Monthly Archives: October 2013

Just One Franchise: Oxi Fresh Carpet Cleaning

Oxi-Fresh-Carpet-Cleaning-HeaderThe cleaning power of oxygen is well known — to scientists and also to millions of TV watchers, thanks to all those infomercials that helped spread oxygen-based cleaning products across the country and into mass retailers. Oxi Fresh Carpet Cleaning is taking advantage of that heightened awareness with a business that focuses on better carpet cleaning methods.

Getting customers ready to accept new ideas isn’t always the easiest thing to do. For a small start-up, having enough capital to power through the time it takes to build your market can be a challenge. An Oxi Fresh franchisee can benefit immediately from all the prep work that has already been done.

OxiFresh Carpet Cleaning uses a new process that uses very little water and natural cleaning solutions. Carpets dry in as little as an hour. The process involves a small, portable machine instead of lines of hoses that run to a truck that create suction and power for the carpet cleaning process. While this seems like an easy thing to sell because it’s lower in cost and more ecologically sound, if customers hadn’t heard of oxygen’s ability to get out stains before they might not believe it. Conventional wisdom says that carpets are difficult to clean and require lots of noisy equipment and strong chemicals to really get them like new again.

Butting up against that conventional wisdom is Oxi Fresh. When all the competition is saying that it won’t work and customers can’t see the results until they buy, it could be a tough sell. Instead, the Oxi Fresh name reminds consumers of established products like Oxyfresh and OxiClean, making entry into the market easier.

Part of choosing a franchise should be an examination of what the business does to attract customers. The name may seem like a superficial point, but it’s the first thing the customer notices. Oxi Fresh builds on consumer confidence in oxygen cleaning by highlighting their eco-friendliness, knowing that environmental awareness is another growing trend among consumers.

Oxi Fresh works with a PR firm to help get press coverage not only for their corporate team but also for their franchisees. They have extensive and aggressive marketing strategies across a range of media. They help franchisees with call centers and social media, too. This robust marketing supports individual franchises and has helped Oxi Fresh make it onto major “Top Franchise” lists.

When you’re looking at a franchise, be sure to do so from the perspective of a potential customer as well as from the standpoint of a potential franchisee. Part of a good business plan is forethought about how to get customers in the doors. Check the franchise name, its presentation in ads and the press, its website and its overall online presence.

If you can see that the corporate team is doing a good job of presenting the brand nationally, you can feel confident that you’ll have the name recognition and marketing support that give a franchisee such an advantage over a go-it-alone start up.

Women in Tech Franchising

tech-businesswomanWomen interested in working in tech fields should consider choosing a franchise business opportunity.

It makes sense that women should be interested in tech jobs. Take a quick look at the top paid jobs in the country and you’ll quickly see that highly skilled workers are paid the most and that tech companies are on top. Cisco systems, for example, pays their average worker over $120,000. Even the lowest paid position earns nearly $70,000. Yet women, who are half the workforce in the U.S., hold only 10% of the tech jobs.

Part of this may be that girls don’t take tech classes and women don’t choose tech careers. But women in tech fields report that they have trouble getting hired, that they’re not considered for promotion, and that they’re not taken seriously in networking opportunities. The solution? Own your own business.

Investing in a tech franchise like WSI Internet or Fas-Teks doesn’t require an engineering degree and you don’t have to wait for someone to hire or promote you. America’s Best Franchises lists many tech-oriented business opportunities.

Want to go back to the root of the problem of female underrepresentation in tech fields?

Early math skills are linked to income in later life, and it’s clear that success in technical fields, today’s students need strong math skills. However, American students are still lagging behind many other countries that focus more on mathematics development. Statistics for women in technological fields are even more dismal and this fact has been linked many times to social norms that deter young women from pursuing studies in math. Studies show that females are just as good at math as males but have few roles models for success in mathematics and technology fields. Would you like to make a difference in this issue?

Mathnasium is a franchise that teaches students vital math skills they need for success in tech industry jobs. With programs specifically geared towards woman franchisees, Mathnasium is trying to encourage talking about math to children in a way that makes sense to them. Having women role models in math can help make the difference between a young woman continuing on a tech path or doing something she sees as more socially acceptable.

The methods used in Mathnasium are the unique part of the business that differentiates it from other tutoring franchises. In twice weekly sessions, students focus on their particular problems at their own pace, so they can learn more than they would in a traditional classroom setting. Tutors can work with multiple students at once, increasing opportunities for revenue, unlike other programs that require strict one-on-one lessons. This also allows for interaction among students to create engaging math lessons and build a community of students who see math as a fun and socially acceptable pursuit, getting over one of the biggest hurdles of math success.

Whether by stepping out as the owner of an IT company or by encouraging girls and young women in math, tech-oriented women can make a difference in their communities while working toward their own success..

A Franchisee’s Transferable Skills

businessman_by_zuztaDo you dream of opening your own franchise business because you’re not happy with your job? It happens. Your boss might be driving you crazy. Your coworkers might be the reason for your malaise. Or it could be that you’re feeling suffocated because you’re not using your skills.

Become a franchisee, and you won’t have to worry about a boss, you’ll have more control over who your coworkers are — but you still might feel frustrated if your strength meter isn’t running at full capacity.

 

Part of successfully choosing a franchise opportunity comes down to knowing what your strengths are and where your weaknesses lie. There are tests, from the Clifton Strengthsfinders quiz to the VIA Survey, that can give you a starting point if you really aren’t sure .

Finding out where your top skills are, however, requires more than taking a quiz on the Internet. It’s about soul-searching and being honest with yourself. Are you good at management? What about talking to people and closing sales? Sometimes, when you’re considering opening a business, the problem is that you just don’t know. You do not know if you’ll be successful at certain skills you’ve never tried before. You might be a great lion tamer but you’ll never know it if you don’t step into the ring.

What’s more likely, however, is that you do have some experience. It just might not be obvious.

Let’s take Planet Beach Spa  as an example. Here are some skill sets you’d need to have in order to succeed at Planet Beach Spa:

  • running a business
  • employee management
  • sales
  • member management.

If you’re set on owning a Planet Beach Spa franchise and are worried because you don’t see these items on your resume, you’re approaching it from the wrong angle. Looking at your past experiences, both at work and out of the office, can help you see if you have skills required to successfully run a Planet Beach Spa.

Maybe you’ve never had a job as a manager. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t have skills in employee management. Have you ever worked on a team before? How about filled in for your boss while she was on vacation or out sick? Did you ever train a new employee or teach someone else your job when you were promoted? Have you taken on leadership roles in community organizations or charities? Have you organized events at your kids’ school or directed a play in college? Management experience doesn’t always mean being in a managerial role, but rather is the skillset used to manage employees.

Looking back at what activities you’ve done in past positions can give you better clues than your job titles.

What if you take those tests and scour your past experiences, and just don’t see the skills you need. You can decide to learn those skills. Taking a summer class or working through a few good books can give you the confidence to take the plunge.

On the other hand, you might be better off partnering with someone who has the skills you lack.

If neither of those options sounds good, keep looking. There are so many excellent franchise opportunities, you’re sure to find one that meshes well with your skills and experience. Just be sure to take the time to explore the question fully before you make up your mind.

Just One Franchise: Batteries Plus Bulbs

batteriesA great franchise business opportunity is one that can solve the frustrations people face. Ask around and you’ll find that a surprising number of the most common frustrating moments center around batteries. The Christmas day discovery that batteries weren’t included with the toys. The moment when you’re about to take that great photo and the camera battery dies. The laptop battery that gives way in the middle of the big project — when you don’t know how to replace it or where to get a new one.

It’s just as frustrating when you can’t find the right replacement battery. There are so many different batteries; it can be really difficult to find the one you need, even at online retailers. Batteries Plus Bulbs franchisees own retail locations that have every battery you could think of — so they’re solving customers’ problems for profit.

You might think that batteries would be too narrow a produce assortment, but they’re a surprisingly large niche product. From the device you’re using to read this to your watch, batteries are a big part of our daily lives. There’s a huge existing market for businesses that answer customers’ battery needs. Batteries Plus Plus Bulbs franchise profits calculation has seen an 8.4% growth in net revenue over the last three years for all stores and in 2012 alone, they saw a 13.1% increase in net sales from the year before. Some business experts say having a mix of categories is important to success but it’s clear by these numbers that having variety in a single category can also be a pathway to a successful business.

Part of the success comes from tapping into multiple revenue streams. If retail business ever lags, Batteries Plus Bulbs franchisees also have a second revenue stream they can rely on for sales—corporate accounts. All types of industries need highly specialized batteries on a routine basis and Batteries Plus Bulbs serves corporate clients by providing affordable options that give them the competitive advantage. When a business has to spend thousands of dollars every few months replacing batteries that are an integral part of their business, the cost can be astronomical. Saving even a little money on batteries can help those businesses beat out the competition. When Batteries Plus Bulbs fills that corporate need and helps businesses get better prices than their competitors, they build strong, continuing relationships that bring in revenue.

Bulbs were a natural fit for expansion in the Batteries Plus business, which was the original model for the Batteries Plus Bulbs franchise. When they added light bulbs, they simply added the word to their name. Bulbs pose problems much like the problems people have with batteries: there are many different kinds, they’re hard to find, and people who need bulbs need them right away.

Batteries and Bulbs doesn’t stop at just providing products to their customers and clients but also delivers expertise in battery and bulb replacement. The average person can’t replace a watch battery, a computer battery that is encased in the shell, or other types of “hidden” batteries. Corporate clients might not know what types of batteries and brands are best suited to their needs. Having expert help on hand to replace batteries during purchase or to find a cheaper or better battery makes Batteries Plus Bulbs all the more valuable to their customers.