Saturday, May 31, 2008

Extracurricular Activities for Children May Represent Franchising Opportunity

Apparently, many parents are turning to private businesses to find activities for their children. The reason appears to be that some of these activities are disappearing from schools as they try to save money on "extras" such as music or art. This has provided an opportunity for businesses who want to focus on enrichment for children. According to this article, for some entrepreneurs the franchising route is the way to do this: "For Janice and Dave Morreira, 41 and 52, respectively, it allowed them to make their foray into the children's gymnastics and fitness business even though they didn't have formal training in fitness or children's development.By choosing a franchise, "I could combine something I love doing with children and also contribute my knowledge of [HR], accounting and operations," says Janice, who started her first The Little Gym with her husband, Dave, in 2003. They've since opened another location for combined sales of $1.7 million last year, as well as two more locations in late 2007 and early 2008, all in the San Francisco Bay Area."

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Arizona Marketing For Women in North Phoenix

A new forum of business professionals may provide women-owned Arizona franchises a great opportunity for networking which is essential for any business particularly in a downturn economy where any affordable marketing effort should not be passed. According to their site, Team Women™ " is about celebrating successes of each member and working together to create more prosperous businesses for everyone. The purpose of Team Women is for each member to provide highly qualified referrals to other members in their chapter. A qualified lead is one in which the person being referred is expecting to hear from the Team Women member and has provided all of his/her contact information." The newest chapter is located in North Phoenix, AZ and each chapter is limited to 30 women so that the forum can achieve a balance that provides business leads, but is still intimate enough for women to actually develop meaningful relationships.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The UFOC and the Arizona Franchisee

The Uniform Franchise Offering Circular or (UFOC) as it is commonly referred may seem like a standard boilerplate document to some franchisees but it is very important. Not every UFOC (now typically referred to as the FDD or Federal disclosure document) is standard though many of the provisions may vary from franchise to franchise. The UFOC or FDD discloses many of the important issues regarding the role and responsibilities of the Franchisee. For more information on navigating this intricate document, you should consult with a franchise attorney especially if you are in Arizona or California and you can read more here.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Franchise Tax Board warns of Online Scams

Taxpayers are being warned by the Franchise Tax Board of two scams involving the tax board and identity theft. According to this article, "The first scam involves an e-mail "phishing" for taxpayer data." This type of scam works by attempting "to lure people into revealing personal and financial information, such as Social Security, bank account or credit card numbers, which may be used to steal that taxpayer's identify."
Another scam "involves a phony letter informing the taxpayer his or her tax return may be audited. The letter refers the taxpayer to a fake FTB address in Georgia. Both the e-mail and the letter contain misspellings and grammatical errors."
Taxpayers who receive such information should contact the FTB at 800.852.5711.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Arizona Small Business Association to Spotlight and Support Successful Second-stage Companies

ASBA (the Arizona Small Business Association) CEO Joan Koerber-Walker announced today that ASBA and Comerica Bank have joined forces to shine a spotlight on Arizona-based,
second-stage companies that are generating new jobs and sustaining business growth, according to this article. "To qualify, companies must be privately-owned "second stage" companies. Second-stage companies employ between 10 - 100 employees with $1M to $100M in revenues,
while creating jobs and growing sales through innovative products, services
and practices." The effort means more than recognition. According to Meredith Russell, president of Comerica Bank in Arizona, "This new agreement represents a great opportunity for us to not only recognize but also provide resources for entrepreneurs and growing
companies in Arizona, one of the fastest-growing economies in the U.S.."

District Judge Puts Paralegal Franchises Under Fire

According to this article, state District Judge Bobby Flores, said it isn't the first time he's run into problems with clients of document preparation services. "(The customers) pay them money," he said from the bench immediately after de Luna (in one case) left the courtroom. "And then they come here frequently unready for their cases." Two McAllen franchise businesses - Documents and More and the now defunct We the People - are the two most egregious offenders, he said. They are also the targets of Dyar's lawsuit. "Cindy Dyar, an attorney with Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid, alleges such companies go much further than enabling clients who probably shouldn't be representing themselves." State statutes prohibit anyone without a license from giving legal advice. But the law turns hazy when it comes to document preparation services. Such companies are allowed if they make clear that their aid is no substitute for the advice of an attorney. This underscores the reason if you need to protect your business or individual assets or just to have peace of mind to seek the services of a licenced attorney which in many cases, may not be prohibitively expensive to justify cutting corners in the first place.

Phoenix Entrepreneur Considers Franchising to Expand Business in Car Crazy Phoenix

Gary Shapiro is the founder and owner of Auto Vault – a secure storage facility for cars and motorcycles. According to this article, : "Auto Vault has become very successful very quickly. "We opened in the fall of 2004 with zero customers," he said. "And now we are looking for more space because we are looking after 400 cars." He started out in the neckwear business before pursuing his passion. "I've always been a car guy, I collected cars, I always drove nice cars," he said. "Even my neckwear showroom was decorated with about 1,000 model cars." The idea for Auto Vault struck him when he was offering a customer a great deal on a Bentley. "He said to me: 'Oh, the money's no problem,' " Shapiro recalled. " 'But where would I put the damn thing?'"In summer when many of the exotic cars are being enjoyed, Shapiro can often make room for vacationers who don't want to leave their cars in the driveway while away.
As his space rapidly fills up as Auto Vault continues to grow, Shapiro is looking to expand. "He's even spoken to people about franchises in the U.S., including south Florida and Phoenix." "Phoenix is a car-crazy town," he said. "And there they have to protect their cars from the summer, not the winter."

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mothers find Franchising Balance Between Work And Family

Liz Norwood is one of many mothers who have found a place at home and in franchising. According to this article, "For a long time, women only had two choices - work or raise a family," she says. "Women who decide to have a baby often have intentions of returning to work after a certain amount of time. But there were few options." So Norwood and three other "new moms" started a new company called 10 til 2 back in 2003 in Denver. The company is a staffing and personnel organization. "As you might expect, the 10 til 2 franchise has been extremely popular with moms who are eagerly becoming franchisees and with the many part-time employees the franchise places in jobs. Norwood says the corporate staff is comprised entirely of women, most with children."

Thursday, May 8, 2008

More foreign Investment Wanted in Arizona

According to this article, the weaker dollar means that economic investment groups are taking steps to attract foreign investment to Arizona. Jeff Morhet, chief executive of InNexus, said he is "happy with the company's investment in Arizona. The company operates labs in a research building at the Mayo Clinic in north Scottsdale, where technicians are developing antibodies to help fight cancer and other diseases. Arizona offered what the company needed, including a skilled work force, and the company plans to expand beyond its 31 employees, Morhet said." He believes that "There are greater resources available to technology companies in Arizona than most people give it credit for."

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

How a Famous Franchisor Got His Start in Retirement

Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) is one of the most famous franchises in the world, but many may not be aware how this global franchise got its start. This article, has a great synopsis on how Harland Sanders, named an honorary Kentucky colonel, was able to build a global franchise from the humble beginnings in a modest gas station kitchen in Kentucky. "After a fire, he rebuilt with a restaurant and hotel that were popular with travelers—until a new interstate highway diverted traffic away from the spot. Sanders, then in his 50s, hung up his apron and prepared for retirement. Convinced there was a larger market for his secret-recipe chicken, he set about selling it to restaurant owners door-to-door." Sanders sold his interest in the U.S. company in 1964 when he was 74. The famous logo recently changed for the fourth time in 50 years a couple of years ago. According to this article, "The company unveiled a new brand logo Tuesday that includes bolder colors and a more well-defined visage of the late Kentucky Fried Chicken founder, who will keep his classic black bow tie, glasses and goatee. This change gives us a chance not only to make sure we stay relevant but also communicates to customers the realness of Colonel Sanders and the fact that he was a chef,” said Gregg Dedrick, president of KFC’s U.S. division.

Open Air Centers -New Arizona Business Trend

New Arizona malls are hoping that a new misting system will help shoppers beat the heat as humidity rises and temperatures reach 110 degrees. According to this article, some Arizona businesses are hoping that the Phoenix outdoor lifestyle centers will boost shopping: "Much like some outdoor malls near Detroit and Cleveland have equipped themselves with heated sidewalks to draw shoppers during the winter, Valley outdoor centers have prepared to face scorching summers with shade screens, gazebos, strategically placed trees and fountains that allow shoppers." Some feel this will make indoor malls with their heavy use of air conditioning, a thing of the past. "Phoenix developer Jim Pederson, whose company, the Pederson Group, co-developed the Promenade at Casa Grande, said he believes lifestyle centers are popular because most shoppers enjoy being outdoors. "Retail has gone full circle and is getting back to open-air shopping," he said. "There is a certain environment you just can't duplicate with an indoor mall."

Monday, May 5, 2008

Two of the Largest Franchised US Food Chains in the Mid-1950s

Did you know, according to this article, at the time Ray Kroc began franchising McDonald's restaurants in the mid-1950s, the two largest franchised food chains in the United States both specialized in ice cream: Dairy Queen and Tastee-Freez.

Service Businesses a More Affordable Path for Franchise Ownership-Opportunities for California Franchisees

Service business may provide a more affordable point of entry for those lacking the funds that were previously available through home equity loans. According to this article, local franchise consultant Cheri Carroll claims that "While a franchised sandwich shop may cost $120,000 or more for the build-out and equipment, or $300,000 for a retail shop, a service business can cost as little as $20,000 to get started, with almost no overhead." Potential California Franchisees may find potential businesses in the following areas: "Some growing service businesses among San Diegans are Gurnee, Ill.-based BrightStar Healthcare and Sandy, Utah-based Spectrum Home Services, which offer nonmedical services to seniors such as running errands and yard cleaning."

Sunday, May 4, 2008

A Mentor May Help You Grow a Better Franchise

We don't often think of it in this context, but finding a mentor may be an excellent way of improving your franchise in a tough market. According to this article, " Successful mentorship can be in any number of forms: online or in-person, in both formal and informal settings, on a temporary or long-term basis, and between individuals or in groups. What is essential, experts say, is direction, dedication, and openness." We may be used to thinking of mentorship as a strategy for the very young. Attorney Maria Speth who is 43 went for an interview four years ago at Jaburg Wilk in Phoenix and has had a beneficial mentor relationship with the firm's founder and managing partner, Gary Jaburg for years. "It has also helped boost her efficiency: She estimates she spends 90% of her time working directly for clients, making more money for the firm." The article recommends that : "To be sure your time as a mentee is fruitful, experts recommend setting specific goals at the outset and revisiting them along the way, as well as looking for a mentor who has traveled the career path you seek and has the skills you need, instead of seeking out a mentor whom you like for personal reasons. " Franchisees may want to turn to retirees or " business leaders seeking to improve their managerial skills" as possible mentors.

Ongoing Training & Support Help Build Successful Franchises

One of the benefits of starting a franchise rather than a start-up business from scratch is that it allows the potential franchisee to start with a recognized brand name and also obtain the type of training that has proven effective over time for the chosen business. Any seasoned and successful business owner will admit to having learned from mistakes early in the business and a franchisee often has the benefit of not having to go through so much trial and error. Franchisors who don't provide good training and support to their franchisees can see their franchises wane over time and also create unnecessary ill will among existing franchisees. Good training and ongoing support benefits the franchise as a whole and individual franchises. It can also provide franchisees with peace of mind to make an investment in an established business even if they have not had much business experience. This is especially true for young entrepreneurs. Good training programs should be ongoing and provide details about the business products and services, information on accounting, services and inventory and tips for handling lease and other negotiations to make sure that local and state laws affecting the industry are followed and the proper licensing secured among other factors.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Going Green Good For Environment and Franchisors

Franchisor FOCUS Brands has found that reducing paper has not only helped the environment, but has lead to substantial savings. According to this article, "companies that reduce or eliminate paper-driven processes not only help the environment but also help their bottom line by improving productivity, increasing compliance, reducing storage costs and eliminating time lost to misfiled information and disorganization." FOCUS Brands Inc. is the franchisor and operator of over 2,100 ice cream stores, bakeries, restaurants, and cafes under the brand names Carvel®, Cinnabon®, Schlotzsky’s®, Moe’s Southwest Grill®, and the franchisor of Seattle’s Best Coffee® on military bases and in certain international markets. "FOCUS Brands is a prime example of a company that is not significantly different from healthcare, finance or any other type of business – in that it handles confidential information. The multi-brand organization manages legal affairs, finance, audits, private franchisee and personnel records, etc. in house and, as a result, has to securely and efficiently manage, store, access and responsibly dispose of confidential information. For companies across all industries, paper retention and disposal drives up operating expenses and slows productivity."