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2015

Franchising-Thumb.gifFor folks looking to be their own boss yet operate an established business model, franchising is an increasingly popular choice. According to the International Franchise Association, the number of units opened and employment growth in the sector continues to outpace the overall economy. Read on to see which industries are attracting the most interest, and who's buying franchises today.

 

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Tech_Solutions_body.jpgBy Jennifer Shaheen.


In a recent study from the SMB Group, a technology industry research and analysis group, 42 percent of small business owners reported having difficulty figuring out how different technology solutions could help their business. When a business owner can’t see how they would benefit from a tool, they don’t use it. That means they’re often left working without solutions that can deliver greater efficiency, productivity, or even sales. To help ensure that you’re making smart technology decisions, consider using the ROAR method to discern the value that a new tech solution can bring to your business:


(R)esearch

If you’re curious about a new technological solution and what it actually does, go to that company’s website. Any tech worth having will explain its intended benefits in some detail. Language to look for: anything referencing increased productivity, the ability to have remote team members work together, and enhanced data security. Also, search out the brand on social media, and pay particular attention to user reviews. Insights from other small business owners can often articulate a technology product’s real benefits.


Tech_Solutions_PQ.jpg(O)bservation

The next step is to take an objective look at your business, particularly in the areas where the new technological solution purports to be of the most value. Compare your current performance with your benchmark goals. If there’s room for improvement, further inquiry into the new technology is warranted.


(A)nalysis

If it appears the new technology will meet a need your small business has, it’s time to run the numbers. Will the projected increase in efficiency, productivity, or new business more than offset the cost of acquiring and maintaining the new technology? Make sure to factor in the cost of training your team to use the new technology. As a best practice, use conservatively optimistic numbers when making these projections; colleagues or other business owners who are already using the tool may be your best source for this information.


(R)ule

The final step is to look at all the information you’ve gathered, about the needs the new technology is designed to meet, your own business’s performance in these areas, and the cost-effectiveness of the tool. Then, whether or not you choose to adopt the new technology solution, you can move forward in confidence that you’ve made a fully informed decision.

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Touchpoint Media Inc. to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Touchpoint Media Inc. is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Touchpoint Media Inc. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.

©2015 Bank of America Corporation

 

franchise.jpgAccording to the International Franchise Association, franchises are expected to create 247,000 new jobs in 2015—a 2.9 percent jump over last year—and outperform every segment of the overall economy for the fifth year in a row. Beyond the larger impact on employment, the rewards of franchising your own business include helping to expand your brand, giving you access to a handsome amount of capital, and recruiting passionate, knowledgeable talent in a relatively fast timeframe. But the downside for the franchisor is a certain loss of control over the management of a particular site and taking a smaller cut of the profits. Read on to learn whether franchising is the right next step for your business.


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Thumb.jpgAdvice and insight from entrepreneurs who successfully sold or transferred their businesses to family members.

 

We feature the first-hand experiences of eight entrepreneurs from diverse industries who have tackled this critical transition. We are indebted to the Eugene Lang Entrepreneurship Center at Columbia Business School for collaborating with us on this project. And we are deeply grateful to the entrepreneurs who shared their stories with candor and graciousness.

 

As the following case studies attest, entrepreneurs encounter distinctive issues with every exit. Each situation is unique, reflecting the diversity of business owners and enterprises. One theme recurs, however: the magnitude of this transition. Selling or transferring a business has critical ramifications for an entrepreneur, his or her family, employees, and community. Entrepreneur Charles Scheidt aptly reflects, "building and nurturing a fascinating business is immensely demanding and ultimately satisfying. Letting go of it, selling it, is both a very difficult decision and a stressful process."

 

The most successful transitions require entrepreneurs to orchestrate finely tuned exits. But in a lifestyle that is already supercharged with responsibilities and deadlines, taking the time to initiate the planning process early is often neglected, a situation that can greatly affect the choices available and the ultimate value of a life's work. Without this planning, "business owners are often forced to exit on other people's terms."


To read the study, please download the PDF by clicking here.

Franchising_Concepts_body.jpgby Iris Dorbian.

Franchising has always been attractive to enterprising small business professionals. Not only does it give them an opportunity to own their own business without the burden of starting it from scratch, but it also helps them to do so while using a proven business model.

In the last five years, franchising has seen over 1,000 new brands come into existence, according to John Reynolds, president of the International Franchising Association Educational Foundation, the education arm of the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization for franchise professionals. And of that number, 38 percent were started in the last five years.

According to the IFA, here are the current top five franchising concepts: 

  • Health/fitness (i.e. gyms)
  • Frozen desserts (i.e. smoothies, frozen yogurt, etc.)
  • Retail foods (i.e. grocers, food markets)
  • Beauty-related (i.e. hair salons, nail salons)
  • Baked goods (i.e. bakeries, bagel shops, donut shops)

Reynolds says lifestyle trends among two key demographics—baby boomers and millennials—account for the surge in interest in these particular franchising segments.

Franchising_Concepts_PQ.jpg

“Two things are happening,” says Reynolds. “You have this demographic of older people who are living longer and healthier lives. They’re flowing into all of these health and fitness businesses.”

At the same time, millennials are getting their first jobs or starting their first business.  “For them, it’s all about a balance of life issues. It’s not unusual to have conversations with people in this group who say they get up every day at 5 a.m. so they can do their workouts for 90 minutes before they go to their jobs,” Reynolds says. “They work hard but they’re also focused on being healthy. They have more disposable income coming out of the recession and they’re spending it on two things—being  healthy and looking good.”

Given the size and spending power of these two demongraphic groups, Reynolds believes the franchising concepts going strong today have staying power. “Businesses don’t come into these markets unless there are demographics to support them,” he says.

For budding entrepreneurs, owning a franchise can be a great investment. But before signing on, it’s critical to do the proper due diligence. Speak with other franchisees to get their take on the business. And of course, read through all the supporting documentation to understand the costs involved upfront and what you’ll be paying in marketing fees down the road.

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Touchpoint Media Inc. to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Touchpoint Media Inc. is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Touchpoint Media Inc. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.

 

©2015 Bank of America Corporation

 

 

franchise.jpgAccording to the International Franchise Association Educational Foundation, more than 750,000 franchise establishments were in operation in 2014. Although the growth rate of new franchises lags pre-recession levels, buying into an established business model continues to attract small business hopefuls. The rewards of working with a respected franchisor can range from selling a well-known product or service in a proven niche to reaping a respectable return on investment. But some future franchisees overlook the downsides, fail to do enough research, and discover too late that the move was not for them. Before venturing into this business opportunity, read on to understand the questions and items to keep in mind.


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