilities of franchising and franchise expansion.  A new franchisor is like a new business owner who is learning the ways, processes and steps they must take to deal with customers, overcome obstacles and effectively grow the business.  What’s new about franchising to most business owners is the responsibility that comes with scaled growth and opening new locations in new markets with the addition of Franchisees in the fold.  With the never-ending expansion of technology in all aspects of business and life, franchising certainly has seen it’s reliance on technology and systems increase exponentially as well.  Perhaps in franchising more than most businesses, technology has taken on a new meaning as to how critical good tech is to the successful growth of a franchise.

Technology is a broad term, it could mean mobile technology, web marketing, operating systems, sales management systems or financial management systems, so where does it fit into franchising?  The truth is everywhere, but there are some key categories that every franchise system should be acutely aware of in order to best take advantage and scale more efficiently.

  1. Sales and marketing technology – every good franchise system needs to have a solid franchise sales CRM in order to manage the large influx of leads and effectively oversee the development of these leads into franchise sales. Typical franchise sales take in excess of 150 leads to convert, a good technology platform is critical to the success of this model. We like Leadmaster, which Franchise Marketing Systems worked together to create a franchise specific CRM (http://www.franchisemarketingsystems.com/services/franchise-crm/).
  2. Loyalty marketing and franchisee lead management systems – every good franchisor has a lead development and loyalty marketing platform that is inherent to the franchise brand. This should be leveraged and provided to franchisees in order to help them grow and develop their customer base. We like Scorpion’s franchise platform (https://www.scorpion.co/franchise-marketing/)
  3. Operations and logistics management software – a good system needs a management tool to operate the day to day business efficiently.   A technology platform that allows franchisees to manage the day to day schedule, oversee territory management and facilitate the logistics of inventory and supply management. Different systems work for different industry segments, but Franchise Marketing Systems likes ServiceCEO for service platforms (www.ServiceCEO.com) and for retail operations, Revel (www.RevelSystems.com)

For more information on how to incorporate technology into your franchise model and more effectively franchise your business, contact us:

Christopher Conner

Chris.Conner@FMSFranchise.com





Franchise Marketing Systems – Dallas Franchise Show

5 05 2016

Dallas Franchise Show Franchise Marketing Systems Chris ConnerFranchise Marketing Systems will be exhibiting at the Dallas, TX franchise exposition on 5/14 and 5/15/2016.  The Dallas franchise show is expected to be a strong showing as the Dallas market is considered to be one of the strongest in the U.S. for franchise industry growth and expansion across a variety of franchise fields.  The show is put on by the National Franchise and Business Opportunities Show group who conducts 15-20 shows per year throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Franchise Marketing Systems exhibits at 32 shows per year in most major markets (http://www.franchisemarketingsystems.com/contact/franchise-events/)

The Dallas show will be held at the following venue:

Dallas Market Hall

North Hall

2200 Stemmons Freeway

Dallas, Texas, 75207

For free tickets to the event, email us:  info@franchisemarketingsystems.com

Christopher Conner with Franchise Marketing Systems will be presenting at the show on how to make the transition from employee to business owner:

http://www.franchiseshowinfo.com/dallas/visitor/show-features/seminar-schedule/