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    12 Replies Latest reply on Aug 4, 2008 1:19 PM by bwise08

    Planning to expand - advice/comments from forum members

    Bridge Navigator

      I am planning to expand my business brokerage business and would like some advice/feedback from forum members. I currently run/own Bridge Ventures, LLC, a business brokerage company in Florida.

       


      I would like to expand my business (nationally) without franchising and without directly hiring employees. One or two companies use a license set-up and there are several franchise companies.

       


      My thoughts were to charge a monthly license fee and an override commission on all transactions made. For the fee, the licensee would receive: use of the trade name, software I developed, operating procedures, forms, marketing material, on-going support, etc.

       


      Q: What is the best structure for offering a web presence to licensees?

       

      • 1) add people to my site as "associates"
      • 2) create a new master site listing all people (w/short bios) and a list of offices (that are independently owned)
      • 3) number two above but have a link to people's individual site ; each office would have its own website

       

      In short, should "Bridge Ventures" be one site with many associates or should each licensee have their own site; i.e. Bridge Ventures of Phoenix, Bridge Ventures of Dallas, etc. What would you prefer? The marketing presence of a larger looking organization or the autonomy of an individual site?

       


      What are the +/- of each way from both a legal and business perspective?

       


      Thanks in advance.

       


      Greg
        • Re: Planning to expand - advice/comments from forum members
          lalithabrahma Adventurer
          You seem to be needing help with legal aspects and buisness solutions. I am not sure if you would like operate in different state. You might want to check gosmallbiz.com.This website may be overwhelming. But I would recommend becoming a legal services and Business Plan member by which you can have access to lawyers and business consultant.

          For educational series on protecting your family and growing your buisness peacefully visit www.lalithabrahma.com
            • Re: Planning to expand - advice/comments from forum members
              Bridge Navigator
              I am less concerned with the legal aspects and more concerned with:

              1) perceived and real value to licenses
              2) perceived and real value to clients
                • Re: Planning to expand - advice/comments from forum members
                  JVCruz Adventurer
                  Hi Bridge. Here's my thoughts on the matter:

                  I would have a master site with a search or link to Associates in the area (i.e. Phoenix, Dallas, etc.). Those that signed up to be your Associate will have a listing on the master site with their information. Adding an option for a link to their site may be considered. If you have the Associates have their own site, you would want some level of control as to its design since, in part, they would be representing not only themselves, but your company as well. Using only a master site will give you that control in Quality Assurance as it relates to the site design. Have in place, too, a definite "Terms and Conditions" for both your Associates and user's of the site.

                  Hope this helps.
                  1 of 1 people found this helpful
                    • Re: Planning to expand - advice/comments from forum members
                      Bridge Navigator
                      Thanks for the imput JV. If I were to link to individual sites, I would create and host the sites - to ensure branding continutiy and quality standards.

                      Would it be "worth more" i.e. justify the monthly license fee if they had their own site?
                        • Re: Planning to expand - advice/comments from forum members
                          Iwrite Pioneer
                          Would it be worth more?
                          It would depend on the amount of freedom they have with their sites. If they all look and say the same thing, what is the benefit of having an individual site over being feature with a small blurb about me on the main site?

                          I really like that you used the word "perceived" earlier, because that is the huge question: what is the perceived value for having your own site instead of being listed on the main website?

                          How would you sell that? What are the advantages and will it bring me more profits? How you answer these and other questions will help to manage the perception issues.

                          It really depends on the message you put forth as to how things are perceived.
                          1 of 1 people found this helpful
                            • Re: Planning to expand - advice/comments from forum members
                              Bridge Navigator
                              Individual sites would allow for some customization and strengthen the concept that they own their own business (which I like for legal/liability reasons).

                              Being part of the "netwok" allows them to project the image of being a larger company which could help in obtaining clients.

                              Can I achevie both objective with one master site? One site would be easier to maintain but I think it might be easier to justify monthly fees if they are paying for their own site?
                                • Re: Planning to expand - advice/comments from forum members
                                  Iwrite Pioneer
                                  Then tell the "make it your own story."

                                  Highlight the benefits and freedoms it give the person. Be honest in your communication - I tell clients all the time, "if you deal with an objection up front there is less possibility of you having to defend against it later." Develop a list of benefits for being part of the "network" and build the story around those points.

                                  If you are going for the perception of a larger company then make sure the look and feel of everything you hand out or present conveys that also. A tight presentation will help to foster this along.

                                  I am also glad you mentioned shepherding the brand - a style guide will clearly communicate everything in an easy to understand manner.
                                  • Re: Planning to expand - advice/comments from forum members
                                    JVCruz Adventurer

                                    I still think that having a Master site works best.

                                    Take for instance Coldwell Banker's site www.coldwellbanker.com. It has a detailed site with listings and services offered. It, then, has a contact search for an agent. Once they select the area that they are looking for, a list of agents with links to their Profile, Listings, and Contact Info is presented along with a picture of the agent. Providing only an email address (agent@bridge*.com) would give added value and there wouldn't be a need to host an individual Associate's site (but could be an option for those that don't already have one -- of course, along with an added fee).

                                     


                                    As far as the proper rate or fee to charge to be an Associate really depends on everything you are offering and if it justifies the rate. You don't want to make it too high to scare off potential associates, and yet, not too low that you get everyone out of the wood-work. Remember, it's also your company's perceived reputation that will be on the line.

                                     


                                    Hope this helps.

                                • Re: Planning to expand - advice/comments from forum members
                                  JVCruz Adventurer

                                  I think it would be a great value added to what you are offering. This way, there is no need for the Associate to change there existing site (maybe a little logo or trademark showing their association with your company). It would also give them the freedom to work on promoting your site on their end, in essence, promoting your company exposure even more.

                                  Are you going to have as part of the package, besides the support, a video training or in-person training? Have you already created the business model in print format (electronic or printed)? Is the fee a one time fee or an on-going fee (i.e. annual, monthly, etc.)?

                                  I would, if no in-person training is going to be offered, have an Associates only section. There you could have downloads available, manuals on your software, success stories, live support (i.e. chat) or phone numbers, account and profile, video training, sound clips, etc. The possibilities are endless.

                                   


                                  All would add great value. Best of luck.

                                  1 of 1 people found this helpful
                          • Re: Planning to expand - advice/comments from forum members
                            LUCKIEST Guide
                            Planning to expand, Sounds interesting.

                            Since you are a member of the Association of Professional Merger & Acquisition Advisors (APMAA),
                            you should value our answers and also a Legal answer.
                            Everybody in business should have both a Lawyer and an Accountant.

                            If I was planning to expand I would talk to both of them, also develop a Business Plan
                            and seek out SCORE. SCORE is a great FREE resource.

                            Good luck, LUCKIEST
                            • Re: Planning to expand - advice/comments from forum members
                              bwise08 Newbie
                              Hi Greg,
                              I believe before you decide how to expand I think you first need to determine what you what Bridge Ventures, LLC. to mean nationally. Do you want your goals, core values and mission of your company to be translated or are you just selling the opportuntiy to individuals. Once you make that determination you may get a clearer vision. Also what is most important to you in expanding? Giving others the opportunity to build on your success or creating a brand. You are actually in the process of what Michael E. Gerber calls working on your business and not in your business.... You are no longer the technican. His book
                              E Myth Mastery "The Seven Essential Disciplines for Building a World Class Company." Would be a great resource for you.... Congratulations!!!

                              Nikki