Franchise expert provides guidance to prospective entrepreneurs in an uncertain business environment
Does it make sense to consider franchise ownership today? It might, according to the franchise experts at FranNet, if you approach starting up a small business with the right tools and mindset. FranNet consultants help people explore the idea of franchise ownership by providing direction, information, resources and support to help people find a franchise business model that meets their individual needs.
“The small business landscape is changing,” says Jania Bailey, President and COO at FranNet. “To survive, and eventually thrive, in these times, entrepreneurs need to bring their expectations into line with today’s economy and then continually adjust their strategies to react to the changing business climate.”
Entrepreneur.com, in 10 Steps to Small Business Success in 2011, provides advice to today’s small business owners on surviving the current economic doldrums. Bailey says that the following “Survival Tips,” based on those “10 Steps”, provide would-be entrepreneurs with a reality checklist on the challenges and satisfactions of small business ownership in an uncertain economy.
- Plan: Create or refine your business plan to focus on grabbing market share and winning new business today, while other businesses are struggling with the sluggish economy. Create benchmarks and evaluate your progress frequently.
- More like that: Do your homework. Review what is working, and not working, in current marketing initiatives. Then, decide how to apply that knowledge to your business.
- Talk less; listen more: Open your mind to new ideas. Listen to existing and prospective customers. Find out what your friends, coworkers and even strangers online are saying about your industry or business arena. These conversations can help you gain a new, and profitable, perspective on your business.
- Cut your losses: Resolve to avoid high-maintenance, low-margin customers by defining the type of customer you want to work with. Then focus on winning that kind of business.
- Strike a deal. Your vendors are fellow business owners which means they are looking for a way to win market share and increase revenues, too. Plan to lock in long term contracts now with a volume discount. Then, negotiate a payment plan, along with storage and timed delivery.
- Network: Hone your understanding of your business by attending local chamber of commerce events. Then take your new confidence for a spin by joining and participating in networking events for your industry.
- Define your brand. Understand what sets your business or product apart, whether it’s service, quality, design or something else, and then plan to market that message aggressively to your target audience.
- Create a cushion: As the housing market strengthens, consider tapping into the equity on your home to help build your credit profile.
- Motivate: Create a well-defined bonus plan to create an opportunity for your employees to share in your success by contributing to that success. It’s the perfect win-win scenario.
- Piggyback: Find companies that have already captured your target market with a different product or service and consider teaming up to help them create new value for their customers – who will soon be your customers, too.
“Surviving or starting a business in an economic downturn is a little like playing a game of chess,” says Bailey. “Each move you make should position you for your next move – but you need to be able to adjust your strategy continually. It’s a constant challenge, but if you have an entrepreneurial spirit, the financial and personal rewards can be significant.”
For those considering owning a business in 2011, FranNet provides insight into the advantages of franchise ownership. “Franchise ownership provides a roadmap for the new entrepreneur, guiding him or her through many of the critical start-up challenges with established guidelines and support for marketing, sales, supply and management practices,” explains Bailey. “For someone starting a business in 2011, this kind of an edge could be the critical difference between success and struggle.”