Keep Your Franchise Running Smoothly

Owning your own franchise can be a dream come true. Follow these tips to keep it operating efficiently.

Once you've bought a franchise, you'll be your own boss.Then it's time to make a success of the company and bring yourown energy, joy and hard work to the mix. So.

Watch your pennies. Franchise specialists will tell youthat most franchises, like most small-business operations, run onnarrow profit margins. Success lies in your willingness to immerseyourself in the control of the expense side of the business.

It's people, people, people. Location is important,but if you're running a retail franchise, your biggestchallenge may be finding people to fill the working crew. Economicprosperity and low unemployment mean everyone is looking for solidemployees. Offer competitive wages and strong benefits.

Sweat the small stuff. The real magic of retail marketingtakes place at the counter, the point of sale. Small things likeeye contact, a cheerful greeting, a smile, and a subtle sales spinthat promotes specials and larger orders can nudge the narrowmargins into clear profitability. The best franchise programsinsist on attention to detail at the front counter. The solution:ongoing training of counter or sales crew.

Connect with the customer. Outreach programs are the hottopics among franchisees these days. Direct-mail promotions bring'em into the store: Coupons, punch cards, discount specials,and even programs allowing the counter staff to learn and rememberthe names of regular customers are drawing new attention fromfranchisees in an increasingly crowded and competitivemarketplace.

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