Monthly Archives: April 2017

How to Create a Franchise Business Plan

How to Create a Franchise Business Plan

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Many people opt for franchise businesses nowadays. The advantage of opening one is having the guarantee of a branded product to back you up. The proven market popularity is something which reduces some of your anxiety regarding promotion of a new product. Presently, most product companies prefer opening franchise outlets and leave the management to private parties on a profit-sharing basis. A franchise is a mutual, win-win solution for the product company, as well as the franchisee. The management gets the benefit of a proven brand name and the company saves on operation and setup costs.

About the Plan

Firstly, a business plan is a blueprint of everything that you plan to do in a business. It is the practical realization of your abstract idea of a business, considering all ground realities. It is a plan of action, which is designed after market research, operation cost evaluation, and after a decision to start up that business, has been taken.

Such a plan is made with two intentions. One of them is to have a clear and precise idea of what you intend to do in your business and the second is to sell your idea to entities that could finance your venture. Financial planning is the most important part.

Franchise opportunities are often advertised in newspapers. Business plans related to them, need to be written carefully. This is because, not only is it your blueprint for execution of business activity, but it is also an advertisement of your idea, which you hope to sell a financier, to get seed capital.

How well your business will run, depends on how well you plan and execute it. Leave no stone unturned, while preparing the groundwork for your business. The more specific, detailed, and adaptable business plan you have, more are its chances of success.

Making a plan is comparatively easier as you already have guidelines from a franchiser, about how he expects the business to be run. The possibility of innovation is really very less in case of this plan, as the franchiser usually dictates the designing, look, and operation of a business place. Usually, all these franchise outlets are clones and all that a franchise owner can decide is the location and scale of operation.

Tips on Creating a Plan

Writing a business plan proposal is an art. Let us discuss, what constitutes a good plan and what it should include, section wise.

Introduction to Your Idea
The first part will be a general introduction to the product that you plan to sell, its market popularity, challenges, and risks involved in the endeavor. This should also include the profit sharing ratio, that you will have with the franchiser.

Management Information
This will involve information about the planned chain of command in your business and the management hierarchy. It may also involve the names and designations of the pre-appointed people in the management, along with their work experience details.

Marketing
This will obviously involve the details of how you plan to entice customers for your product. Give a detailed plan of your marketing strategies, target customers, and budget.

Pro Forma Financial Projections
This is the projected performance of your business, which is based upon your market research and it’s extrapolated out of it. This should be a detailed report of expected income, profit, turnover, and operating cost. It should be a sort of future expected balance sheet, based on actual market data and research. You must back up your income projections, with real market data.

Finance Requirement
This part is for the financier, to whom you are selling your business idea. It should include a detailed analysis of the total cost of operation, marketing, salaries offered, purchasing, and other costs. You should come up with a definite amount of money, that you need and expect from the financier and should also include the profit sharing expectations.

Advantages of Hiring an Advertising Agency

Advantages of Hiring an Advertising Agency

Advertising has reached a very high level of importance in today’s fiercely competitive world. Cutthroat competition has compelled manufacturers to review their selling strategies and come up with unique and innovative ways to sell their products. This has in turn prompted them to hire advertising agencies to do the legwork for them. There are many reasons why hiring an advertising agency makes sense to a company. A few of them have been discussed in this Buzzle article. Go through them and you’ll know the benefits of getting your products advertised by professionals.

Exposure and Experience in the Field
The biggest plus point of hiring an advertising agency has is the immense level of experience that it holds in comparison to a company that is hiring it. Take your own company for instance. If you want to come up with a novel idea to sell your product, you will spend a lot of time and resources trying to come up with the perfect ad. Market research, creativity and the actual realization of the idea can take a very long time by which time the whole demand focus may shift totally. On the contrary, when you hire an agency, due to its tremendous experience in the field, it will know exactly what to do, when to do it and most importantly how to do it! This will not only save you the headache of coming up with your own idea, but it will definitely be better than what you can come up with. Plus, they have a constant exposure to different types of clients, customers and consumers. This gives them an edge over a layman in coming up with ideas to sell a product.

Professional Approach to the Work
Due to the high level of experience and exposure that agencies have over laymen, they also have a strictly professional approach to their work. While a company may consciously or unconsciously end up bringing an emotional approach to the ad, an agency leaves no room for this. However, this does not mean that the client’s sentiment is not taken into account. It is the combination of the client’s sentiment, the ad agency’s creativity and the customer’s demand that together make the perfect ad. The agency sees to it that all these ingredients are present in an ad. It adds a level of finesse and class to a crude idea that the client has, thus making its professionalism clearly visible.

Well Versed with Tips and Tricks
Another edge that an advertising agency has over its clients, and this is a point that proves its expertise in the field, is the knowledge of the tips and tricks in transforming a dream of the client into his reality, and in turn, a dream of the customer. An ad agency is a knowledge bank of all the small intricacies that go into making a successful ad. This knowledge comes only from experience. For instance, just like a journalist will know exactly what questions he must ask in order to sensationalize a celebrity’s interview, an ad agency knows what appeals and which audience to target and also how to do it, when coming up with an ad campaign for a client.

Media Selection Ability
Choosing an advertising agency to do your work for you has one more very important advantage. Due to its exposure, experience, knowledge and indispensable resources, it also has the ability to know and choose the appropriate kind of media to showcase your ad campaign. Because they are constantly in touch with the media world, they know which media is suitable for what kind of products, they know what demographic to appeal to through which media and also know which media costs how much and how to use these costs to turn in the favor of the client. The agency can guide the client about the above and thus ensure that the campaign is successful.

Diversion of Workload
A company is only as good as the products it manufactures. Hence, the prime focus of any organization should be on the products or services that it manufactures. For your company, the prime focus should be the product that you wish to sell. And for the advertising agency, it is the ad that it makes for you. Needless to say that when the agency’s focus is on your product, you’ll have less to worry about with regards to marketing strategies and selling tactics. All you have to concentrate on is manufacturing and leave the rest to the ad agency. It will fulfill its responsibility towards you as its client and you will have an impressive ad campaign for your product. Everyone does his own job and reaps his own benefits.

Ideas For Creative Business Financing

Ideas For Creative Business Financing

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Whether you are already a business owner, or are starting up new, the first thing that you will think about is finance. There are many ways of going about getting the money you need.

That said, you must also take into consideration several factors before you get the money. Have a look at the various options you have in front of you, and compare it with your business plan and projected revenues. Realistically speaking, identify how you would be able to repay the money that you are borrowing.

Here are some ideas that will help you get the money you want.

Savings Account: Here we are talking about your own savings account. Before you dip into your kitty of savings, consider the following: How much savings have you got in that account? Are you dependent on that money for your day-to-day expenses? How confident are you that your business venture will succeed? Be realistic while you make these considerations. If the savings account is not something you depend upon, and you can afford to forget about the money you take from it should you incur a loss, then go ahead and take the money from it. The upside to this is that you are taking an interest free loan from yourself and saving quite a bit of money on that end. You can even repay this loan in variable installments, and not suffer penalties for it.

Family and Friends: This is also a good option for you to acquire funds for your business venture. Depending upon what you discuss with your friends and family members, you can choose the method of repayment, and also if you are liable to pay interest. The downside to this is that if you cannot repay the money back in the time that you promised, you stand to lose a good relative or friend.

Partners: Another way of generating funding is to take on partners in your business. This is again a matter of choice, and your partner must have the money and the inclination to invest.

Loans: This may not be a very creative idea, but some banks offer very interesting kinds of personal and business loans. It is worth a shot to go have a look at these options. You may just strike a gold mine, and find the perfect method of financing your new venture.

Sell the Junk: If you have any unused premises, or unused inventory lying around, or unused trademarks and licensing rights, it is a good idea to sell them to those who need them. This is a good method of recycling your own assets to create finance for your enterprise.

Sell Shares: Selling the shares of your company is a time-honored method of creating finances for your company. If you have a new company, you can do it. You can also do it, if you own a well-set company. You can also sell the shares to your employees. Talk to your CPA and get more details.

Advertise: This sounds silly, but sometimes an advertisement can also generate interested financers for your project. Putting word out there ensures that you generate interest from persons looking for a good investment opportunity. It also gives you a chance to advertise about your company along with it.

These few ideas should help you generate funds for your new venture. Good Luck!

How to Market Your Invention

How to Market Your Invention

It may seem like the world has run out of innovative inventions in the last few years, but the fact of the matter is that the most dedicated minds will always find ways to create something novel. The kind of technology and tools that are available to the common man today has made it possible to push new boundaries and explore new avenues, and people who are curious about how things work will always find a way to build something that has never been seen before.

Assuming that you have already accomplished this stage, you will now surely be looking to market your invention effectively. Finding the right audience for an invention is essential to its success, and this is another area where the massive technological setup in place comes in handy. There are a number of new channels and avenues in place today for people who are looking to sell things and these need to be managed in an effective manner.

Steps to Marketing an Invention

The most important thing to remember is to not get carried away by someone who is over enthusiastic to help you out. You must be wary of scams out there, because there are plenty of them present in the world right now. Duplicating ideas and inventions is one of the easiest things to do today, so you must be very careful about who you deal with. If you are satisfied that the person(s) you are dealing with are working in your best interests, then you can go ahead and follow these instructions on marketing your inventions.

Step #1: Recognize Your Target Market
You cannot figure out the ways to market without knowing who to sell them to. Since you have created the invention, you will be the best judge of who it is meant for, and who are the people who will use it the most. Keep these targets in mind and then think of ways to reach out to them. Every business venture and marketing operation starts off with this planning process and the recognition of the targeted audience before anything else.

Step #2: Create a Marketing Plan
Once the target audience has been pinpointed, you must start working on a plan to reach out to them. Utilize the various media outlets like the local press, the national press, the international press, the Internet, television, radio, trade publications, magazines and other outlets. Make your presence felt and create an awareness campaign that brings your invention to the attention of the world. Make use of some advertising techniques like OTL advertising (Over The Line), BTL (Below The Line) and OOH advertising (Out Of Home). Allocate a budget to all of these avenues and choose the best course possible and enlist the help of a professional if the need arises. Also remember to file for a patent for your invention or someone else will undoubtedly steal your idea, no matter how small scale it may be. You will need to enlist the help of a patent lawyer for this purpose.

Step #3: Settle on a Pricing Strategy
For this purpose you will need to decide the price at which it is sold, and also the distribution strategy that you intend to follow. Pick a price that covers your operational costs and gives you some profit, but do not name an overly ambitious price. Tie up with retailers and distributors so that the product will be supplied to the market on a timely basis. Admittedly, this is a process that will heavily depend on the nature of the product itself. Some people also choose to get their product licensed and bought by an existing seller in the market and sell it under their brand name. Deciding on how to carry out all these procedures will certainly require the help of a seasoned professional in this business.

There are many more nuances and subtleties to marketing a product, but they are all further subsets of these aforementioned steps. Entrepreneurship is not an easy path to go down, but it can ultimately be a very fruitful one. You should know that a majority of new ventures that come up, perish and fail within no time. So one needs to have good business acumen to make things like this work, but most importantly, one needs to have a good product to sell.

Effective Marketing Strategies Advertising vs Public Relations

Effective Marketing Strategies Advertising vs Public Relations

The American Marketing Association (AMA) defines marketing as the activities, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large. The contribution of marketing to the success of any business is highly significant. In fact, marketing has the power to determine the success of a particular product or service launched. Effective marketing involves the application of many strategies, two of which are: advertising and public relations. We shall attempt to understand these two terms in the following discussion. Henceforth, in this article, the use of the term product will refer to both, a service or a product that is to be marketed.

Advertising

Advertising refers to any form of paid and impersonal presentation of ideas, goods, or services by an identified sponsor.

Advertising Types

Informative Advertising: This includes advertisements that aim to provide the customer with information about the product. This form of advertisement informs the customer about the various features and the benefits of using the product.
Persuasive Advertising: The objective of this form of advertisements is to persuade the consumer to buy a particular product or employ a service offered. It usually includes some attractive additional features or special offers that will further entice the customer to buy a product.
Comparative Advertising: These types of advertisements, indirectly or directly, compare the product to be marketed with another of a similar type. Generally, when there are only a few (usually, two) major players in the market, one or all of these business competitors use this advertising strategy.
Rememorative Advertising: Advertising done through this type is usually in case of a product that is well-established and has a strong-hold on the market. This type of advertising is used only to remind the consumer about the product.

Advertising Graph

Growth Phase: The function of advertising assumes immense importance at the onset or launch of a product. The advertising is usually in full swing in this phase. All the advertising techniques are put to use in this stage. Initially, informative advertising is employed. In the latter part of this phase, informative as well as persuasive advertising is utilized.
Established Phase: Once the product has established a standing in the market, a combination of persuasive, comparative, and rememorative advertising is observed with informative advertising kept at its lowest.
Declining Phase: In this phase, the whole process of advertising is suppressed. Rememorative advertising may be used in isolated cases. If there exists any chance of revival of the product, a novel advertising approach may be applied.

Objectives of Advertising

To generate awareness about a product or a service offered.
To inform the consumer about the various features of the product or service.
To induce the customer to buy the product or avail the services offered.

Secrets for Good Advertising

Repetition of advertisements
Strategic placement of advertisements (including time)
Target market considerations and segmentation while advertising
Quality of advertisements
Form of advertising

Public Relations

Public relations refer to any form of unpaid communication, designed to generate a positive image of a company in the market. It can also be considered as a planned effort by an organization to the establishment of favorable opinion for the organization and its products and services.

Public Relations Tools

News
Speeches
Special Events
Written Material
Audiovisual Material
Corporate Identity Material
Other (social cause, websites, employees)

Public Relations Graph

Growth Phase: As in the case of advertising, public relations in the growth phase is of utmost importance for the organization and considerable time and effort is deployed for public relations.
Established and Growing Phase: It has been observed that most companies do not entail much importance to public relations once the product is past its growth stage. However, PR deals with the image of the organization on the whole and is not limited to a particular product. Hence, ideally, PR should have a graph that doesn’t fall below a minimum predefined value. The PR strategy should be attributed a predetermined level of importance throughout the lifetime of an organization, and a spike should be observed with an increase in PR activities when any new product is launched.

Public Relations – Objectives

Maintaining a rapport with the public
Generating repeat buyers
Maintaining long-term relationships with the clients

Secrets for Building Good Public Relations

Most organizations and its managers tend to neglect public relations as an effective marketing strategy. Even when employed, PR often is not a well-planned and well-managed activity. It assumes a very random form and this can hurt the prospects of an organization and its products. The most paramount suggestion when using PR as a marketing strategy is that it should be given its due importance.

Giving enough importance to PR.
Planning and organizing PR activities.
Significant social work or assistance to social causes.
Introducing every change in top-level management through news and talk-shows.

Advertising vs. Public Relations

Advertising has an extremely wide reach, and thus, is one of the most effective tools of marketing. Additionally, its expressive nature enables it to strongly influence the consumer. A total control over how the advertisement will be presented to the end-user is possible. This facilitates better planning and strategizing of the advertising function in an organization. As against this, the quality of the news, the features of the product it highlights, the placement of this news piece when media relations is used for PR, are all beyond the control of an organization. Advertising also allows a control over the place, time, duration, and repetition; contrary to PR.

Advertising in itself implies paid ways of generating positivity in the market about a product. As against this, PR deals with building long-term relationships and promoting a positive image of the company. PR relates to the unpaid ways of ‘being in news’. Thus, the cost incurred for the process of advertising is much higher as compared to that required for building strong public relations. An activity that is a result of public relations like news, gives the product review from the perspective of a third person and also gives a detached comment on the product. Thus, a PR activity is perceived to be more legitimate and believable by the customer.

Both advertising and public relations can be used as tools for branding. It is important to remember that advertising or public relations, alone will never comprise the marketing strategy of an organization for its product. A combination of both is mandatory for effective business marketing and in order to ensure the success of a product.