Finding that magical revenue stream right away can be tough for a new franchisee. Being in charge of a reputable franchise brand can help the process, but surviving on name recognition alone is not a sustainable business model.
There are a number of things that can deter financial growth for franchises. Regulatory issues, commodity pricing or even the weather keeping customers from the store can all serve as hindrances. While some of these issues can be out of the hands of a franchisee, some are common financial hurdles with pretty simple answers to solve them. Here are 10 tips for franchisees to increase revenue in 2016:
Find the Right Employees
Increasing revenue can start with who a franchisee has on the front lines. Stellar employees can take a company from being small scale into the big leagues. Steve Catanese, vice president of operations for Buffalo Wings & Rings, said that in order to have great employees, businesses need to have a foolproof hiring process. This means looking at the type of questions that are being asked during interviews, types of background searches that are being performed, proper training and making sure the cost process is set. Once great employees are hired, then a business can prosper.
Get Involved with the Local Scene
Connecting with the local community is a perfect way to make a lasting impression in a territory. Once a business connects with the consumers they are providing goods for, they will be able to create a relationship that can equate to greater revenue. Businesses don’t have to donate a wing to the local hospital, but working with a local charity or doing local store marketing efforts with a chamber of commerce can make a company visible to the territory and help them move forward.
Increase Presence on Social Media
Simply posting a message on Twitter stating “It’s 11 a.m. and we’re open” is not enough to help self-promote. Remaining visible on these platforms is integral to sustaining financial prosperity. Developing specific items or promotions can be a way to reach a regular customer base or even new customers. Plus, keeping up to date pages is equally important. You’d be surprised how easy it is to forget about those things, and in a few months, business owners may think to themselves, “We have a Facebook page?”
Don’t Rely Too Much on Discounts
Catanese said that offering too many discounts may hurt a company, as opposed to help it.
“Everyone thought in order to increase traffic you had to discount. It’s a shortsighted way to have long term revenue growth,” he said. “Once you discount your product you are telling the public the product isn’t worth as much.”
Catanese went on to say there is nothing wrong with offering affordable deals for consumers, but getting that short taste of victory after one massive discount deal can start a reliance on these promotions. Try instead to promote what a company already has, such as a great product or a great service, as opposed to a get rich scheme.
Have a Laser Focused Approach
From the outset, a company should have a laser focus of who they are catering to and what their market wants. Catanese said not having a clear path of what they want to do and how they will do it can lead to some panic.
“When people are starting to hit the panic button or worrying about revenue growth, they start throwing money at all different directions and just see what sticks,” he said.
Look Inside the Company
Social media marketing and getting out and partnering with the community is all well and good, but if there are problems at the home base, it can cause negative effects for the revenue. Catanese recommends seeing the business through the eyes of the customer. Do the chairs in the restaurant look worn? Is the customer service hotline not providing specific enough answers for those who need assistance? A little housecleaning can get a business on the right path.
Find Alternative Solutions to Quick Fixes
In the unlikely instance that a customer is not happy with the service or with the product they are delivered a business may go the refund route. This is a bit counterintuitive to the process. Giving a refund is a white flag for businesses and customers may not want to come back. Businesses will lose more than the monetary value of one product if they decide to give a refund after every mistake; they will be losing a customer's continued business.
Don’t Go Overboard with Trends
Looking at the industry is a vital component to keeping financial growth going. It’s smart to stay ahead of the curve for a business, but going overboard and adopting all these new trends may be doing more harm than good. Cantanese used the craft beer trend as an example of what his restaurant business is going through. Some restaurants may want to only serve the finest local craft beers, but they are discounting those that still love the simpler options. Keeping a good balance between what is hot in the industry and what has worked in the past can help revenue remain strong.
Test Trends Out
Trying out new trends for franchises is great, but businesses should hold off on a national promotion right out of the gate. For restaurants in particular, one type of flavor or an item on a menu may not translate well to other parts of the country. Franchise Know How recommends doing a research and development phase for adding something new to a company. Test out these new items at a few stores and if it is a hit in the R&D phase, businesses can roll it out slowly to other franchises. This way, businesses aren’t spending too much for an item and have wasted capital if the promotion doesn’t ultimately work out.
It seems rather simple, but going back to the books can be the easiest way to discover how to get more revenue growth. Businesses that take a look at their finances and discover what areas need to spend more money on or discount on can make increasing sales and revenue all the more easier.