Business

Hot Trends in Franchising

Technology has radically altered interactions between companies and customers, and customers’ expectations resulting in hot new trends in franchising.

In the education arena, franchises are looking bright this year. This sector is booming as people question the education their children are receiving at public schools and look to enhance the curriculum through online and offline tutoring services and enhancement programs. Kumon, The Goddard School, and Primrose schools are trending as they are equipped to handle the tech-savy generation – these tutoring services have modified their existing franchise models to meet the technological needs of the youth.

Another trend is the size of franchise units. The recession and the real estate market forced franchisers to reevaluate the size of their storefronts and units. This led to the redesign of storefronts as they have become sleeker, smaller, and more efficient.

Healthy fast food franchisors have also engaged in a significant redesign of their franchise models in order to stay consistent with the new trends.  Fast food restaurants like McDonalds and Taco Bell have offered “healthier” options in the past, but now the new healthy fast food franchisors are consciously focusing on truly healthy, organic, lifestyle foods; such as Freshii and LYFE Kitchen. 2Good2B franchise is even looking to launch gluten-free franchises. This trend is largely attributable to people’s expectations as healthy fast food is no longer a thing.

Patent Leaders from Across the Nation

Gone are the days where rapid innovation occurred solely in Silicon Valley. While California is still responsible for about 25% of new patents in the nation (the most of any state), many cities from coast to coast are industry leaders in innovation. Here are some cities that have been national leaders in a patent category for the filing of a utility patent (new invention/process) with the United States Patent and Trademark Office… […]

How Net Neutrality can Affect your Business

The way the system has worked is we connect to the internet through a internet service provider (ISP) who gives us the information we want without allowing preferential treatment to some websites. Massive companies like ESPN or Netflix, are treated with equal internet speeds as your small business. However, there have been recent developments in the legal field in a lawsuit between the FCC and Verizon in regards to allowing preferential treatment over neutrality.

The suit began when Verizon initiated a plan to sell tiered internet packages to their customers. The FCC wanted to block these tiered packages on a the theory of net neutrality, but the court denied the block. The court found that the FCC was attempting to impose common carrier utility regulations on a broadband service provider that is not officially classified under utilities. The hope is that the FCC can push net neutrality on a regulatory side.

Without neutrality, any ISP can slow down a certain company’s speed down and charge a premium for access to faster speeds. These large companies like ESPN or Netflix can afford to pay these premiums, but your small business could have trouble with these added costs. This would give the massive corporations a huge advantage over the little guy. The best way to compare this new tiered internet service is to look at your current cable or satellite tv service. The more you pay, the more channels you have access to. ISP companies want this system implemented with websites. So, if you want access to Facebook, Netflix, ESPN, Hulu, you will have to buy the “entertainment package.” If your website is not grouped in with some of these packages, then you will be very limited to the […]

Increase the Quality of the People You Hire

Every business owner obviously goes through the process of hiring new employees. Maybe you have a process that you have been using since starting your business, or maybe you don’t really have a clue or have never thought about refining your process. One thing is clear, it is a waste of time (and money) when you make a bad hire. A bad hire can hurt the morale of your business and affect sales or productivity. Use these simple tips to help you get it right the first time.

First, look at the people who currently work for you, and take note of the qualities that you believe make the workplace productive and efficient. These qualities could come from one single employee or from a group of employees. Either way, identify these star qualities and find an applicant that carries them.

Next, think about where you want your company to go, not just where the company is currently. When you post a job that you need filled, people send in their resumes. If you strictly focus on whats on the paper in front of you, then you might be able to hire someone who will fit your needs today, but will they be able to fit the needs of the future? Focus on finding someone for their potential to build your company into the future.

Third, and this may seem simple but go for a quality hire. Sure you may have to pay more money for a quality hire rather than the individual just looking for a paycheck, but having a workforce filled with quality employees will lead to you needing fewer employees.

Lastly, focus on exactly what the new hire will do for your company and what their role […]

Becoming Smartphone Friendly Will Increase Google Page Rank

In our increasingly mobile environment, many business owners, entrepreneurs now spend tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars in the development and branding of a website to promote their business and/or sell their products over the internet.  Thus, for the majority of business owners, entrepreneurs it is critically important that the website to show up high on Google’s smartphone search results in order to get a return on the investment.  As Google’s algorithms are always changing and being updated to determine what websites will hold those highly sought after first page results, one important factor to now consider is that if your website is not mobile phone friendly, it will have a detrimental effect your website’s page rank.

Google Smartphone ranking will take several things into account:

Over half of the U.S. population has a smartphone. Many people use their phones to connect to the internet in order to: surf the web, find restaurants, order this seasons most stylish shoes, or find a lawyer to trademark their business name, company’s services or products. Recently, Google has decided that they will start to demote websites in the search results that do not fix problems for mobile phone users. Problems that can affect page ranking is long loading times for your site on a phone, blank screens, and if your site utilizes Adobe Flash (which Android or iPhones do not show).

If you want to keep you website ranked high on Google’s search result, then take time to check how friendly your website is for mobile users. Make sure that clicking any link on the mobile site does not simply redirect the user to the same page, or that playing a video that uses up a lot of data […]

Competing On More Than Taste, How Branding Can Help You Compete With Bigger Companies

What brand of ketchup is in your pantry? What brand of ketchup is at your favorite restaurant? Odds are it was probably Heinz ketchup. It seems everywhere you go, if you want some ketchup, its going to be Heinz. This begs the question, can anyone compete with the Pittsburgh based company?

Former Brown University students Scott Norton and Mark Ramadan liked the idea of challenging one of the most popular brands in the world. They came to a realization that if they were to compete solely on the taste of the ketchup, they would lose. So they came up with a fictional character, Sir Kensington, to help them establish a strong brand identity. Sir Kensington is quite the fellow too, he attended Oxford University, gaining degrees in mercantile trade, agronomy, and culinary arts; he has hosted summits that attracted the who’s who of people across the globe; and he created his recipe from the scratch when Catherine the Great of Russia asked him for a side of ketchup at such a summit.

The former students marketed their ketchup under this interestingly savvy man as Sir Kensington’s Ketchup. This new ketchup was debuted at the New York’s Annual Fancy Foods Show in 2010 and the brand has taken off since. Within the first year, Sir Kensington’s sold 10,000 jars at nationwide at stores like Williams-Sonoma and Whole Foods. Today, sales for Sir Kensington’s have tripled since 2012 and can be found in over 3,000 stores and restaurants nationwide.

Sir Kensington’s may not be as big as Heinz yet, but the owners certainly feel like they are on their way and they did so by creating a strong and unique brand to their business. They realized that they needed to […]

Keys for an Innovative Company

What could be a surprise to some, Nike was seen as the most innovative companies in the last year. Normally one may think that the term “innovative company” would be reserved for the Apples and Microsofts of the world, however, the elite athletic company was seen as the king of innovation.

Nike has a way to encourage innovation for their product; have countless numbers of testing without any constraints. This may seem messy, exhaustive, and lead to numerous failures, but Nike was able to come out with two new hits, the FuelBand and the Flyknit Racer. The FuelBand tracts your movement throughout the day and gives you various stats, including how many calories you’ve burned. The Flyknit Racer is a shoe that is created from knit threading rather than multiple layers of fabric.

From these innovative products, Nike was able to break into the tech field of products and created a product that is not only more environmentally friendly, but also reduces production costs. The question is how to achieve such innovation. Nike’s key to push innovation before the competitors is with three key points:

You must go all in with full support:
Predict the Product’s Future
Guide the Workforce

Flyknit was not seen merely as a shoe, but a way to make shoes. Nike did something that was completely against their usual trend, but it worked because they believed in the change and supported from the start. For your company to be innovative, you have to fully support the ideas that you come up with, even though they may be against the norm.

While it is important to have an open mind when coming up with a new product, you also have to determine if there is a market for that […]

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