Monthly Archives: December 2013

Just One Franchise: Clearette

Clearette_img3cE-cigarettes are widely debated and discussed. Are they a good way to quit smoking or a harmless and cool accessory? Should they be regulated and taxed like conventional tobacco products or is it appropriate to enjoy them wherever and whenever you please? The FDA has considered treating them as a pharmaceutical product or as a tobacco product (though they contain no tobacco). The Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association compares them to caffeine. Municipalities and states are working on regulations, but in the meantime, there’s a huge business opportunity.

Getting in on the ground floor of a new industry is a common dream, and Clearette offers franchisees that chance. Clearette Distributor franchises work with retailers to bring electronic cigarettes to consumers. Clearette franchisees sell and deliver Clearette e-cigarettes to retailers, not to end consumers, so they have less to worry about when it comes to regulations. At the same time, they can still take full advantage of the fact that there is currently very little regulation of the industry.

E-cigarettes use battery-driven heat to turn a nicotine solution into a mist, which the user, or “vaper,” inhales. In most areas, they can be used indoors even if there are smoking bans. Proponents say they’re safer than cigarettes, and they don’t have the smell or the fire danger associated with conventional cigarettes. Since they look and feel much like cigarettes, they offer an alternative to smokers who have to do without cigarettes at work or in social situations. Clearette e-cigs come in both rechargeable and disposable versions, making them versatile solutions in various situations.

The Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association estimates that there are currently over one million e-cigarette smokers. Sales of e-cigs have increased significantly in recent years, with sales of $1 billion predicted for next year.

The Clearette business model relies on a distributor style: where franchisees act on behalf of the franchisor to sell the product to retailers, but are legally a wholly separate entity. Clearette expects franchisees to start small, with many franchisees acting as the sole employee, building up a client base until more workers are needed. The methods Clearette uses to train franchises center on growth that starts small and grows with demand—focusing on efficiency and transferring responsibilities when the time comes.

This — along with the modest start-up cost — makes Clearette a good choice for those who want to start a franchise as a side business, building up to a full-time commitment.

Clearette focuses on building partnerships with franchisees to navigate the new world of e-cigarettes. They have a modern website with lots of information, offering free samples, and they’re active in social media. With the amount of media attention being devoted to e-cigs, it’s no wonder Clearette says their products “practically sell themselves.” A complete starter kit, mobile CRM and training in its use, and professional designed sales materials give franchisees a turn-key operation.

While some might worry that uncharted territory in the electronic cigarette industry is too risky, the current controversy is making it more likely that local retailers have already thought about offering e-cigarettes before their Clearette franchisee approaches them.

Building a Second Franchise Business

New Year AheadIf you already own a successful franchise, you might be ready to consider opening a second business. Here are some of the factors to consider if you’re thinking of taking the plunge:

Another branch or a complementary business?

When you add another branch of a successful franchise, you have advantages beyond just adding more of what you already have. Franchisors often favor multi-unit franchisees, giving them preferential treatment when an existing franchise comes on the market or providing additional support. Opening a second location when one is already successful doesn’t have to double the investment of time or money, since it is possible to centralize some aspects of the business, and the learning curve is not very steep.

On the other hand, a complementary business can have some real advantages. Seasonal businesses with different slow times can help you even out cash flow. Businesses that offer similar services to different markets — say a Sharkey’s Cuts for Kids and a Roosters Men’s Grooming —  allow you to use what you’ve learned in one business to get the other off the ground. Chances are there will be overlap in everything from employee training to inventory, even though the businesses will not compete with each other. Different businesses that reach the same market, such as a Learning Express toy store and a Molly Maid service, create a natural partnership that let’s you use one business to promote the other.

Hiring a manager

When you open a second business, you can manage both, or you can put a manager into each shop and oversee the managers. If you have reliable employees in your first shop, you can split them up at the two locations, giving your ongoing workers the most responsible positions in each shop. You can supervise both locations, either by dividing your time evenly between them, or by setting up a command center at one location and managing the other remotely.

On the other hand, investing in managers for both locations allows you to focus on higher-level business growth and keeps you from traveling back and forth. If you’re a hands-on owner and have trouble delegating, this may be difficult, but it’s a necessity if you plan to continue building additional businesses. If you plan to work up to a larger number of franchise businesses but don’t have the funds for two managers from the outset, you may choose to put a manager into your established shop and manage the new one yourself.

Keeping on top of things

Opening a second business is challenging, but it’s easier if you’re keeping good track of the key performance indicators in your existing franchise business. Some franchisors don’t even allow a franchisee to expand into a second location without seeing evidence of strong performance in their first shop.

If you track your KPIs, it’s less likely that the stress of opening a second business will cause you to drop the ball with your first. You’ll see issues sooner and be better able to respond to them.

New year, new business? If you’re ready, this can be a great time to expand.

Future Franchisees, Do You Shoot from the Hip?

Jump_Into_Business_by_JanRohwedderAre you the plan-ahead kind? Do you like to know just what is coming up and when? Or are you the kind who likes surprises — the fly by the seat of your pants, shoot from the hip type?

There are franchise business opportunities for both kinds of people.

In fact, the whole idea of  franchise can really appeal to the plan-ahead kind of businessperson. By its nature, a franchise is more predictable than an independent start-up. You’ll be working with proven systems, with support from people who’ve done the same thing you’re doing and succeeded.

Some franchises are more predictable than others.

One such franchise is Property Management Inc., a property management franchises that focuses on managing rentals. This franchise provides franchisees with to do lists of tasks for daily, weekly, and monthly steps and providse a step-by-step roadmap from the day after you sign your franchise agreement. This style of franchise business provides strict guidance on how to start your business right and work towards success. For the type A personality who loves to check things off lists and receive that style of guidance, this is a perfect franchise.

On the other end of the spectrum is the business owner who likes to shoot from the hip a bit and do things as they see fit. Does this personality fit into franchises? It depends on the franchise. For a franchise like Property Management, Inc., which is based on to do lists and check lists, a person who bucks strict adherence to the step order might not be the ideal owner. Other franchises that allow more flexibility, however, might be a much better fit than an independent business. Just because you don’t like to do things the same way as someone else does that mean there’s no room for you in franchising.

One franchise that can satisfy the tastes of the shoot from the hip businessperson is TapSnap, a photo booth business. You can work just on evenings and weekends, or go full time. Specialize in parties or branch out to trade shows and other corporate events. What’s more, the low initial investment and short lead time mean you can have your franchise up and running in about six weeks — very close to instant gratification. A central call center takes care of bookings and there’s a national marketing program, so much of the day to day detail is covered — but franchisees aren’t limited.

Franchises run the gamut of business models and pairing your personality and needs to the right style of management is part of finding the right franchise. Franchisors can sometimes act like managers who oversee the brand and business to make sure that everything is exactly the same from franchise to franchise. This is common in the restaurant business where franchisors do everything with contract terms and rules, from setting prices to determining the profit margins. Other industries and franchises simply provide the franchisees with their brand and business model and let franchisees run the back end of the business as they see fit.

No matter what your style, there’s a franchise opportunity on the market that fits your needs and desires. Our Bulls Eye Tool lets you look at a wide range of options sorted by geography, investment level, and industry.

Holiday Stress and Franchise Businesses

The_Holiday_Shopper_by_ilimelIt’s the most wonderful time of the year — unless it’s not. The average American mom puts in the equivalent of an extra 40 hour work week preparing for Christmas, some of us are racing to too many parties while others are coping with loneliness, and financial worries collide with pressures to provide a picture-perfect holiday. Add the fact that in many parts of the country the weather is gloomy and the roads are crowded. You have a recipe for stress.

If you’ve been noticing the stress levels in your neighborhood, you might be able to help by investing in a franchise business that tackles stress.


Stress levels are a year-round problem for Americans, according to the American Psychological Association, but only 37% of people say they’re doing something to help manage it. This leaves a huge opportunity for businesses to help clients manage stress and make a positive impact on their lives and health.

Here are some possibilities to consider:

Elements Therapeutic Massage is one franchise that focuses entirely on helping clients manage and reduce stress and lead healthier lives. Massage is proven to reduce the amounts of stress hormones in the body and increase immunity. The more massage is involved in routine, says one Emory University study, the more clients will benefit from these biological effects of massage. If you’re looking for a way to change the lives of your clients and make a positive impact on the world, owning a massage franchise might be something that could interest you. Elements Therapeutic Massage wants to help you change the lives of customers.

Elements believes that when clients are happy and healthy, your profits will be too. Elements achieves this goal by creating individualized sessions for customers instead of cookie-cutter massage offerings. Clients know what they want, Elements believes, and it is the job of the franchisee to give it to them. Instead of offering different styles of massages at different price points, customers purchase their massages by time spent and can enjoy whatever type of massage they choose during their session.

Planet Beach Spa also offers massage, but combines it with a range of other beauty and wellness options — all automated so the customer can indulge in pampering treatments in privacy, without the need for an attendant.

This model keep overhead low, and allows Planet Beach to offer affordable monthly membership options. Depending on the market and the franchisee’s choices, offerings can include anti-stress focused choices like a personal oxygen bar or guided meditation, hydration therapy, and more, making customers feel like they’ve had a mini-vacation.

Exercise may be the best anti-stress treatment around. Fitness franchises offer a chance to provide overall wellness, and a specialized franchise like Title Boxing can give even more anti-stress benefits. Boxing turns out to be a particularly good stress management strategy.

A business that targets stress could be just what your community needs, and any of these options could provide the perfect franchise business opportunity for you.