Posted by: Roni Deutch Staff | April 8, 2009

Spring Time Marketing with Scott

Last week, the WatchMeFranchise team visited the store of Scott Juceam, a local Roni Deutch Tax Center owner, to discuss springtime marketing and the approaching tax deadline. Check out the embedded video of hostess Amanda Scarr interviewing Scott below.

Posted by: Roni Deutch Staff | April 7, 2009

Spring Time Marketing Tips for Small Business Owners

Springtime brings sunny weather, beautiful flowers, and BBQs. It is also the time of year you see all kinds of advertisements evoking the spirit of spring and a fresh start. The season presents a great marketing opportunity for a business owner, especially if leveraged correctly. To help our readers keep their marketing strong this spring, we have put together the following top 8 list.

1. New services or products

In spirit of the new season, you should consider offering new services or products. Springtime brings the message of new opportunities and fresh starts, especially in a time of economic trouble. Customers tend to be much more willing to try out new things, and as a business owner you want to make sure to keep your services fresh and new.

2. Lighten your ads

Putting together advertisements relevant to the season and time can generate a lot of new customers. Write springtime related phrases, using keywords like “fresh start” and “spring cleaning” to get the attention of readers.

3. Springtime colors

Adding some colorful and inviting springtime decorations will help make your store feel like it fits in with the season. You could also consider putting some flowers and decorations outside of your store to attract more attention from by passers.

4. Easter Bunny photos

Just like with Santa’s during the winter season, you could consider having one of your staff members dress up like an Easter Bunny to take pictures with children. You could even schedule a special day to have the event and include it in your marketing materials.

5. Egg hunts

In addition to having photo opportunities with the Easter Bunny, you could also put together an egg hunt for children in the community. It can be a great way to meet families around your store, while promoting your business at the same time. You may want to talk to some of your business-neighbors to see if they will pitch-in to put together the event and also receive some of the benefit.

6. Spring specials

Spring sales pop up all over the place once the weather begins to brighten up. You could offer a “spring-cleaning” sale, or special discounts with a seasonal message. Create specials that will expire at the end of the season to make sure customers will come in sooner then later.

7. Refresh your web site

Giving your web site a new look, or innovative new features is another great way to start anew with the spring season. It will not only impress your existing clients, but also show new clients that you are up to date with technology and online marketing.

8. Tax refunds

April 15th is the tax deadline, which means thousands of people will be filing their taxes and receiving their refund checks from the government a couple weeks thereafter. Therefore you will want to encourage people to spend their tax refunds at your store by mentioning taxes or the IRS in your marketing materials.

Posted by: Roni Deutch Staff | April 1, 2009

Top 10 Tips to Keep your Employees Motivated

When you are running a business, it can often be difficult to focus on those around you as much as you should. However, it is important to remember that running your business would be a lot harder without your dedicated team. In today’s economy, it is especially important to make sure your staff feels appreciated and motivated. To help those of you struggling to inspire your team, we have put together the following top 10 list of ways to keep your employees motivated.

1. Constructive criticism

Every now and them you will need to tell an employee that they did something wrong, and it is important to do so tactfully. Criticizing an employee and leaving it at that will make them feel discouraged. We suggest always trying to use the “one good, one bad” formula, where you give your employee a compliment before the criticism. This way your employee will feel like they are receiving constructive criticism instead of feeling like they are being attacked.

2. Employee appreciation

Every now and then it is a good idea to do something nice to show appreciation for your team by throwing a party or social event outside of the office. Your crew will feel great to know you were thinking of them, and they will be even more impressed that you went to the effort of throwing a party to show your appreciation.

3. Give yourself a review

It is very difficult for some business owners to receive criticism. However, with employees, you must remember that you do not run your business alone. Thus, it is important to give your staff a voice. Every few months it’s a good idea to hand out a “supervisor review” to your team, and let them tell you what they think your business and your management skills.

4. Company charity day

Team-building seminars and events help your staff bond and learn to work together in different situations. One way to do so is by organizing a community service day for you and your staff, as a paid day of work. Whether you plant trees or run a marathon, it will make your team see your human side, and your fun side.

5. Well-deserved promotions

You do not need to give a raise or promote an employee every time he or she does something great. However, when they do go above and beyond to get a job done, it is important to show that you noticed and appreciate their hard work.

6. Company lunches

Take your team out – or order in – for lunch every now and then. You can use the opportunity to throw an impromptu lunch meeting where you can get feedback and ideas from your employees in an informal setting.

7. Make employees feel needed

Be sure to tell your employees that you appreciate and need their work. It is always easier for some one to put effort into completing a task when they feel needed. If an employee feels their job is not achieving anything then they will likely be much less motivated.

8. Leave your door open

Implementing an open door policy means that any of your employees are free to express any questions or concerns on anything job-related at any time. Doing this will not only build trust with your employees, but will also prevent drama from entering the workplace, by allowing you to put an end to problems before they begin.

9. Let them contribute

Allowing staff members to run ideas by you and contribute their creative thoughts will make them feel more invested in the company. Even if you do not take their advice, always lend an ear when and employee has an idea. However, if you do not use their idea, then you will want to make sure they understand why.

10. Keeping them involved…

At the beginning of every year, it is a good idea to outline some of your goals for the company and share them with your team. Keeping employees aware of your goals will help them realize that they are working towards something, and feel more involved in the company’s growth.

Posted by: Roni Deutch Staff | March 16, 2009

10 Ways to Market your Small Business for Under $200

Marketing and advertising your small business can get quite pricey, but it does not have to be. In fact, there are hundreds upon hundreds of ways to get your word out there for little or no cost at all. To help some of our readers wondering how to run a low-budget marketing campaign of their own, we have put together this list of ways to market your small business for under $200.

1. Business Cards

Despite what many think, business cards are actually quite affordable. There are hundreds of sites online with all kinds of sales and discounts; just make sure to find one that lets you upload your company logo. Then give these cards out to everyone you meet. The person you give your card to might not need your services right now, but at least they will have your contact information in the future.

2. Mailers

Try creating mailers or a monthly newsletter to send out to your clients on a regular basis with special offers or news. You want to make sure you stay in touch with your clients so that they do not forget about your store. Also, by offering free information in a newsletter you can help establish trust with your clients.

3. Create a Referral Program

By creating a referral program you can basically put your customers to work for you! By offering a small discount to current clients you can generate dozens of new clients with almost no direct cost to you.

4. Newspaper Ads

Try taking an ad out in your local newspaper or magazine. This is a great way to reach out to local customer opportunities, and support your community at the same time. If your area newspaper is too expensive, then you could try a discount publication such as the Penny Saver. Even better, you could even reach out to your local paper and offer to write a new article on a subject related to your business.

5. Online Presence

Having an online presence these days is pretty much essential for a small business. If you do not already have your own website, or a page on a corporate site, then you should definitely consider creating one. It does not need to be a big budget production, just a simple page with a picture and some contact info. Remember, having a website means that you can put the address on your business cards, letterhead, etc.

6. Submit to Google Maps

Once you have your store location, you can submit your address to Google maps. You do not even have to have a website to do this, although we recommend you do. This will make it so that customers searching in your area will find your store when they check Google Maps.

7. Networking Events

Join your local chamber of commerce to mingle with other business owners and potential clients. Some networking groups or events have sign-up or admission fees, but if you bring enough business cards and work the crowd well, it will more than make up for it.

8. Give Something Away for Free

Offering a promotion and losing a little profit is well worth signing up a new client in the end. You can do this by having a grand-opening sale, or simply by slashing prices for the first 50 customers over a weekend. Once you get the customers in the hot seat, you can do everything in your power to keep them coming back.

9. Search Engine Marketing

Search engine marketing is a great way to generate leads for your business. You can hire a SEM company or specialist to help you out, but there are also plenty of ways to do some online marketing yourself. Google adWords has a great “Beginner’s Edition” program that will help you select keywords and create ads for a basic pay per click campaign.

10. Sign Waivers

Having a sign holder for even just the weekends is a great way to get attention to your business, especially if your store is located on a busy street.

Posted by: Roni Deutch Staff | March 10, 2009

Guerilla Marketing at its Best

Earlier today some one brought it to our attention that a Roni Deutch Tax Center® franchisee (Millie Judd) in Dearborn, MI posted videos of the sign waives she hired to promote her store. As you can see, the sign waivers are getting a lot of attention for Millie’s store simply by brightening up the snowy street.

Posted by: Roni Deutch Staff | March 9, 2009

Local Area Marketing with Lakota and Gentry

After giving us a tour of her store last week, Lakota was able to sit down with Amanda and another local area franchisee, Gentry, to discuss what they are doing to help market the Roni Deutch Tax Center® brand in the greater Sacramento area. Once the three of them began talking the conversation got so good that we lost track of time and had to split the video into two parts in order to upload them to YouTube. So be sure to watch out both videos below and check back soon for additional franchise advice videos.

Posted by: Roni Deutch Staff | March 2, 2009

Top 10 Tax Tips for Small Business Owners

Preparing and filing business returns can quickly turn into a headache for anyone who does not work in the tax industry. Luckily, there are dozens of things you can do both during tax season and throughout the year to make your business taxes much more manageable. To help our readers this tax season, the WatchMeFranchise team has complied the following list of our favorite 10 tax tips for small business owners to get you started.

1.  Stay Current

Every year dozens of new tax laws are put in place that give birth to new deductions and credits, while others expire. A well informed tax preparer should know all of these updates and inform you of them, but do not leave everything to them. Keeping yourself up-to-date as well will ensure that you do not miss a thing.

2. Know your Deductions

As a business owner, you have a whole list of deductions all your own to use. First and foremost, you can write off any expenses necessary to run your business. In order to qualify, the expense must be necessary and ordinary. You might want to run any and all business expense deductions by your tax professional so you know they are okay to deduct.

3. Keep Organized

As you probably already know, running a business requires a lot of documentation. This documentation is your number one tool for filing your taxes, both annually and quarterly. Keep all business-related receipts, copies of client payments, and any other business expense you need for taxes. These documents should be well organized, and easy to access when it comes time to file.

4. Be Charitable

Giving to charities throughout the year will benefit you in more way than one. Charitable donations are always tax deductible, so you can take advantage of that. In addition, as a small business owner, you benefit from the free publicity of listing your business as a charitable donator. For example, donating money to the local little league team could get you a sign on their baseball field. Look into charity options in your community!

5. Track Tax Times

Do not forget – as a business owner you need to pay not only your annual state and federal taxes, but your quarterly payments as well. Make very sure you have reminders on in your planner or on your calendar for all tax deadlines that concern you.

6. Payroll Taxes

In addition to being on top of your personal and business taxes, you should keep yourself informed on employee taxes as well. If you enter in some numbers wrong and accidentally put your employee claiming 0 all year instead of 1 as they requested, that is a lot of cash you will be shelling-out come tax time. In addition, it is good to be knowledgeable on employee taxes so that you can provide any employees educated answers to tax questions.

7. Year-End Efforts

At the end of every year, business owners all over the country scramble to buy things they need for the office, and other expenses for the business to keep them on that tax season. You should do the same! Taking year-end deductions will make it easier to budget, and save you tons of cash.

8. Hire a Professional

This should be a no-brainer, but with the economy right now, a lot of people are considering doing their own taxes this year. However, this can be a very bad idea. While personal taxes are often pretty simple, business taxes are not. With the constant change in business tax rules, it is difficult to stay updated when it is not your industry. It is also easy to miss things when you have been looking at the same documents for a year. Hiring a professional for your small business’s taxes will be well worth the extra cash.

9. IRS.gov

The IRS website has a lot of useful information for business owners and small business owners concerning their taxes. In fact, there is an entire section of their site dedicated to it. The small business and self-employed section of their site has links to several informative pages full of tax information that concerns you. Go to http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/index.html to see for yourself.

10. Stay Legal

As much as taxpayers are warned to keep their taxes 100% legal, there are still thousands of deductions and credits taken out every year by people who do not deserve them. Sometimes these unearned deductions are accidental, and often they are the result of and unethical tax preparer. Watch for warning signs of a tax preparation specialist who uses “black hat” tricks to get you a better return. Remember, any tax preparer that guarantees you a return without looking at your case first is one to be avoided at all costs.

Posted by: Roni Deutch Staff | February 19, 2009

Lakota Verberne Giving a Tour of her Roni Deutch Tax Center

Last week the WatchMeFranchise.com team stopped by the store of a local franchisee, Lakota Verberne, who recently opened a Roni Deutch Tax Center in Folsom, CA. In this video, Lakota gave us a tour of her store, and gave advice for other franchisees on things like site selection and choosing a vendor for furniture and phone equipment. The video is embedded below, and be sure to check back in a few weeks for a video of Lakota discussing area marketing with another local franchisee.

Posted by: Roni Deutch Staff | February 16, 2009

7 Reasons to be a Multiple Unit Franchise Owner

Becoming a franchise owner is a big and exciting venture when you open a single store; so just imagine what opening multiple stores feels like! Although it sounds much more difficult, opening up multiple locations of a franchised business is actually quite easy if you know what you are doing. Since there are so many misconceptions out there, the WatchMeFranchise team decided to organize the following list explaining the benefits of being a multiple-unit franchise owner.

1. More Profitable

The biggest reason to open multiple units of a franchise is because you have the opportunity to make much more money. There is only so much money to be made from owning a single location, but if you begin to expand then the income possibilities are essentially limitless.

2. Franchise Incentives

Depending on the franchise you own, there may be incentives offered by the franchisors for owning multiple units. Incentives could be a reduced price, free services for your store, or even prime store locations. Franchisors will usually offer these incentives for multiple-unit owners, as it saves them time and money as well for you to have multiple locations.

3. Advertising Savings

If you own multiple franchises, you can save on advertising by running one set of ads, but providing two (or three, or four, etc.) contact sections. You have probably seen this in ads all over the place, but had never considered it as an advantage to the franchise owners.

4. Multiple-Unit Management

Managing one store can be hard enough at times; so many people get quite concerned about the idea of managing multiple stores. However, most multiple-unit franchise owners will decide to hire a store manager for each location. That way, as the owner, you become more of an over-seer and will not need to handle as many day-to-day operations.

5. Higher Success Rate

It has been proven that multiple-unit franchise owners have a much higher success rate than that of single-unit owners. While all franchises have a statistically higher success rate than other small businesses, multiple-unit franchisees have an even higher success rate.

6. You are NOT Alone

Many people assume that because single-unit owners outnumber multiple-unit franchise owners by 4 to 1, that it is a bad business venture. However, although there are fewer multiple-unit owners, they own more total franchise units then single-owners do. According to recent surveys, multiple-unit owners own about 55% of the total number of franchised stores in this country.

7. Potential to Branch Out

While many multiple-unit franchise owners like to monopolize their area, others opt to do the complete opposite. Owning multiple franchises also allows you to have businesses in different locations, even different states. Some people find it exciting two have business in two states, either because they have family there, or because they feel more stable being spread out. You can also choose to open multiple franchises in different areas which you feel are “up and coming” for your services, to try to get the most bang for your buck.

Posted by: Roni Deutch Staff | February 5, 2009

Top 10 Tax Tips for Small Business Owners

Preparing and filing business returns can quickly turn into a headache for anyone who does not work in the tax industry. Luckily, there are dozens of things you can do both during tax season and throughout the year to make your business taxes much more manageable. To help our readers this tax season, the WatchMeFranchise team has complied the following list of our favorite 10 tax tips for small business owners to get you started.

1. Stay Current

Every year dozens of new tax laws are put in place that give birth to new deductions and credits, while others expire. A well informed tax preparer should know all of these updates and inform you of them, but do not leave everything to them. Keeping yourself up-to-date as well will ensure that you do not miss a thing.

2. Know your Deductions

As a business owner, you have a whole list of deductions all your own to use. First and foremost, you can write off any expenses necessary to run your business. In order to qualify, the expense must be necessary and ordinary. You might want to run any and all business expense deductions by your tax professional so you know they are okay to deduct.

3. Keep Organized

As you probably already know, running a business requires a lot of documentation. This documentation is your number one tool for filing your taxes, both annually and quarterly. Keep all business-related receipts, copies of client payments, and any other business expense you need for taxes. These documents should be well organized, and easy to access when it comes time to file.

4. Be Charitable

Giving to charities throughout the year will benefit you in more way than one. Charitable donations are always tax deductible, so you can take advantage of that. In addition, as a small business owner, you benefit from the free publicity of listing your business as a charitable donator. For example, donating money to the local little league team could get you a sign on their baseball field. Look into charity options in your community!

5. Track Tax Times

Do not forget – as a business owner you need to pay not only your annual state and federal taxes, but your quarterly payments as well. Make very sure you have reminders on in your planner or on your calendar for all tax deadlines that concern you.

6. Payroll Taxes

In addition to being on top of your personal and business taxes, you should keep yourself informed on employee taxes as well. If you enter in some numbers wrong and accidentally put your employee claiming 0 all year instead of 1 as they requested, that is a lot of cash you will be shelling-out come tax time. In addition, it is good to be knowledgeable on employee taxes so that you can provide any employees educated answers to tax questions.

7. Year-End Efforts

At the end of every year, business owners all over the country scramble to buy things they need for the office, and other expenses for the business to keep them on that tax season. You should do the same! Taking year-end deductions will make it easier to budget, and save you tons of cash.

8. Hire a Professional

This should be a no-brainer, but with the economy right now, a lot of people are considering doing their own taxes this year. However, this can be a very bad idea. While personal taxes are often pretty simple, business taxes are not. With the constant change in business tax rules, it is difficult to stay updated when it is not your industry. It is also easy to miss things when you have been looking at the same documents for a year. Hiring a professional for your small business’s taxes will be well worth the extra cash.

9. IRS.gov

The IRS website has a lot of useful information for business owners and small business owners concerning their taxes. In fact, there is an entire section of their site dedicated to it. The small business and self-employed section of their site has links to several informative pages full of tax information that concerns you. Go to http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/index.html to see for yourself.

10. Stay Legal

As much as taxpayers are warned to keep their taxes 100% legal, there are still thousands of deductions and credits taken out every year by people who do not deserve them. Sometimes these unearned deductions are accidental, and often they are the result of and unethical tax preparer. Watch for warning signs of a tax preparation specialist who uses “black hat” tricks to get you a better return. Remember, any tax preparer that guarantees you a return without looking at your case first is one to be avoided at all costs.

Posted by: Roni Deutch Staff | January 28, 2009

New Business Tips Video

Last week, our WatchMeFranchise.com hostess Amanda Scarr recorded a new business tips video with advice on how to interview potential employees. It can be a nerve-wrecking task for any new business owner, but with proper preparation and research you will find that conducting an interview isn’t really as scary of a task as it seems. Check out the video below, and be sure to check back next month for our next business tips video!


Posted by: Roni Deutch Staff | January 21, 2009

8 Tips to Make your 1st Year as a Business Owner More Profitable

The first year of running a small business is usually the most difficult. Luckily, there are online resources where you can see what mistakes others have made in their first year, and what you can do to improve yours. To help you pave a successful path for your business, we have put together the following tips help to make your first year in business more profitable.

1. Budget Everything

When it comes to starting a business, nothing goes faster than money. Before you even begin to purchase anything, you will need to sit down and make a budget plan for the entire year. This may seem like a lot, but you may be surprised by how many expenses come with starting your own business. If it gets to be too much, you can always get help from a bookkeeper.

2. Stay on your Taxes

Taxes are confusing for everyone. Unfortunately, they are even more confusing when you are filing for your business. It is easy to get misled or confused about business tax filing. To be safe, hire a tax professional right away and get their advice on the best way for you to keep up on your taxes for business. You also want to make sure to keep all of your receipts organized to save time when you estimate your quarterly payments.

3. Find your Market

Even if it takes trial and error, do everything you can to find and penetrate your core market. You will not always find it right away, and you may lose some money on the path. However, in the long run, knowing your target customer is a key to success.

4. Have a Plan

In addition to having a full budget written out, it is also helpful to have plans and goals for the year written out as well. It can be as informal as a list of goals on the back of a napkin. Alternatively, you could put together a vision board with specific goals. Either way, having a set of goals, and a plan to achieve them, is a great foundation for a new business.

5. Promote the Pros

Depending on how fast business grows, you may need to hire full time employees soon after opening. When you do begin hiring employees, keep an eye on which ones are your superstars. These will be the individuals you want to grow with your company, and should be compensated over time with promotions and pats on the back.

6. Dealing with Problem Clients

New business owners are often faced with the dilemma of the “problem client”. For a new business owner, it is neither smart nor easy to turn away money. However, if you have a client that is constantly low-balling you and calling your for unneeded assistance, you may have to reconsider. The best rule of thumb for unruly clients is to keep them until they are keeping you from other work that you could be profiting from.

7. Stress Management

One thing is for sure, running a business is very stressful. Make sure you have time set aside every week to relax and try not to think about things at the office. Dealing with stress well is a key factor to succeeding, and will make your business run much more smoothly.

8. Track Advertising

Keeping good track of your advertising is a must during your first year in business, and every year for that matter. If you are taking advantage of online marketing, be sure to see which ads are generating leads and why. The same goes for other ads, except it will be more difficult to track. Try tracking ads by asking clients where and how they heard of your services, and writing down every response.

Posted by: Roni Deutch Staff | December 29, 2008

One Month Till Tax Season

In our newest video, WatchMeFranchise.com hostess Amanda Scarr once again interviewed Scott Juceam, a local Roni Deutch Tax Center® franchisee. In this video, Amanda asks Scott about the preparations he is making in the final month before Tax Season 2009!

Posted by: Roni Deutch Staff | December 29, 2008

10 Tips for a Stellar Small Business Grand Opening

Getting interested customers and clients to your new business may seem like a big task, but with the right opening week, it could be much easier than you think. Unfortunately, most new business owners are usually so stressed with getting their stores ready that they forget to plan for the proper opening. So to help the dozens of new Roni Deutch Tax Center® franchisees who are opening their doors in the next few weeks we have put together the following list of tips to help make your grand opening a stellar one!

1. Advertise

In the weeks before your grand opening, get your name out there as much as possible. Check out local newspapers, and websites like CraigsList to advertise the details of your grand opening.

2. Budget it

It can often be a good idea to put together a special budget just for your grand opening. After all, this is more than just a store opening—it has huge marketing potential as well. Make sure to include the costs of prizes, extra staff, food, and any other non-regular expense. As long as you keep yourself in check, your grand opening will be well worth its cost.

3. Extend your Hours

Open your store a couple hours early and stay open later to allow for more people to see what you have to offer. Boasting extended hours on your grand opening ads will help get more interested patrons in your door and observing your services.

4. Prizes

Nothing says come to our grand opening like free stuff! Having a contest, raffle, or door prize system set up is a great way to attract customers to your celebration. It is also a good idea to use prizes that involve your product or services, like coupons for discounted tax preparation services!

5. Sell with a Sale

Offer special sales, coupons or promotions during the first day or few days you are open. You can send out e-mails or newsletters with printable coupons, or simply have them available in the store. You should also go out of your way to be extra helpful and friendly with each client you meet so that they tell all their friends!

6. Staff Up

Because you are not sure how many people will be stopping by on your opening day, it might be a good idea to have all your staff working or available to come in. This extra help will help make the whole day run more smoothly and easily.

7. Know your Neighbors

Visit other businesses close to your store and present them with coupons and flyers for your opening. It is a great way to meet your neighbors and you could even offer to cross promote your stores with coupons or advertisements.

8. Provide a Service

Another great way to attract business is by including a charitable cause in your grand opening. You could offer to donate a certain amount of proceeds from your opening week to the community or setup a bin to accept canned food donations.

9. Invite Local Entertainment

If you are looking to save on costs, you could even invite a local high school band, Girl Scout troop, church choir, etc., to provide entertainment. This can be a get way to support your community, and will also provide entertainment to your customers.

10. Stay Informed

Whatever you end up doing for your grand opening, make sure that both you and your staff are highly trained on your products or services. People do not want to walk into a new business and speak to an uninformed person. It can even be a good idea to start training as early as a month before your opening, depending on your business, to assure they are properly trained ahead of time.

Posted by: Roni Deutch Staff | December 17, 2008

8 Tips to Keep your Business Thriving in a Recession

No small business owner wants to turn on the news and hear the word “recession”. However, even in times like these, there are still ways that you can succeed in your industry. Take the time to read our tips to keep your business thriving in a recession, then go try a few out for yourself!

1. Extra TLC to Existing Clients

Now is not the time to panic and fall behind in customer satisfaction. Be sure to keep close contact with all of your clients—and give some extra attention to your biggest ones. It is important to show your clients that you will still be valuable to them, since cutting costs is on everyone’s minds these days.

2. Cut Costs

Take the time to review your budget and see if there is any excessive spending going on. Are there any adjustments you can make to lower costs? If you use any suppliers, contact them to inquire about lower prices, or if you receive any services from other businesses you can contact them to see about lowering costs. This sort of thing is expected in a recession, so do not be afraid to cut costs any way you can.

3. Study Marketing

Take a look at your current marketing structure and see if there are any improvements to be made. If your answer was a quick “no,” then you are probably wrong, as there are always ways to make improvements in your marketing. Marketing campaigns can get quite expensive, and in times of a slow economy you want to make sure all of your marketing dollars are being spent properly.

4. Clean Up

Now is a great time to take care of any clutter in your business—both financial and physical. Organize your documents, take care of any delayed filings, and clean up the office. You may even find some old leads you forgot about that you could try to contact. Once this is done, it will be easier for you to step back and use some perspective to get a better idea of where you are and where you’re going.

5. Use the Internet

The Internet is a tool, and quite a powerful one. During a recession, it can be an even better resource because there are plenty of marketing opportunities online that are free. If you are not as computer savvy as some or simply don’t have the time, you could consider hiring an Internet marketing company to help.

6. Venture with Friends

Try contacting other businesses that have clients similar to yours and see if they might like to trade client recommendations. This is legal, ethical, and free, making it one of the best and easiest ways to promote your business.

7. Watch Payments

Pay particular attention to credit transactions and checks in times like these. We would all like to trust all of our clients to make payments on time, but the fact is they may not even know how low their own bank account balances are. To avoid losing money and time, be sure to keep good track of your clients and your cash to avoid the entire scenario.

8. Promote Your Best Areas

Do not even bother marketing or promoting your lowest selling area more than necessary. During a recession, vigorously promote your best-selling and most rewarding services. Then, once you have a client signed up, you can offer any extra services that you have if they’re interested.

Posted by: Roni Deutch Staff | December 16, 2008

Holiday Season Marketing With Scott

Check out the newest WatchMeFranchise video below, with Amanda talking to Scott about special marketing methods for the holiday season. Be sure to check back next week for another video with Scott discussing his preparations for the upcoming tax season.

Posted by: Roni Deutch Staff | December 3, 2008

9 Hot Franchise Trends in 2009

Investing in a franchise is a huge decision for a new entrepreneur, and it is not something that should entered into lightly. Each year there are new trends that emerge in the franchise industry, but although these trendy businesses can deliver large profits, it is still important to pick a franchise business that you believe in. No matter how popular the latest trend is, if you heart is not being it then you will struggle to be successful.

To help the readers of our blog who are contemplating what type of franchised business to open, Watch Me Franchise has compiled the following list of franchise trends that are expected to be “hot” in 2009.

1. Woman-Focused Franchises

Franchises that focus on women and are run by women have grown a lot in popularity over the last year and are expended to continue to do so in 2009. These businesses can include anything from women’s health centers to women-targeted clothing stores.

2. Fun Food

Crazy food franchises have grown a lot trendier over the past year as well. By offering something different then the normal fast food like menu, these businesses can reach out to crowds that are tired of unhealthy, processed foods. Additionally, by letting consumers create their dishes, such as yogurt shops that let you create your own custom dessert, they can connect with customers of a more creative level.

3. Green Business

It is no surprise that green-thinking businesses made our list. Nowadays any business can be labeled “green” just by stating their cups are made of recycled materials or their food is organic. However, it is more than trendy, as green businesses often build very loyal customer bases that do not mind paying a “green” surcharge.

4. Pets

People have always loved their pets, but in recent years doting on your dog or cats has become increasing popular. Stores that offer accessories, clothes, food, and toys for pets have seen a decent increase in business over the last year, and that increase is expected to skyrocket in 2009.

5. Pampering Services

With the stress of the economy and long days at work, people are looking for the occasional release. Massage services, and fair-priced day spas are making a comeback and incorporating other trends along the way. Spas with natural or organic services attract business because wellness then natural way is so popular.

6. For the Kids

Businesses catering to the higher education of children are also expected to boom in 2009. Part of this is due to the second coming of the baby boom, but also because of the general falling faith in America’s education system. Tutoring services as well as after-school programs are both expected to be trendy franchises in 2009.

7. Business Help

As if it was not hard enough to start a new business, the current problems are making it even more difficult for new entrepreneurs. Businesses that offer a helping hand to these new business owners for a fee are doing pleasantly well. Whether it is helping with design and advertising, managing finances, or Internet marketing, these business concepts do well because they are helping other small business owners.

8. Home Improvement

Since the real estate market is expected to continue its decline into 2009, home improvement businesses have proved to be a fair alternative. Many homeowners are opting to remodel their homes instead of seeing for a loss, or foreclosing on their loan to buy a new house. Additionally, families that do move into foreclosed houses often need help making improvements to the property before they move in.

9. Year-Round Opportunities

Some franchises thrive off of seasonal business, but as the economy gets worse some of these franchise owners are seeking to keep their store open year round for additional business opportunities. Calendar franchises are offering stationary and supplies, Halloween stores are selling costumes and party supplies throughout the year, and tax preparation franchises, like the Roni Deutch Tax Center, are offering additional business services, to generate new customers throughout the year.

Posted by: Roni Deutch Staff | November 19, 2008

Scott on Expanding his Staff

After shooting our first video with Scott Juceam a few weeks ago, we were also able to talk to him about expanding his staff. To prepare for the upcoming tax season, Scott has already hired a store manager and tax preparer. In this new video, he gives advice on both how to find potential employees and how to encourage good teamwork among employees.

Posted by: Roni Deutch Staff | November 13, 2008

8 Tips for Writing a Help Wanted Ad

Service-related businesses thrive on hiring the right employees, and having a great team can make the difference between a successful and unsuccessful business. As you will see in next week’s video, Scott has already begun his search for employees for the upcoming tax season. However, people often forget that one of the most important parts of finding a good employee is the help wanted ad that you post. This ad is the first interaction potential employees have with your business, so you want to make sure to take careful time preparing the ad.

1. Title with Care

The title of your ad is what grabs the attention of potential employees. You should make it both interesting and informative. Readers should be able to read it and understand the position fully (if they are qualified), as well as want to apply. A title that is unique and specific will attract unique and specific applicants.

2. Give History

Begin your ad with a little bit about your company or business. For example, you might include an explanation of how the business started, where it is now, and/or where it is going. This will also give your applicants a window to provide their own goals and understand their potential for a future with your business.

3. Application Process

Make sure to add clear instructions on how you would like applicants to apply. If you are nervous on the telephone or do not want to receive too many extra calls, specify to apply by e-mail only and provide the proper one for them to use.

4. List Qualifications

When listing job qualifications, list only the essential qualifications a candidate must have. Make sure to say they are required, and to give ample details about them. The more specific you are, the more qualified and specific the applicants will be.

5. Provide Hours

List in your ad what sorts of hours are available, or at least whether the position is full or part time. This way you will not have to sort through applicants that may not even be able to meet your time quota. Also, be sure to honor the hours you set: this is respectful to future employees.

6. Benefits

To attract applicants and encourage interest, be sure to list any benefits the position holds. This could range anywhere from “we’ll work around your school schedule,” to health care benefits or vacation time.

7. Get a Résumé

Make sure that your ad specifically asks candidates to send a résumé and cover letter. An ideal applicant will attach a résumé regardless, but an applicant who does not even attach one when asked can be skipped over entirely.

8. Be Personable

As important as it is to get your point across, it is also vital to be friendly and personable. You want to make sure that your ad attracts applicants who will make for valuable team members, and they might be turned off by an ad that is too stiff and un-personable.

Posted by: Roni Deutch Staff | November 4, 2008

Meeting Scott Juceam

In our newest video, the Watch Me Franchise team headed to the store of the newest Roni Deutch Tax Center franchisee Scott Juceam. Scott and his wife decided to invest into this franchise system because Scott witnessed firsthand the building of the brand as a long time employee of Ms. Deutch. In this new video you can hear Scott explain why he decided to open a Roni Deutch Tax Center, as opposed to another tax franchise or even opening his own small business.

Posted by: Roni Deutch Staff | October 14, 2008

New Business Tips Video – Common Franchise Myths Debunked

In the newest business tips video, embedded below, hostess Amanda Scarr takes a look at a few myths that anyone thinking of investing in a franchise has probably heard dozens of times. These myths may be common, but that does not necessarily mean that they are true! Check out the new video to see ones made out list, and be sure to check back next month for the next episode in our business tips video series.

Posted by: Roni Deutch Staff | October 7, 2008

7 Ways to Financing a Franchise Business

After you have found the franchise business of your dreams, the next step financing it. Although some people are fortunate to have massive savings built up, the average person will need to finance their investment. It is never easy coming up with large sums of money all on your own, but we have taken the time to list the best and simplest ways to find funds to finance your dream business!

1. Investors

Inviting investors to invest in your business is something you will want to prepare for in advance. Have a proposal ready with your business plans, goals, financial needs, and record of your achievements and past business ventures. If your franchise has a well-known brand, then make sure to note that the business is likely to succeed. Finding investors will not seem easy at first, but the more you get into it the more confident you will be and more likely to find interested patrons.

2. Retirement Money

A lot of new business owners run the risk of taking money from their 401k or other retirement funds to finance their business. While this is a risky step for a new entrepreneur, it is much less risky when you are opening a franchise, as the success rates are significantly higher. As long as you keep a tight budget, and remember to put money back into your retirement, it can be a very smart and fairly simple way to finance a franchise.

3. Borrowing from Friends & Family

If you have friends or family who have money and a good sense of their finances then you might want to consider giving them a call. If you do not know one person who could loan you the full amount then consider borrowing smaller amounts from a handful of people.

4. Bank Loan

Getting a loan from a bank can be more difficult, especially in our current economy, but it does come with benefits. However, bank lenders will want a lot of information, financial history, and collateral to convince them to lend to you. Be prepared with a full business plan, including past business ventures and all new information on your current project.

5. Loans from SBA

The Small Business Association (SBA) is dedicated to helping people who want to start a new business. Many new franchisees look to the SBA, and find their process fairly simple and painless compared to other options. Take a look at their site or just give them a call to find out what you will need to qualify for a loan. Remember, it does not cost anything to ask a question.

6. Franchisor

Your franchisor may have a franchisee money-lending program to help them help you. It is in your franchisors best interest that you do well, and if they are confident in their own franchise plan, then the may be willing to help you seek out financing. Additionally, your franchisor might have alliances with banks that could help you get approved for a loan.

7. Leasing Equipment

Although not a direct financing method, by leasing equipment for your business instead of buying it you can greatly reduce the amount of money you will need to open your front doors. Remember, any finance help is good, and equipment for your store is likely to be rather expensive.

Posted by: Roni Deutch Staff | September 24, 2008

Top 20 Questions to Ask a Commercial Real Estate Agent

Buying or leasing commercial real estate can be a long and stressful process, but also very rewarding in the end. To make your search that much easier, a quality real estate agent will make all the difference. Read the following 25 Questions to Ask a Commercial Real Estate Agent, to help you find the perfect agent for your needs.

1. Do you specialize in a certain area of commercial real estate, and if so what area?

2. Have you ever worked with someone opening a franchised business?

3. Are you a realtor (member of the National Association of Realtors)?

4. How long have you been working in commercial real estate?

5. How much of the work you are doing for me will be handled by you personally?

6. Do you have a staff or team helping you carry out daily tasks and answering phones when you’re not in the office?

7. Do have references for other clients you have done commercial real estate services for?

8. Have you dealt with a customer before who was looking for the same type of site I am?

9. Are you most experienced in the leasing of office, industrial, or retail spaces?

10. Will you be able to work with builders to create provisions in case I would like to change my site?

11. How long have you been doing business in the community?

12. Have you received any awards or professional real estate designations?

13. What type of fee structure do you have?

14. Is there a limit to how many sites I’ll be able to look at?

15. What is your preferred means of communication? Phone, e-mail, or fax?

16. Will we need to sign an agreement? If so what will the duration of that agreement be?

17. If I see a site I like on my own, can I contact you and have you take a look at it for me?

18. If I am unhappy with your services, what happens next?

19. Will you personally show me all the properties you find for me, or will a member of your staff be doing so?

20. What sets you apart from other agents?

Posted by: Roni Deutch Staff | September 17, 2008

Corporate Marketing Support

After asking Jodi about preparing for next tax season, the Watch Me Franchise team was able to speak with Larry, the new Vice President of Marketing for RDTC Inc. In this new video Amanda and Larry discussed some of the new marketing programs corporate is working on to help all the Roni Deutch Tax Center® franchisees this tax season.

Posted by: Roni Deutch Staff | September 9, 2008

Jodie Prepares for Tax Season

Although tax season is still almost four months away, it is never too early to begin preparing for it. The three and a half months between January 1st and April 15th are always busy for people working in the tax industry. As Jodie states in the video embedded below, by marketing her store now, she will have less to do during tax season. That way she can focus on dealing with all of the customers looking for tax related services.

Posted by: Roni Deutch Staff | September 2, 2008

8 Tips for Finding the Perfect Location for Your Franchise Business

Once you have made the momentous decision to invest in a franchise business, it is time to make the next big decision – where to locate your franchise store. Finding the perfect location has many factors and may be more difficult than you would imagine. Nevertheless, by being prepared for the search, the whole process will seem faster and easier. To help our readers, we have compiled the following list of important tips to consider when choosing a location for your franchise business.

1. Have a Plan

Before beginning your search for the perfect location, make a list of what you do and do not want. Make sure to take into account not only what you want personally, but any requirements the franchisor may have. It is also a good idea to make a budget plan early so you know exactly how much you can afford to pay in rent.

2. Visibility

One of the most important location factors for a franchise is visibility. Even if you choose a great building on a popular street, if your sign is too small or your business is hidden then you may lose potential customers. Make sure your location is either highly visible from a main street, or provides the option for you to have a large, prominent sign for your store.

3. Target Market

Having your target consumers nearby will always be helpful to your business. For example, if your franchise sells school supplies, being near a school or popular residential area will be very beneficial. Try to determine your target market in advance by researching what who typical are, and be sure to find out what information your franchisor can provide.

4. Drive by Traffic

Obviously having your store on a well-traveled street will help your business. Make sure to ask your potential landlord for data on the amount of drive by and foot traffic. Also take notice of how fast the traffic is actually moving. If the speed limit is high and there are no traffic lights very close, your potential customers may drive right by your store.

5. Employees

While looking at locations always ask yourself, “can employees access the location easily?” If candidates will have to make a large commute to work then you may miss out on highly qualified employees. Another important factor to consider is whether or not there is a large and dependable employee market nearby.

6. Franchisor Requirements

Do not forget to look at your franchisor’s requirements, restrictions, and recommendations before going to look at potential locations for your store. Franchisors want you to succeed and will usually offer you quality advice on what sort of location works well for your business. They may also have certain size requirements or legal restrictions that you have to follow.

7. Competition Range

Competition in a sensitive economy is a very important factor. If you are very confident in your franchise brand and business plan, you may want to risk being near a little competition. On the other hand, you may want to be in an area that has no other businesses offering similar services.
8. Get Help

When you go out looking for a potential site location, make sure to have a commercial real estate agent come with you. They will be able to help you identify prime locations, and will even help with lease negotiations. It might also be a good idea to have a family member or close friend come with you for personal support.

Posted by: Roni Deutch Staff | August 27, 2008

Local Internet Advertising

In our newest video Amanda Scarr interviewed Mathew Guiver, of Guiver Consulting, on the benefits of Internet marketing for Roni Deutch Tax Center franchisees. As Mathew explains in the video, pay per click campaigns are perfect for small business owners because you can target only Internet users in you local community. For more information on the services provided by Guiver Consulting check out their website by clicking here.

Posted by: Roni Deutch Staff | August 18, 2008

8 Advantages of Investing in a Franchised Business

Opening your own business can seem scary and even undoable when you are first starting out. But it does not have to be. By investing in a franchise business you can rest assured that you are opening a business with a history of success, while still rewarding you with the pride of financial independence.

1. Tried and True
When you invest in an already created business model, you can have confidence the business will be successful if you work hard and follow the franchisor’s instructions. Franchised businesses typically have a proven track record of success and can support nationwide expansion.

2. Trusted Brand
Another big advantage of owning your own franchise business is that you are investing in an already recognizable brand. Unlike other small business owners who have to build recognition and a reputation, your business is likely to already be nationally known and recognized.

3. Higher Success Rate
Less than 5% of franchised businesses fail every year in the U.S. This is drastically lower than the percent of regular small business ventures that fail. For this reason alone, purchasing a franchised business is one of the most secure investments you can make.

4. Quick Cash
Getting financed for a franchise business loan is drastically easier than it would be if you were starting an independent business. Banks know the lower risk involved in a franchise investment and love to be involved with secure and profitable ventures.

5. Savings
Through your general franchise, you should be able to save on supplies and equipment needed to get your business started. Franchisors like to have their stores as close to the franchise guidelines as possible, and work with vendors to provide discounted products and services to their franchisees.

6. Independence
When you open a franchise business you will have independence, but you will not be alone. Although the franchisors have rules and guidelines, they are designed to help you achieve success. You will still have the independence of owning your own business.

7. Store Layout Help
Most franchises are business with in-store customers and clients, and require a friendly and efficient layout. Fortunately, most franchises have pre-determined store layouts available. Some will even work with you to maximize the potential of your location.

8. Full Support
With most new independent businesses, trial and error is the only way to learn what your business needs to grow. With a franchise, you will not only receive thorough training, but you will also have ongoing support from corporate and other franchisees.

Posted by: Roni Deutch Staff | August 7, 2008

7 Tips on Interviewing Potential Employees

Interviewing a potential employee can be just as nerve wrecking on the interviewer as it is on the interviewee. To avoid sweaty palms, it is a good idea to prepare yourself with organized questions and a well thought-out game plan. To help all of our WatchMeFranchise reads who are going to begin staffing their store, please consider these 7 simple tips on interviewing potential employees.

1. Prepare

Schedule the interview for at least a couple days after you have decided to review the applicant. Take the time to prepare the questions you want to ask, and make sure you ask questions related to the specific position you are hiring for.

2. Phone Interview

If you are hiring for a specific position then you may want to have a phone interview before an in-person interview. This will help you make sure the applicants are qualified, and get a good sense of their personality. If you decide during the phone call you that like the applicant much, then do not hesitate to setup a time for them to come to your office.

3. Stick to the Rules

Before holding any interviews, make sure that you reviewed all of your state laws on what questions you are not allowed to ask during an interview. Different states have different restrictions in addition to federally protected rights that you may not know about.

4. Standardize Questions

Have a standard list of questions you intend to ask all applicants applying a position in your company. Then you can add a few additional questions concerning specific positions easily when you need to prepare for an interview.

5. Keep it Light

When you interview a potential employee, make sure not to come off as too stiff or un-personable. It is a good idea to add a few light questions to keep the conversation fun. Not only will this make the applicant feel a little more comfortable, but will also give you a look into their personality and how quick they are on their feet.

6. Give a Tour

When you have an applicant in your office for an interview, feel free to give them a tour and introduce them to other employees. It will give the interviewee a good idea of what it will be like to work at your business. If an applicant decides the position or work environment is not right for them, it is best if they discover it now. You do not want to hire a new person and invest a week into their training before they find another job and quit.

7. Follow Up

Try to make your decision on which applicant to hire as soon as possible. Do this by scheduling interviews close together and taking good notes. If you find an applicant you think is perfect for the job, you will want to let them know as soon as possible as you never know if they are looking for employment elsewhere.

Posted by: Roni Deutch Staff | August 2, 2008

New Business Tips Video

The video embedded below is the latest episode in our Business Tips Video Series. It features hostess Amanda Scarr discussing 10 common mistakes that new business owners make. We hope you enjoy these advice videos we publish, and if you are a fellow blogger then feel free to embed the video on your own blog as well!


Posted by: Roni Deutch Staff | July 30, 2008

10 Common Mistakes Prospective Franchisees Make

Opening up a franchised business is an exciting and momentous time for a new business owner. But with all the excitement, prospective franchisees may overlook some possible obstacles and face them unprepared. To help prepare our readers who are thinking about opening a franchise, please enjoy this list of 10 common mistakes prospective franchisees make.

1. Over Investment
Over investing can destroy a project or business completely. Before investing any time or money into your franchise, create a basic budget plan to keep yourself on track. If you do not want to purchase software, there are plenty of websites, like Mint.com, that offer free budgeting tools.

2. Not Having a Business Plan
You never really know what is around the corner when you are starting your own business. Even so, having a basic business plan can help you a lot in the end. Where are you hoping to open your store? How many employees are you planning to hire? How much time, money, and patience are you willing to sacrifice? These are all questions you should be asking yourself when you develop your business plan.

3. Not Understanding the Franchise Agreement
The agreement you sign with a franchisor – the Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) – contains massive amounts of information, but as a franchisee, you must understand everything it contains. When you sign the document you are making a legal agreement with the franchisor, so do not be afraid to seek out help from a legal expert.

4. Not Contacting Other Franchisees
When you are researching a potential franchise to invest in, you should always contact at least a few different franchisees. They can serve as good resources as they will likely give you blunt and honest answers.

5. Picking a Location far from Home
Although it may seem like a small sacrifice at first, having a long commute to the location of your store can wear you thin after awhile. There may be times when you get home only to have to turn around and go back to the office. Remember that you have to consider your own time – not to mention high gas prices.

6. Fearing Change
If you are afraid of changes or too scared to make big decisions, then get your emotions in check before you go into this endeavor. It is important to remember that you need to take risks to be a successful business owner. Owning a franchise is no different.

7. Not Taking Training Seriously
When you attend training, you will want to make sure that you are well prepared and pay plenty of attention. In the training classes, the franchisor will explain how to be successful at owning your franchise. If you are too tired or miss a day then it can hurt your chances of being successful.

8. There is no “I” in “Team”

Often new franchisees will take on too much by themselves and forget to rely on those around them. If you want to avoid burn out, then you will need to have a team of employees to support you. Try to just manage one task at a time and divide others between yourself and your employees.

9. Forgetting to Balance Time
Committing yourself to starting your own franchised business usually means new opportunities, exciting change, and long hours. If you have family or friends that you are used to seeing often, know that time with them will be cut shorter when you are just getting business started. Try planning to meet with your loved ones at scheduled times so that you can see them on a regular basis.

10. Expecting Everything to be Easy
With all the talk of a looming economic recession, you need to realize that getting your business up and running will be a struggle. Prepare for tough times financially and emotionally. Remember that opening any business requires a lot of hard work, but the benefits of being your own boss can definitely make up for it.

Posted by: Roni Deutch Staff | July 17, 2008

Amanda and Rich on Additional Business Services

After filming a video with local franchisee Jodie Bohrer, the WatchMeFranchise team was also able to speak with her husband Rich on additional business services. As you can see in the video, the Bohrers are offering bookkeeping, prepaid legal, and debt settlement services. They found these additional services provide great opportunities for establishing relationships with clients that will likely lead to tax return preparations next tax season.


Posted by: Roni Deutch Staff | July 8, 2008

10 Small Businesses that are Excelling in Today’s Economy

1. Tax Preparation

As we all know, the only things certain in life are death and taxes. As the United States population continues to grow, and the tax code gets more and more complicated, there are always going to be people who need their tax returns prepared.

2. Discount Stores

Today almost everyone is looking for a way to pinch a penny, and by opening a discount store you can cater to these potential customers. Any type of store that can offer a service or product at a significant discount is likely to attract these frugal customers and succeed in today’s economy.

3. Check Cashing

It is getting harder and harder for anyone living paycheck to paycheck, and some times everyone could use a little extra help between pay days. Check cashing, or payroll advance stores can help these customers while also providing a handful of other useful financial services.

4. Computer Repair

Nowadays almost everyone has a computer in his or her home, but most have no idea what to do when a problem arises. If you are the person who friends always come to for computer help, then this type of store could be perfect for you! And with rising gas prices, you might also want to consider a mobile service for people who do not want to drive to your store.

5. Debt Relief

When the economy gets worse, more and more people find themselves in debt with no possible way to get out. By opening a debt relief consulting business you can work to negotiate with creditors to lower your clients total debt. Not only will you be helping people who are struggling with their finances, but you can also get a hefty commission for those you assist.

6. Job Placement Agency

As unemployment rates continue to rise, people are frequently turning to job placement agencies to help find employment. If you are a people person, with a knack for helping friends find jobs then this could be a business you could excel in.

7. Home Repair

Everyone knows that record foreclosures are driving the economy down, but this does present a unique business idea for anyone that is handy around the house. Frequently when a homeowner forecloses on a home they will take anything of value and leave the property in very poor condition. By opening a home repair business that focuses on foreclosure restoration you could market to both banks and people interested in purchasing foreclosed homes.

8. Mediator

In an effort to save money any way possible, more and more people are turning to mediators to settle their disputes instead of attorneys. This type of business may be difficult to start and market, but once you establish yourself, there will likely be many customer opportunities.

9. Video Game Store

In spite of declining CD and DVD sales, the video game continues to exceed industry expectations. There are plenty of video game related franchises you could pick from, or you could even setup your own business plan based around video game sales and/or rentals.

10. Pawn Shop

Although this type of business might not be for everyone, there is a growing need in this country for honest pawnshops. In addition, by setting yourself apart from the traditional pawnshop reputation, you can gain trust from customers who will likely provide plenty of referrals.

Posted by: Roni Deutch Staff | July 8, 2008

Amanda and Jodi Talk about Marketing

Last week the WatchMeFranchise team stopped by another Roni Deutch Tax Center® owned by local franchisees Jodi and Rich Bohrer. In this video hostess Amanda Scarr interviewed Jodi on marketing and how to attract new customers while also staying in touch with current contacts. Be sure to check out Jodie’s advice for both new and existing franchisees at the end of the video.

While at their store, we also filmed another video with Jodi’s husband Rich. Be sure to check back soon for the next new video.

Posted by: Roni Deutch Staff | July 3, 2008

Top 10 Franchising Myths Debunked

If you are thinking about investing in a franchise business, then it is important to do ample research before reaching out to one of the franchise’s sales representatives. To help with your research, we gathered the top 10 myths about franchising and debunked them for our readers.

Myth 1: All Chain Restaurants are Franchises
Whenever people see a chain restaurant, from Outback® to Olive Garden®, they always assume it is a franchised unit. However, there are two business models that these chains commonly use. The first involves selling franchises, and the other involves hiring individual store managers to run corporate owned locations. You might be surprised to learn that the following chains do not franchise: Cheesecake Factory®, Lone Star Steakhouse®, O Charleys®, and Bob Evans®.

Myth 2: Buying a Franchise Means Guaranteed Success
Although your odds of success are statistically higher with a franchised business, there are no guarantees. Even with a proven business concept, no business venture is without risks. Hundreds of franchised businesses close every month. However, studies show that the most common reason a franchise fails is because they do not follow the system.

Myth 3: It’s Wasteful to Invest in a Franchise, Just Open your own Business
All franchises have an initial fee that must be paid to open a location. Some people view this as a waste of money. However, studies show that nearly 95% of franchised businesses remain open for at least 5 years, and 94% of franchise business owners consider themselves successful. The money you give the franchisor lets you in on a proven business model that will make your business much more likely to succeed.

Myth 4: Starbucks is the Worlds Largest Coffee Franchise
As we mentioned in myth #1, there are two business models used by large chains, and although many people assume Starbucks® franchises their stores, they actually do not. The only Starbucks® locations that are not corporate owned are those inside hotels and grocery stores. There are numerous coffee shops that do franchise, but none of them is as massive or well branded as Starbucks.

Myth 5: All Franchise Business Models are Tested & Proven Successful
Unfortunately, there are no laws or requirements that say franchises must be tested or meet any success standards. There are very specific laws pertaining to the information given to prospective buyers in the Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD), but none for gauging the success of the business structure.

Myth 6: You need to be Wealthy Already to Invest in a Franchise
Although it can cost tens of thousands of dollars – or even hundreds of thousands – you do not necessarily need to have that much in your bank account. There are multiple different ways you can finance a franchise. Examples include personal loans, self-directed investments, small business administration loans, and home equity loans.

Myth 7: Running a Franchise Business is Easy
Although a franchisor will provide the franchisee with training and direction, the day-to-day operation of the store is your responsibility as the owner. There is no such thing as an easy business opportunity. Even with a proven business plan, to be successful you are still going to have trials along the way.

Myth 8: Bigger is Always Better
When it comes to selecting a franchise to invest in, a recognizable brand can generate almost instant customers. However, these established franchises often have much higher fees and can be difficult to work with. Some actually prefer smaller franchises as they are easier to work with and have a more personal touch.

Myth 9: Opening a Franchise Business is Cheaper
Some people assume that opening a franchised business will be cheaper then opening up a traditional business since they will save on marketing costs. Unfortunately, even with a very well known franchise, you will still need to allocate funds for marketing. Additionally, royalties and fees can frequently offset these savings.

Myth: Higher Initial Fees Means Better odds of Success
The old saying, “the more money you invest, the more money you make,” is definitely not true when it comes to franchises. Just because the initial fee is sky-high does not mean that you will have better odds of success. As we mentioned before, all business ventures include risk, and there is never a guarantee that you will be successful, no matter what franchise fee you pay or what the franchisor tells you.

Posted by: Roni Deutch Staff | June 20, 2008

8 Reasons to Throw a Summer Office Party

Now that summer is here, it is a great time to throw a theme party for your staff, and their friends and family. Throwing these types of parties can provide tons of benefits, most of which are outlined below. However, it is essential that the party still maintain a professional atmosphere. Remember that this is still a work function, and business codes of etiquette will still apply.

1. Happy employees
Throwing a party for your employees is a great way to say “thank you for all your hard work.” Providing alternative benefits, such as throwing parties, is a great way to keep your employees happy and feeling like a part of a family. It is also a great way to break up the day-to-day business interactions that you usually have with them.

2. Improved productivity
By rewarding employees with parties, and other fun events, it will help improve their overall productivity by making them feel invested in the company. And when employees feel this type of investment they usually want to see the business succeed and will spend less time slacking off when they are in the office.

3. Team bonding
Work parties, especially summer parties, present great opportunities for team bonding. While you are planning out a party, make sure that you include team building activities, such games or athletic challenges.

4. Opportunity to meet family
If you open up a work party to people besides just employees, then it can allow you to not only meet, but get to know your employees friends or family. And by getting to know the people close to your employees it can help you get to know them on a more personal level as well.

5. Tax breaks
Do not forget that you can write off half of all the expenses related to throwing an employee party. So feel free to go all out and throw the best summer party your employees have ever been to!

6. Connect with employees
By throwing a summer party, and more importantly by actively participating in the party’s events and socializing with your staff, you can connect with your employees on a more personal level. This will not only help them feel invested, but it can also give you an opportunity to get a feel for how they function in a non-office setting.

7. Stay outside the box
In today’s competitive business environment it is a good idea to have your business stand out from the crowd by offering modern benefits like parties or other team bonding events.

8. Why not?
With perfect summer weather, team bonding, and tax benefits, why not throw a party for your employees? The benefits are huge and with the right planning you can easily keep the cost relatively low. Plus, who doesn’t enjoy a good summer party?

Posted by: Roni Deutch Staff | June 16, 2008

Business Tips Video Series: 10 Common Mistakes

Embedded below is the next episode in the WatchMeFranchise Business Tips Video Series. Our goal with these videos is to provide useful information to business owners in an enjoyable format, and I think that with this new video we accomplish that goal. The topic of the video covers common mistakes that nearly all small business owners make, and how you prepare for them. So sit back, relax, and enjoy as hostess Amanda Scarr discusses the top 10 most common mistakes business owners make.

Posted by: Roni Deutch Staff | June 9, 2008

10 Ways Gas Prices Affect Small Business Owners

According to a DollarDays.com survey, over 85% of small business owners are already beginning to feel the impact of rising fuel costs. As gas prices continue to increase and the economy continues to weaken, small business owners will continue to feel the pain in more ways then one.

1. Direct Cost Increase
Whenever you drive for a business purpose – even to and from work – you are paying more then you did a year ago. This direct price increase may only be slight for wage earning employees, but small business owners typically drive a lot more. Between trips to the local Office Depot, frequent visits to their place of business, trips to the bank, and trips on behalf of customers, that extra $0.50 – $2.00 per gallon can really add up.

2. Increased Shipping Costs
One place the cost of fuel has had a direct impact on is the cost of shipping. This increase is passed-down directly to the consumer. This means that the price of everything is going up (i.e. price of supplies, inventory, merchandise, etc.), and the overall cost of running a small business will continue to reflect this problem.

3. More Reliance on E-mail and Fax
Due to the direct increase in shipping costs, small business owners are increasing their usage of e-mail and fax machines. Paying to ship large documents or contracts just costs too much these days. A lot of businesses are also turning to virtual fax machines that let you scan documents to fax out and receive faxes through one’s e-mail address.

4. Less Employee Candidates

Due to the high cost of commuting, people are beginning to only seek employment near their homes. This can drastically reduce the number of applicants who will apply for a position. It is especially troublesome for restaurant owners or stores that frequently hire teenagers.

5. Higher Wages for Employees
When you do find and hire employees, it is likely that you are going to have to pay them higher wages to compensate for the higher commute expenses. This is especially true for businesses located outside of a dense city and your employees must drive long distances to get to work.

6. Less Face to Face Meetings
Pretty much everyone in the country is looking to reduce his or her gas consumption and save money. This means business owners will need to adapt to more virtual means of communication that avoid the gas of driving to face-to-face meetings. Expect to conduct additional business calls, and even videoconferences. These forms of communication are less personable, thus reducing the chances that you will “win” a contract or a customer based upon your people skills.

7. Higher Prices for Prime Locations
The housing boom a decade away led the path to sprawl, where middle income Americans moved to the suburbs in record numbers. However, with record fuel costs, they are driving less. This means the cost of prime locations is likely to skyrocket. Consumers are no longer willing to drive long distances to get a good deal. In addition, advertising will waste money if your store is a long drive for potential customers.

8. Less Drive by Traffic
As consumers drive less and seek-out alternative modes of transportation, the importance of drive by traffic and advertising is going to be less and less effective. Instead, owners of brick and mortar stores are going to need to adapt to more results-driven forms of advertising.

9. Consumers with Less Disposable Income
Business owners that offer products or services deemed as “luxuries” are going to have trouble as people are beginning to cutout unnecessary expenses. Some business such as elite gyms and pricey coffeehouses are likely to feel this effect more so than fast food restaurants.

10. Less Profit per Sale
Between higher costs of production, clients with less disposable income, increased wages for employees, etc., your bottom line profit per sale is likely to decrease. However, with hard work and a savvy strategy, there are still plenty opportunities for success even in the current unstable economic climate.

Posted by: Roni Deutch Staff | May 29, 2008

Amanda and Heather at the Vendor Expo

While we were at the first annual Roni Deutch Tax Center® franchisee convention the WatchMeFranchise team was able to squeeze in one more video with our spotlight franchisee Heather Spell. In this video, Amanda and Heather just finished browsing the vendor exposition and as you can see, Heather stocked-up on promotional items. Be sure to check back in a few weeks for the next installment in our business tips video series.

Posted by: Roni Deutch Staff | May 23, 2008

Thinking about a Second Store

Last week was the first annual Roni Deutch Tax Center® franchisee convention in Reno Nevada. The WatchMeFranchise team was on hand at the convention and we were able to get a couple of videos with our spotlight franchisee Heather Spell. In the first video below Amanda interviews Heather about her desire to open a second store, and what she has learned from going through the process already. Enjoy the video, and check back next week to see Heather and Amanda getting their fair share free gifts from the Vendor Expo.

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