Franchise Insider: How to Boost Lagging Sales

How to be a successful franchisee or franchisor

If your revenues are drying up, you might want to try these steps

Business was good–for a moment. Customers were loyal, performance was at its peak. Whether it was a ripple effect from a failing economy or new competition in the area, your franchise has taken a hit and sales are in the toilet. While a franchise can offer some of the benefits of being an entrepreneur without too many of the hassles – marketing from scratch, finding the right resources – it isn’t unheard of for individual franchises to tank.

“Franchise failure rates can be hard to quantify,” says Scott Jewett, senior adviser at iFranchise Group, an advice and consulting company for start-up franchises. “But I can assure you that you are more armed for success as a franchisee than starting your own independent business.”

The great thing about business is its cyclical nature. If sales have taken a dive at your franchise, Jewett offers a few tips for reviving it and understanding when it’s time to move on.

BlackEnterprise.com: If you’re not meeting revenue goals, how can you, a franchise owner, boost sales?
Scott Jewett:
Some of the powerful benefits of franchise ownership are the sharing of best practices and the buying power for marketing.  Healthy franchise networks encourage franchisees to communicate what is working for them.  Why reinvent the wheel when you can learn from others in your network?  Also, be sure to participate in your franchise’s marketing programs. Not only can this boost sales but you may be legally required to participate.  Go back and check your franchise agreement and operations manual for required advertising and promotional requirements.

What are the most effective marketing methods for a franchise?
Franchises offer power in numbers.  It can be more effective to advertise as a group rather than as a sole proprietor.  Franchising is about building a powerful brand.  Follow your franchise’s guidelines for marketing.  The franchisor should have your best interest in mind when designing marketing campaigns.

Can a franchisee face fines or penalties from the franchisor for not meeting sales goals?
Some franchise systems have sales performance requirements.  Check your franchise documents and operational materials to make sure you are fulfilling your obligations as a franchisee.

What is the biggest mistake franchisees make when it comes to running a profitable franchise?
Being too entrepreneurial.  Entrepreneurs can be rule breakers and risk takers.  The most successful franchisees are often those who are diligent about complying with their franchise’s proven systems.

As a franchisee, what are three signs that it’s time to quit the business?

  1. It has become apparent that you are not qualified to run the operations
  2. You have an irreconcilable conflict with the franchisor
  3. Being a franchisee has a negative impact on your happiness or health

How can a franchisee leverage social media and e-mail marketing to build a client base?
Social media and e-mail marketing are important tools as part of an overall balanced media mix for any type of business. Neither are magic bullets, but intelligently and diligently capturing customer data and maintaining a database is a good way to build a base for good e-mail campaigns. And social media is a good way to build a fan base, communicate with, and engage existing and new customers. The caveat with social media is that it is a fairly new media and many franchisors and franchisees are only minimally experienced in its use. It must be continually monitored and updated, and there is always the possibility of negative comments appearing on social media sites that require prompt responses by the company.  Also be aware that franchisors are beginning to establish social media usage policies to help maintain brand consistency, which would need to be followed by the franchisees.

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