It’s frustrating. A Franchise Disclosure Document is extremely important to read. And equally as boring. This document and the Franchise Agreement set out the complete terms under which you become a franchisee. You might have great conversations with the franchise representative. You might get to know, like, and trust him. But what matters is what’s in writing. If you are considering buying a franchise, you will need to get comfortable with this entire, legal-ease filled document. Let’s start with a description: What exactly is the Franchise Disclosure Document? In the United States, franchises are all regulated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). One of the regulations requires every franchise to publish a Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) every year. Every year the document must be updated with current information. The FTC dictates what information must be included in the FDD. The FTC actually writes the table of contents. They ensure that each franchise company provides the same kinds of information, usually called “items.” There are 23 sections in the FDD. Let’s review of some of the most crucial parts. There will be information on the senior managers of the company. That is something you would want to know. Has there been an ownership change? If so, do the new owners have a background in the industry? Have the owners ever filed bankruptcy? This is the kind of information that will be included on the ownership, in items number one, two, and four. Has this company ever had a major law suit? If so, it will be detailed in the FDD. We all know even the most ethical company can be taken to court in The United States these days. So a single lawsuit might not be a reason to worry. But some franchise companies have literally dozens of suits between them and the individual franchisees. If you see that kind of litigation history you know you could be in for big trouble after joining that franchise. That’s a reason to pay attention to item number three – Litigation. You know you have to make an investment in order to start a franchise, but how much? That’s also in the FDD. The company will give you ranges for every start-up cost that franchisees typically experience: rent and advertising and construction. They’ll tell you how much cash you should have on hand in order to cover your costs after you open. Look at items number five, six, and seven for this information. Most people know that a McDonald’s franchisee must purchase all of their food products directly from the franchiser. Does your franchise have a rule like this? You can find out in items 8 and 16. Some franchises give you a protected territory, while others do not. Neither of these is necessarily “better,” but you’ll want to read item 12 to understand how the territory works in the franchise you are considering. Item 19 is the one that is most often talked about. This is the only optional part of the FDD. In this section, the franchisor is permitted to share the financial results that existing franchisees have. This is obviously important information to have. Unfortunately, only about one-third of franchisors provide this. But don’t worry – if yours does not, there is still a way to get this information. The last item we will mention is usually cited as the most valuable. In Item 20 the franchisor must show you how many franchises they have, as well as how many have opened and closed for the past two years. What’s better is that they also have to provide phone numbers for every last franchisee. Why is this so valuable? Because those franchisees are your best source of information on the business. You can pick up the phone and call as many of the existing franchisees as you like. Whatever you want to know about the business, you can ask them. The existing franchisees will give you an inside look into exactly what it’s like to own this franchise. We find they usually give it to you straight – warts and all. And after all, no one is in a better position to tell you what the business is really like than the people who are working in the business every day. So, yes, the FDD is boring reading. There is data and figures and statistics and charts. All the things that might make your eyes glaze over. But look hard at that document. It is the key to learning just how good of an opportunity that franchise really is.
May 25, 2012
Every time I start a project, I get this tiny moment of panic. It doesn't last long, but even now, after years in this business, I still notice that it happens.
It has a long and technical name, but in portfolio school, we just called it "fear of the blank page." It's that anxiety-inducing few moments right before getting started on something. I may have had 253 ideas buzzing around my head after a client meeting, and I am excited to get started on the project, but inevitably, and just for a short moment, this blank page panic happens when I sit down to get started.
What Makes A Blank Page So Scary?
In the blankness, the page carries endless possibilities, which is great, right? On the flip side of that, one finds internal resistance and a fear of failure. Your mind will tell you, "Hey, it could be great…but then again, it could also be total disaster." As humans, we are built to avoid the thing that causes fear. This aversion to fear is what has kept us alive for thousands of years.
For as long as I can remember, I have had a love-hate relationship with fear. For me, recognizing that fear was the only thing keeping me from doing a thing, and then deciding to do it anyway, has pushed me. Pushed me way, way, WAY out of my comfort zone at times. And it turns out that is a great thing. All of the achievements I am really proud of in my life were things that would not have happened if I had given in to my fears.
Why then do I still get that tinge of fear, even after all of these years for something as simple as getting started on a project? My thought on that is simple. It means I still care. I still want the outcome to be amazing. I still want to go past what I know and explore a new place, which is still scary, but worth it.
Taming That Tinge Of Fear
Like most things, you get better at it with practice. Fear works the same way. If you keep leaning into it, it may still be there, but the time it takes to push past it dwindles. Say you are skydiving. The first time you jump, it probably took a whole lot longer to be ready to jump out of a plane than it did the 100th time. It is still the same element of danger, and same fear, but you have practiced taming it.
Now, about putting it into actual practice. It's very simple, stupid simple actually. I start with a brain dump of all the ideas in my head after a client meeting or about the project in general. It is an easy way to just get something on paper. It doesn't have to be perfect or even logical. It's just for you. The act of getting started IS the practice.
The rest of the work will fall into place once you get pen to paper. Some ideas you work on growing, others you let go. With practice, leaning into your fears gets easier to do, as does tackling the blank page.
If you have strategies you use for getting started or pushing past your internal resistance, I would love to hear them!
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Everyone knows that you should walk around every once in a while, especially if you have a desk job. But, do we walk enough during the workday?
Probably not (I know I don't).
Well, surprise, surprise—sitting all day is terrible for your health. In fact, it increases your chance of depression, anxiety, and premature death. These are some of the not-so-awesome side effects of sitting constantly. (Are you out walking yet?)
If you need more evidence that walking is a crucial addition to your daily routine, check out these compelling reasons to get walking at work:
4 Benefits Of Walking More At Work
1. It Can Relieve Your Back Pain
Have a bad back? Sitting all day probably isn't the best thing for it. But, hey—good news! Turns out walking helps relieve chronic back pain. So, if you're back isn't happy, get up and take a little stroll around the office.
2. It Helps You Live Longer
Yes, exercise makes us healthier. But did you know that speed walking can make you live longer? According to Healthline, people who walk about 3 mph or faster live longer than others of their age and sex who walk more slowly.
3. It Gives You An Excuse To Enjoy The Weather
It's a beautiful day—get outside and breathe in that fresh air, soak up a little sun, and get your walk on! You don't want to waste the nice weather. Take a quick break, rest your brain, and—in the words of Nike—just do it! You'll come back to your work feeling refreshed and reenergized.
4. It Makes You Happier
"Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don't shoot their husbands, they just don't." —Elle Woods
5 Tips For Walking More During The Workday
Okay, so you've got the reasoning behind why you should get off your butt during the workday, but how can you fit it in? Here are a few quick tips for working in walking at work:
1. Skip The Drive-Thru
Instead of picking up your coffee while you're driving to work, walk to the coffee shop.
2. Get A Group
Get fit and be social! Find a few co-workers to walk with each day.
3. Add Walking To Your Schedule
Sometimes we get so caught up in work that we forget to take breaks. To avoid this, pencil in walking times on your calendar.
4. Leave A Pair Of Sneakers At The Office
Leave a pair of comfortable walking shoes at work. That way, you won't destroy your feet by clacking around all day in your heels or dress shoes.
5. Get An App
Find a walking app for your smartphone to track your progress. I use a free app called RunKeeper, but there are tons of great apps out there. It's a great motivator!
It's not difficult to walk more during the workday if you make it a priority! Follow these five easy tips to walk more at work today!
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This post was originally published at an earlier date.
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Do you remember the Pepsi challenge? It was a legendary marketing promotion in which people participated in a blind taste test with Pepsi vs. Coke. More people preferred Pepsi but continued to buy Coke. When a brand choice is made, the strong, familiar, trusted brands will always have an edge. An effective brand promise builds trust with customers.
In this article, I'll take a closer look at what a brand promise is, the foundation of a brand promise, and give you steps on how to create one.
What Is A Brand Promise?
A brand promise tells customers what they can expect from your brand in a concise, compelling, and memorable way. A brand promise is how people decide if they can trust your brand. If you're consistent in delivering on your brand promise, you'll have loyal customers, ready to spread the word to family and friends about how great you are.
A promise is only good if it's kept. If you break your brand promise with your customers, the stakes are high. You can lose your reputation, your market share, your customers, and your ability to grow. Many brands fail to deliver on their brand promise, specifically on the customer experience. According to a Gallup study, companies only deliver on their brand promises half of the time. You can see the uphill battle brands have in building trust with their customers.
Most businesses don't have a brand promise and risk disappointing their customers as they have a different idea of what to expect from their brand.
A company needs a brand promise to communicate their customer expectations to everyone across the organization so that consistent customer experiences are delivered both internally and externally.
Foundation Of A Successful Brand Promise
Successful brand promises feature the following key components:
Simple. Credible. Memorable. Unique. Measurable.
- A Brand Promise Is Simple: A brand promise should be simple. Try to stick to 10 words or less. Walmart's brand promise is a great example of this: "Save money. Live better."
- A Brand Promise Is Credible: A credible brand promise is when your customers experience consistency every single time they interact with your company. A great example of this is Chick-fil-A. Their brand promise is, "To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us. To have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A." They invest heavily in their team members, ensuring they are well supported (education, leading wages, advancement training, free meals on shift, scholarships, and more). In addition, they have world-class customer service where employees are trained in service and hospitality. Each employee knows the recipe for customer service: eye contact, smiling, speaking enthusiastically, and staying connected with the customer throughout their visit.
- A Brand Promise Is Memorable: A brand promise must be memorable enough to compel employees to use during customer interactions with your brand and for customers to engage with your brand. Memorable brands pique customers' interest, ignite their curiosity, and push the right buttons in customers' hearts and wallets.
- A Brand Promise Is Unique: Your brand most likely competes against numerous competitors. Therefore, it's important to identify what makes your brand different in order to build your brand promise to stand out from the crowd. An example is Google's brand promise: "To be the world's number one source of information."
- A Brand Promise Is Measurable: For your brand promise to be effective, it needs to be measurable. If you can't define it, you can't measure it, and if you can't measure it, you can't manage it. Try to make it quantifiable by using the following scale: time, emotion, quality, savings, distance. Let's look at a couple of examples:
- FedEx: Their brand promise is, "When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight." If your package arrives in two days instead of overnight, then FedEx has broken its brand promise.
- Domino's: Their brand promise is, "Pizza in 30 minutes or it's free." They've recently launched their Carside Delivery 2-Minute Guarantee: order Domino's Carside Delivery online, check in when you arrive, and as soon as your order is ready, a Domino's team member will head to your car in less than two minutes or your next pizza is free.
How To Create A Brand Promise
- Target: Understanding your target audience is critical as this information will define every strategy you execute. The power of your brand relies on your ability to be focused. Check out this step-by-step process on how to target your audience.
- Purpose: Knowing the deeper "why" your company or brand exists provides the foundation on which to build everything else. A great brand purpose is the reason for being beyond making a profit. It will always put the consumers first and manifest itself in everything it does. Here's an overview of how to develop your brand purpose.
- Unique Selling Proposition: If you are able to start with your unique selling proposition (USP), you'll be able to create a stronger brand promise that connects your brand with your employees and customers. A USP makes a strong first impression with your customers, making it easy for them to purchase your brand over your competitor's. Here is how to create a powerful USP.
- Formula: This is the fun part. Bringing all of your insights and analysis together to start brainstorming your brand promise ideas. Here's a tool to help you develop concise and simple statement.
We promise to [how] + target [who] + outcome [what] = Brand Promise
What you do for whom
Honestly, most customers don't know the brand promise of their favorite brands. What they do have is an impression from all the interactions with your brand that tell them what they can expect. An effective brand promise builds trust, reputation, growth, customers, and consistency. Customers know what to expect every time they interact with your brand. Until next time, keep building your brand leadership. You've got this!
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