December 18th, 2018 by Marketing in Suppliers

When you think about the training involved in onboarding your new franchisees do you think of the image on the right? You care about your business passionately and it’s taken you many years to build it up. But you know in your heart that going through all of those important processes and policies can be, well, just a bit tiresome when you’ve done it for the nth time.

It’s not that you don’t think that the onboarding training is important. You know it’s essential. But it can be repetitive and if the franchises that we work with are anything to go by, then you worry that not enough of the information conveyed in your onboarding training is retained by your new franchisees.

And if you look at it from the point of the new franchisee, then you might realise that it can seem to them something a bit like the image below.

Franchisor

Franchisee

Joining your franchise network is an exciting time for them. They have made a positive decision and they’re looking forward to their journey with you. But it can also feel like they’re being overloaded with information just as they’re embarking. Let’s face it, we all find it tough to retain everything in these circumstances.

There’s got to be a better way, right?

Most of what is described above is carried out in face-to-face training when your new franchisee joins. Face-to-face sessions are a great way to build rapport, confidence and inspire new franchisees about your brand. So that’s exactly what they should be used for. Much of the detail about your processes and operations can be delivered online allowing franchisees to digest it in their own time and at their own pace. And crucially, they can dip into it when they’re most likely for it to embed, e.g. trying out a new process. They can also return to it to refresh whenever they need to.

But how do I know that it’s working?

By using our online learning platform, Course Builder, branded for your franchise, you can create, publish and track everyone’s learning easily, rewarding them with points and personalised certificates. You can use questions to test understanding and get feedback from franchisees using the survey tool.

With the right preparation the outcome of the onboarding experience can look more like this! For both of you!

Achievement

For advice about how we can help you with getting your onboarding training online please contact Frankie at iflourish at frankie@iflourish.co.uk.

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Image credits: Pixabay

December 13th, 2018 by Marketing in Suppliers

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As we come to the end of 2019 it’s time to look back at what we’ve learnt and what we expect to see over the next twelve months. So, we’ve harpooned our Strategy Director as he heads back towards the festive buffet for a third helping and got him to look at what he expects everyone to be talking about in 2019.

 

Content is everything

 

The rise of content marketing has been pretty meteorical over the past few years but it’s about to eclipse everything. That’s not to say that everything else will fall by the way side, but it’s a shift in thinking. Content marketing isn’t something that lives in its own little world on your website or social media channels. Content is everything from you that your viewers consume. This is everything from your TV ad to your funny little video you just made to wish your customers a merry Christmas.

 

This is where content marketing grows up. By thinking of it as a whole, marketers will naturally become more joined up in their thinking and start to deliver content in the same way that consumers consume.

 

Video will be expected

 

All of the major social video platforms and even the mighty Google are now prioritising video content. Potential customers are viewing more and are expecting more. The science backs it up showing that people retain more information from video compared to text and not just by a little either. People retain 10% of information if they read it online, but 95% if they watch an online video.

 

As video content has become the norm, consumers are expecting it and often seeking it out. This gives us an engaged customer hungry to hear from you in video format. We don’t want to leave them hanging.

 

Content will split along production lines

 

In its crudest form, producing video content can be done on your smartphone. You can be live to millions at the touch of a button. Yet, at the same time people are spending more and more money on the quality of their productions (just look at Red Bull). In the coming years, this will become the dividing line. You’ll have prepared content that is rich and lush and you’ll have “scrappy” content (I hate that term, but it is useful) which will be live, unscripted and raw.

 

And yes, there will be a divide on the quality of these productions but they will still be joined up. Don’t let the freeform nature of the rawer content fool you in to thinking it’s all as fresh and instant as it looks.

 

Influencers will influence

 

The impact of channels that empower users to generate their own content such as YouTube and Instagram has created celebrities in their own right. This is great as they have filled a niche and reached a new generation. Marketers have been tapping in to these with an ever-increasing budget to use their products in their videos etc. and this will only increase.

 

However, these influencers will need to get more savvy. Sponsored posts are becoming as annoying as pop-ups and interstitials. A lot of these influencers have no marketing background so if you want to use them to promote your product, you’re going to have to influence the influencer and strike that perfect balance between your brand and theirs.

 

A great way to do this is to get involved and produce bespoke content together. They will probably charge more for this, but if it’s the difference between the content working for you and it being one of their least watched videos ever, it’s worth the investment.

 

We’re all individuals (I’m not)

 

Content marketing has grown quickly and with so many people trying to create content for the sake of it, there’s a lot of copy-catting going on. This is understandable in any emerging channel but with content marketing starting to mature, we’ll begin to see much more sophisticated strategies coming in to play.

 

With content marketing, and with a particular thought towards video content marketing, there are so many levers to pull, so many iterations that you could have, the only way forward is to make it all tailored. What works for your competitors won’t work for you, the video with a skateboarding cat that got loads of views won’t do so again and particularly if you put a logo on it. It’s important that brands start to think of themselves first rather than just what’s trending.

 

Overall, 2019 is going to be a huge year for those that take video content by the horns. If you’d like to discuss how you could make the most of the opportunity ahead, we’d be more than happy to put the kettle on. Drop us a line via office@wearetransmission.com

December 4th, 2018 by Marketing in Suppliers

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Richard Branson said: “Clients do not come first, employees come first. Take care of employees and they will take care of your clients”

 

Basically, if you take care of your employees, they’re much more likely to make sure the company is producing more profit. There’s not just a magic spell for happy employees, so here are some tips to keeping your workers happy.

 

#1 Purposeful Leadership

 

Negative management will contribute to negative atmosphere. Always be positive and motivated, if you walk into the office in a bad headspace, the whole office is going to feel it. As a leader, it’s vital to be aware of the energy you’re bringing into the room.

 

It’s easy to forget your staff are giving up a lot of their time to work for you. Even though they’re getting paid, a little appreciation goes a long way. Feeling appreciated is one of the best feelings for an employee at work.

 

If you have a hard worker who is always hitting target, let them know they’ve done a good job. Try a reward scheme for those who have gone the extra mile. Positive reinforcement is a highly successful technique for motivating your employees.

 

Be the leader you would want to follow.

 

#2 Be Passionate & Create a Common Goal

 

You started this business. No one is going to be excited about it unless you are! Share your vision for the future with your team. Make sure they know you have a plan for them within that vision.

 

Having a common goal pulls everyone in the same direction.

 

If you come into the office excited about the future, it will be infectious.

 

#3 Rules of the Game

 

Consistency is key to a successful workplace. If you say you’re going to do something, do it.

 

It’s also important when it comes to the rules. Treat every employee the same. This is enforced by a clear set of rules your entire company have to follow. It is great to have flexibility and for your team to feel empowered to make their own decisions but be clear on the framework within which they can do this, so you build a clear and consistent delivery to the end customer.

 

#4 Coaching and feedback.

 

Regular coaching and feedback can give someone a clear path of progression. Ensure each of your team has a clear action plan of what they need to do to grow and develop within the business.

 

You will also be able to praise them for what they’ve achieved and provide constructive criticism in the need to improve. An employee with clear and precise instruction will be more productive and feel like they have purpose.

 

It helps to connect employees to the company’s vision and values. If you’re working towards the same goals, it will create a positive atmosphere full of people who are on the same mission.

 

#5 Support Risk Taking

 

Within the framework and rules of the game of course but encourage and nurture a culture within the business that supports people trying new things. A fear of failure, or worse, a fear of ridicule will not encourage innovation and development of your business.

 

The best ideas will come from within the team, encourage them to come forward with ideas and try new things, if you don’t get things wrong then you are not trying enough things!

 

#6 100% Involvement & Inclusion

 

It’s easy to forget your staff are giving up a lot of their time to work for you. Even though they’re getting paid, a little appreciation goes a long way. Feeling appreciated is one of the best feelings for an employee at work.

 

If you have a hard worker who is always hitting target, let them know they’ve done a good job. Try a reward scheme for those who have gone the extra mile. Positive reinforcement is a highly successful technique for motivating your employees. Everybody likes a treat, especially when it’s a reward for the hard work they’ve done

 

Make sure this extends to all of your team – sometimes it is easy to focus on the customer facing team as they have achieved a great sale – include everyone in your appreciation.

 

This list is by no means exhaustive! If you want your company to run smoothly, you have to make sure the entire system is healthy. At the heart of every company is the employees. A happy, focused and engaged workforce is a productive workforce.

 

Action; our key challenge for you this month is this;

 

Take a long hard look at yourself in the mirror. Are you the leader / manager you would want to work for? If your team is not performing exactly as you want, maybe that starts with you!

 

To get in touch to talk through how ActionCOACH can help you not only grow your business, but reach your goals too email us on ukpartners@actioncoach.com

November 28th, 2018 by Marketing in Suppliers

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London & Zurich want to enable SMEs and franchises to function and thrive. As a Direct Debit and card payment provider, London & Zurich use economy of scale to minimise key costs while providing a cutting-edge service.

 

Whether you are the franchisor collecting your monthly royalty fees or marketing funds, or the franchisee collecting client fees, customer payments or sales revenue, London & Zurich’s card payment and Direct Debit facilities will bring faster, easier collections and improved cash flow to your business.

 

How London & Zurich will work with you

 

As a franchised business, trading under the franchisor’s brand name, London & Zurich are able to treat you as being one sub-section of a larger, established company. To you, this means no set-up costs, low monthly admin fees, very competitive SUN rates, and you would just pay us for the transactions you put through. Our aim is to help small businesses and franchises to function and expand.

 

As a franchisor, using Direct Debits will mean your payments from franchised outlets will be regular, correct and on time. Our online portal and central reporting suite will give you all the tools you need to monitor and analyse all payment data, and thus inform decisions around the franchise’s business and marketing strategy.

 

You may also, as a franchised legal or accountancy practice for example, have interest in helping your clients to upgrade their customer payment collection processes. Speak to us about our partnership scheme, where we find ways to help us help each other, enabling greater customer service all round and improved retention at both levels.

November 23rd, 2018 by Marketing in Suppliers

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For several years now Content Marketing has been the fastest growing part of the marketing budget and Video Content Marketing the largest slice of that. As the industry has developed, the tools at the marketeers disposal have become sharper and more powerful.

 

 

This plethora of opportunity can be confusing and, for many big brands, ends up in a bit of a jumbled mess. With all this going on we need to make sure we don’t lose sight of is the original reason we wanted to use video content in the first place – to increase sales.

 

 

Whether you’re increasing awareness or driving conversion, it’s all about increasing the bottom line. Whether that’s sign ups, unit sales or data collection the video content needs to drive towards it.

 

 

In order to do this, we need to align the content to the purchase funnel. For example, if we’re looking to increase awareness using video content, we want to increase the volume of potential leads at the top of the funnel. This means the content needs to have broad appeal with a simple and clear message. This type of content would normally exist off-site so either broadcast on TV or paid for promotion on YouTube or Facebook.

 

 

Further down the funnel when we’re looking for a direct response we need to think differently. The customer will be leaning forward so we need to break down those barriers to purchase with testimonials and reviews. These will typically be on-site and help the customer in confirming that they’re about to make the right purchase.

 

 

Video content can be incredibly powerful when used correctly and the key to this is understand what role you want your video content to play in the customer’s purchase journey.

 

 

At Transmission, we work with clients to help them define how content can work best for them at various points of the customer journey. This helps our clients to measure the impact of their video content investment effectively and build the case for investment internally. But don’t just take our word for it. Have a look at a recent case study where we helped increase conversion by 34% year on year.

 

 

To find out how video content marketing can drive sales for you get in touch with us today.

November 12th, 2018 by Marketing in Suppliers

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Ah the daily commute, what does yours look like? Do you dread leaving your house each morning for fear of traffic or delays? Or do you relish the head space to listen to your favourite podcast or read a book? Perhaps you are of the few amongst us that has an exhilarating and adrenaline fuelled journey to work.

 
Kite surfing, swimming, cycling and even a horse and cart have all been reported as alternative methods of commuting, and that’s only in the UK! Further afield planes, jet packs and even zip lines are also considered viable ways to get to work.

 

The influence on mood

However you commute, your method of travel may vary greatly to others around you. It’ll depend on factors like your location, working hours and personal interests. And with such a broad range of journeys taking place, it’s safe to assume that the daily commute can also influence mood.

 
Is the employee that walks to work experiencing the same stresses as the one that deals with persistent train delays? Or the parent who leaves earlier to drop off their kids on the way, only to be faced with traffic jams and a double delay?

 

Working on the way

How about the employee who works on the way to work? Recent statistics show that in today’s “always on” culture, this type of commuter is becoming more common. In fact, 54% of surveyed passengers in London were sending work emails via the train Wi-Fi on their journey to work. It may be productive for some, but overall what does it say about work/life balance?

 
Some researchers propose that with so many people using their journey to work, for work; the time spent should be included as actual working hours.

 

Getting the most from the moment

As an employer, you’ll want to be able to monitor or regulate the time that your employees are spending working out of hours before making any changes to their working day. If it appears that you have an “always on” employee, it could be worth having a 121 to discuss their workload and avoid burnout.

 
A proactive approach could be to suggest alternative ways for your employees to utilise their commuting time. Whether it’s book or podcast recommendations, brain-teasing puzzles, mindfulness apps or song suggestions for some carpool karaoke! Promoting downtime to your employees shows that you care about their wellbeing and are aware of stresses they may be facing outside of their working hours.

 
If an employee really does find working on their way to work the most productive part of their day, perhaps you can discuss flexi-time or agree an earlier leaving time to strike the right balance.

 
However you wish to tackle the power of the daily commute, your local HR Dept professional is here to help. Call us today on 0345 208 1120 or visit our website www.hrdept.co.uk for top tips on battling commuter woes amongst your workforce.

October 31st, 2018 by Marketing in Suppliers

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Image credit: Pixabay

 

At the recent Franchise Supplier Showcase 2018 event one of the keynote speakers, Simon Bartholomew, former Chairman of the British Franchise Association, talked about the priorities for franchises and one he emphasised was training. Undoubtedly most franchises carry out some sort of training, but as we found from the many people that came to our stand to talk to us on the day, it is most often carried out as part of the onboarding process and it is not retained.

 
So, we all know we should be putting more care into our training, but as ever time is short and too often it slips down the list of priorities. If you really take the time to stop and think about the benefits to your business you might realise why training needs to be a priority for you.

Building and protecting your brand reputation

Explaining the values of your brand how it should be sold to customers through effective training will pay dividends for you and your franchisees in the long run. This includes explaining the pitfalls of deviating from the brand values or cutting corners with quality.

Supporting your franchisees to grow revenues

You have built up your brand and know what works in reaching and persuading customers buy from you. Sharing that experience with your franchisees, e.g. how to make social media work to their advantage, will help them grow revenues and also increase your value proposition to them.

Freeing up your time and growing your franchisee network size

Many franchisors have told us that the onboarding training they do is repetitive and takes up time that could be spent on other valuable tasks. Using online training you can remove the need to repeat standard messages and it also allows you to focus any time you spend with franchisees on training that is best delivered face-to-face, e.g. role play.

 
Removing the need to book training venues, arrange travel, refreshments, etc. also saves you money and allows more people to access the training without the worry of having to give up time to travel to a fixed location.

Making sure your legal and compliance issues are managed and monitored

Whatever your franchise business you will have legal requirements, e.g. GDPR, as well as needing franchisees to comply with your operations manual. Online training is a great way to deliver this training, which can be dry at times, and to test knowledge through a range of questions and assessments. You’ll have the reassurance that you know that your franchisees have proved their knowledge and you can intervene where reports indicate concerns.

But how do I get my training online?

Our learning platform, Course Builder, proved popular at the recent Franchise Supplier Showcase event. But the most common question we faced was how to get the training online? Fortunately, we have over 20 years’ experience of helping a wide range of clients to develop online training. Whether it’s just tapping into our expertise or if you need more ‘hands on’ help, we can support you. As another keynote speaker at the Showcase, John Hotowka, said “What’s holding you back? Just do it!”

 
For advice about how we can help you with training please contact Frankie at iflourish at frankie@iflourish.co.uk.

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October 30th, 2018 by Marketing in Suppliers

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Bank expert believes London & Zurich Direct Debit solution is an ideal model for the franchise industry.

 
Franchise Finance was founded in 1979 and today is recognised as one of the foremost providers of finance to the franchise industry, working with a wide range of reputable franchisors to provide finance and related services to their franchisees.

 
The organisation recently engaged with London & Zurich and recommends its Direct Debit collection facility to its franchise community clients. The London & Zurich facility not only allows both franchisors and franchisees to better predict and manage cashflow but also enhances the processes of royalty and marketing levy collection for franchisors and collection of payments by franchisees from their customers. Furthermore, the system makes the interaction between both parties much more transparent, allowing for an ongoing healthy and mutually beneficial relationship.

 
“Any organisation wishing to deploy a Direct Debit facility historically has had to demonstrate a high degree of credit worthiness to the banks, which rely upon an indemnity in the event of payment errors or fraudulent activity,” says Chris Roberts, a director of Franchise Finance, himself a former manager with one of the UK’s leading high street banks.

 
“This has proven to be an almost insurmountable obstacle to those smaller SMEs and new organisations, who understood the financial and administrative benefits, but were frustrated in their ambitions to access the facility.

 
Chris Roberts and his colleagues found the proactive and open approach of Sam Pollard and his peers at London & Zurich to be helpful and knowledgeable about the challenges of the demands of running a successful franchise operation. The system was developed so that the facility is offered to franchisor clients on a white-label basis, which creates a professional image to franchisees, and subsequently, their customers.

 
London & Zurich’s Direct Debit package offers clients – such as those with whom Franchise Finance works – a secure, cost-effective and quick means of payment collection and processing, allowing for predictable, managed cash flow. The system recommended by Chris Roberts enables franchisors to collect fees from franchisees who, in turn, can collect fees from their clients too.

 
Kevin Morgan, London & Zurich’s Managing Director, explains: “Each of the franchisors has his or her unique, protected access to the system and, once logged in, funds can be collected from their franchisees and their clients.”

 
The benefits of London & Zurich’s secure Direct Debit collections systems are obvious. Franchisors and franchisees within Franchise Finance’s client community network first and foremost want to focus on growing their businesses rather than becoming mired in chasing payment of invoices.

 
Both parties are able to spread their fees out over a number of pre-agreed payments per month, making life easier for clients. They can also predict and manage the cash flow which supports their business, and they don’t need to devote time and money to making phone calls to chase payments – which can erode the customer relationship and retention – nor are they tied up with administration and paperwork.

 
There is yet another level in the relationship, in that franchisors, their franchisees and their clients can participate in the London & Zurich referral scheme. Should these parties identify an organisation who could successfully deploy the London & Zurich Direct Debit system they receive a commission and thus boost their own revenue.

 
“We recognise that there may be franchisor clients whose smaller franchisees may still insist on paying by cheque, but the majority have the opportunity to enjoy the business benefits and peace of mind offered by the robust DD system from day one. All parties to the solution are able to enjoy professional, open and strong relationships, confident that revenues will be timely. If only everything in life could be so well managed.”

 
Granite Transformations, which designs and manufactures agglomerate work surfaces and glass mosaic tiles using sustainable methods and resources, is one such franchisor client. It retails its products exclusively through a franchise network of Granite Transformations’ showrooms, with its own fitters performing installations.

 
Wendy Wiltshire of Granite Transformations comments:  “Our original approach relied upon franchisees making payments by Bacs and demanded us engaging in time and resource-consuming credit control. We knew that Direct Debit was the route to go down, but initial discussions with the banking fraternity suggested that it would be a costly and drawn-out endeavour.

 
“We became aware of the London & Zurich solution and subsequently we set up an account. The majority of Granite Transformations’ 20 UK franchisees pay their fees monthly via Direct Debit and because we are confident that funds will arrive in our account on time, the funds don’t leave the franchisees’ bank accounts until the 20th of the month, as opposed to the 10th, which was the case under the Bacs regime.

 
“Training on the system was straightforward and all relevant documentation is produced and issued with our logo upon it. The London & Zurich solution is a fit-and-forget system that has truly made the collection of fees easy and predictable.”

October 25th, 2018 by Marketing in Suppliers

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Particularly if your business hours fall when your customers are at work. Often people want to get in touch outside of ‘office hours’ through necessity rather than choice, but are left frustrated when the company is closed for the day.

 

Moneypenny works with franchise businesses to answer their calls and live chat outside of traditional opening hours – up to 24/7 if needed. So a real person is always available to respond to customers’ enquires.

 

Our door’s always open

 

It’s hard to imagine a company like Amazon only being open for business between the hours of 9-5, right? As customers, we know we can rely on them for anything, whether it’s for a last-minute birthday gift or that gadget you can’t find anywhere else. We trust them – and it works in the exact same way for your franchise. Keeping your ‘doors’ open for longer means your customers can depend on you.

 

It’s easy – amazing Moneypenny Receptionists will answer your calls and chats when you can’t, whether it’s 2pm or 2am. And with 24/7 support, you can close-down for the day, knowing we’re there to manage your phone calls or website chats just as you would.

 

Early birds and night owls

 

Moneypenny handles circa 6,000 out-of-hours chats during the week – so it’s fair to say, people like the convenience live chat provides at either end of the day – with 48% of chats resulting in a new business lead.

 

People are increasingly expecting to find live chat on websites, and it’s becoming a necessity for businesses to provide as part of their customer service offering. We know how difficult it can be for a business to manage its own live chat, which is how we can help.

 

Moneypenny offers franchises the full package – knowledgeable receptionists to look after live chat whenever they need it. It’s the perfect solution for franchises.

 

We’ve got you covered

 

In order to keep your franchise running as smoothly as possible, having backup is essential. Whether you’re on the road, busy dealing with customers face-to-face or even relaxing at home after a hard day’s work, Moneypenny will be on-hand to answer your calls whenever you can’t.

 

And what’s better? Moneypenny’s service is completely tailored to you and your franchise. You know your business better than anyone, so you tell us the ‘do’s and don’ts’ and we’ll take it from there.

October 25th, 2018 by Marketing in Suppliers

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Customer service is the backbone of good business. But you knew that already.

 

At Moneypenny we work with franchises every day to help them offer first-class customer service, and provide their franchisors with a full-service package.

 

Answer every call

 

Whether in-house staff are dealing with customers, are out of the office or in meetings, also trying to answer every call can be like juggling with one ball too many. Eventually calls will go unanswered. And with them, the possibility of new business. Here’s where telephone answering can make all of the difference.

 

We give you your own dedicated Moneypenny Receptionist to answer calls exactly as if based in your office. They answer it exactly as if based in your office, sending detailed messages back so you’re fully prepared to follow up with the customer.

 

Greet customers with live chat

 

As customers will most likely be looking your business up on the internet before taking action, so strike while the iron is hot. Live chat on your website means your customers are able to ask questions and request information when their interest is piqued.

 

The numbers speak for themselves – Moneypenny handles around 2 million conversations per year, 48% of these resulting in new leads. It converts website visitors into customers whilst increasing customer service – its win-win.

 

Danica Clements, Group Marketing Manager, Acorn Blue: “Before using Live Chat, our customers were often waiting until the next day for a response. Now they can chat to a real person, even if it’s out of hours, giving our website visitors reassurance their enquiry is being dealt with there and then.”

 

24/7 ready to go

 

Can you guarantee that your franchise business is available to answer every single call or online enquiry, even if it’s during the weekend or even overnight? You may not think it at first, but having telephone and live chat support in place 24/7 could make the world of difference to your business. Being there for your customers, anytime, anywhere allows you to offer first-class service.

 

Rachel Evans, Marketing Manager, Jackson Fire & Security: “Since having Moneypenny on board, all of our franchisees are confident that every opportunity is captured and a fantastic first impression is delivered every time.”