The Best Franchise Blogs
Out on the web, there's more than enough entertaining and interesting information to make your head spin. While the Internet of a half decade ago was held hostage by professionals and degree-touting experts reporting in the same old monotone voices, passionate topic bloggers soon tore that model apart, and helped open up the medium to anyone with something to say.
That's the good news.
The bad news is that, with so many voices shouting on any given topic, it can be hard to figure out whose content is worth keeping up with, let alone separate the best blogs from the... less best. Here at Franchise Help, we're obviously biased toward our own franchise blog (and if you're reading this, we hope you are, too!), but there's some great franchise info out there worth reading, and little guidance on how to find it, so we thought we'd compile a handy list of what our editors consider the top franchise blogs (and writers) in 2011.
So now, without further ado, we bring to you our inaugural (and wholly unscientific) list of the Best Franchise Blogs, 2011 edition! These are some great resources to stay informed on the latest franchise opportunities, keep abreast of industry trends, and generally procrastinate away when you should be doing your franchise research!
Top 3 Blogs of Former Franchisees These are blogs that are run by a passionate individual or a small group of former franchisees.
The Franchise King Blog Joel Libava founded the Franchise King Blog in 2006 with the goal of sharing his knowledge of -- and expanding his reputation among -- the franchise industry.Once a franchise brokerage franchisee, Libava saw an opportunity in the blogging medium: “No one else was really doing it in the industry at the time, so I jumped in. It’s done wonders, not only for my credibility, but my visibility as well,” he said. The Franchise King blog is very popular and entertaining, given Libava’s self described “brutally honest, mostly non- politically correct” approach. On this blog, both current and prospective franchisees can find good content loaded with tips on how to increase their chances for success. The blog is a bit nontraditional in that post dates and times are not available (or perhaps just not immediately obvious), but given the evergreen nature of the content, that's not too great a distraction. Options for sharing on social networking sites are readily available, so if readers want to be the first to know about The King's newest articles, they can follow him on Twitter.
The Franchise Chatter Blog Ambrosio, the founder of this bold, eye-catching new franchise blog, is a former franchisee (and critic) of The UPS Store. It's this experience as a franchisee that led to the creation of the Franchise Chatter blog. “I know from personal experience how frustrating and time consuming it is to find objective franchise information — on and offline — that goes beyond marketing-speak," Ambrosio explains. "Prior to signing my franchise agreement, reaching out to current franchisees helped me the most in making informed decisions.”In addition to covering common franchise blog topics, such as franchisee interviews and franchise reviews, the Franchise Chatter Blog has recently started to promote several Top 10 Franchise lists, including Ambrosio’s recent “10 Franchises with the Best Business Models (and 1 with Possibly THE Worst).” [Hint: The UPS Store does not fare well in this study.] Social networking options are available and easy to use on this blog.
Blue MauMau Scam franchises and crappy business opportunities beware -- if you cheat your investors, you may end up exposed on Blue MauMau. Even though Blue MauMau is considered a franchise blog, it may be better defined as a "volunteer citizen journal," or a social networking site for franchisors and current, former, and future franchisees. Don Sniegowski, better known under his alias Mr. Blue MauMau, says, "A blog? Yes. We have them. We encourage them. But that just doesn't quite fit in describing our complete site, does it?" Sure, Blue MauMau members blog about their franchise experiences and comment on others' entries like any other blog. However, much of the discussion takes place in forums and news comment threads rather than in your typical journal entry format. To make this site even more interactive, users are allowed to rank the usefulness of information and gain access to real-time franchise news. New articles are posted at least once per day, and the site often publishes multiple posts per day. All of this activity is supervised by one main editor: Mr. Blue MauMau (or, simply, Don). Don's personal experience with franchising was as a franchise executive, leading global field ops and development for an international quick print chain.
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Franchise Today/franchisEssentials Paul Segreto is the mastermind behind these two franchise information outlets: FranchiseEssentials is his blog, which is linked heavily to his radio talk showFranchise Today. Segreto has worked in franchising for over twenty years as a consultant and coach, senior-level corporate executive, activist, multi-unit franchisee and area developer. The blog and radio show work together nicely in that short previews of each show are posted to the blog. However, there are also some original pieces on the blog such as articles covering franchise tips. The blog updates about three to four times per week, while the radio show records new episodes once per week. Segreto founded Franchise Today to "promote franchise best practices at all levels of a franchise organization." franchisEssentials provides great content and is a vehicle for Segreto's franchise consulting services, which include advice on effective use of social media tools. As Paul explains, "I come at social media from the franchisor/franchisee perspective as opposed to doing so from a marketer's perspective. THAT has proven to be a tremendous advantage in working with franchise clients."
Top 3 Franchise Big Industry Member Blogs These blogs are run by larger organizations that deal directly in franchising.
Franzoom.com Blog Franzoom is one of very few sites dedicated to converting small businesses into franchises. For this reason, the site's Articles section is very unique relative to the others that made our list in the sense that its main target audience is not current and future franchisees. Although technically not a blog, Franzoom's Articles section is at the top of our list regarding both quality of material and how frequently the site updates. More than seven new posts go up most weeks. Dan Collins of Franzoom says, "Franzoom provides the finest support and help for small businesses to jump start their franchises at very affordable prices. Our goal is to be the #1 resource for the finest franchising tools and world class information for our readers." The content of the posts generally includes helpful tips and pointers for small businesses, especially those companies looking to franchise their concept.
AllBusiness Blog AllBusiness blogger Tim Devaney has been a senior editor at Red Herring and Editor-in-Chief at the Berkeley Monthly. His partner in crime, Tom Stein, has also contributed to a number of highly ranked publications, including Business 2.0 and Success Magazine, where, as he puts it, he “covered some of the most unusual and utterly unique entrepreneurial companies in the world.” Together, this duo not only informs, but also entertains its readers with unusually eye-popping information. "We typically pick three franchise- related news items each week and put our own spin on them," says Tom Stein, "We like to pick items that are a bit quirky or humorous – things we can have a bit of fun with" And with sub headlines like “Pabst Blue Ribbon!!!” and “The Upside of Child Labor,” you know that Tim and Tom’s site isn’t going to be your average franchise blog. AllBusiness also compiles their annual AllStar Franchise 300 list. Although the rankings may be subject to debate, the list is a great and organized resource for franchise information. With each ranking is an overview of the firm, an explanation for why it was placed where it was on the list, and cost and financing information, among other important details.
Franchising.com Blog Similar to many of the other sites in this category, the blog is not the main focus for the site. Franchising.com actually updates its blog only about once per month, but has an “Articles” section (that might just as easily serve as a blog itself) which is updated frequently. New articles are posted throughout the month by various contributing writers. Content ranges from franchisee features to tips from industry veterans.
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Franchise Direct Blog The Franchise Direct blog is updated daily with original content. Editor Donald Cranford writes the majority of the blog’s entries, which range in subject from interesting stories and facts relating to franchising to advice for current and future franchisees. As Franchise Direct explains, “We discuss all things helpful and interesting for prospective franchisees.” The blog's layout is very clean and easy on the eyes (no small compliment in today's bling- and plugin-laden blogger world). Commenting is enabled on the blog.
FranchiseHelp.com Franchise Blog Ok, ok.... of course we're partial towards our own franchise blog here, but we think it's a read worth checking out! From interviews to feature articles to tips and recommendations from franchise industry veterans, we try to offer our readers the entire spectrum of topics that would be of interest to anyone in the franchise world, especially potential future franchisees. We also maintain the world's largest franchise directory and a library of franchise documents, among many other resources for any interested in franchising.
Top 3 Small Industry Member Blogs These are businesses run by one person or a small group of individuals that deal with franchising and, in some cases, small businesses.
Franchise Business Opportunities Blog Dane Carlson is an adventurous entrepreneur whose passion for blogging expanded into a treasure chest of 20,000 business opportunities. Dane's Franchise Business Opportunities Weblog is a collection of information from a variety of outside franchise blogs and news sites. Most of this content is focused on news from individual franchises, rather than advice about franchising as a whole.
The Franchise Expert Blog This is the official blog of the FranchiseKnowHow.com site. Founder Ed Teixera, who has more than 35 years of franchise industry experience, does a good job of exposing readers to interesting articles and news around the franchise industry the way only an industry veteran could. Not a large proportion of the content is original, but readers should think of the blog as a quick and easy way to acquire important franchising knowledge from a central, well-curated source.
The Succeed as Your Own Boss Blog Founder Melinda Emerson updates the blog multiple times per week, offering juicy content that any business owner – franchisee or not – can sink his or her teeth into. Every Wednesday, Emerson hosts the Twitter talk show
SmallBizChat, on which she interviews various small business industry
members. Transcripts of the interviews are posted by the next morning on her blog. Along with these transcripts, readers can expect to find helpful tips and recommendations for running their businesses. As you'd expect from someone who developed a large and committed twitter chat show, social networking sharing is available and made easy on the Succeed as Your Own Boss blog.
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KCH Franchises Blog KCHFranchises.com is updated weekly with original content. Blogger and franchise owner, Kelly Hutchinson and her husband Ken Hutchinson write the majority of the blog’s entries, which range in subject from facts relating to buying and running a senior home care franchise, to advice and commentary about health care trends. The KCH Franchise Blog seems to always give an insider's view to the Senior Care franchise owner's world, both in the details and the broad stokes of small business management. Both Kelly and Ken can be found guest blogging on several other sites and have a large social following that is growing. While both of them would say they are "not the experts", it is hard to take much else away from their insightful analysis and witty commentary.
The FranchiseCafe Blog Jeff Fabian, owner of the boutique, franchise-focused IP and business law firm Fabian, LLC, maintains his business blog at The FranchiseCafe (so-named because of the "menu" of legal services he offers to both franchisors and franchisees). The blog is a great source of in-depth information on the stickiest legal aspects of franchising and business. Titles of recent posts include "Important Points for Selling a Franchise" and his series on "Understanding the FDD".
The Awesomely Simple Blog On this blog, built around the chapters in business consultant and speaker John Spence's book by the same name, readers get exposed to in-depth ruminations on what it means to be a great leader, how to invest in the face of recession, how to build long-term customer loyalty, and how to "[Make] the very complex...awesomely simple." Featuring videos, essays, and all manner of thought-provoking advice for business owners at every stage of growth (or recovery), the Awesomely Simple blog is not a franchise blog, but it stands out as a resource we recommend for entrepreneurs in general.
Rush On Business Blog The only thing that could potentially be more important than figuring out what to do when running a franchise is figuring out what NOT to do. With 16 years of experience in franchisor legal services, Rush Nigut knows what aspects of the business make or break the young franchisee. This blog has trusted content about both franchising and law, making it great for those who don’t want to get too bogged with the legal complications of starting a franchise.
Top 3 Media Bloggers These are the big-name business media outlets with segments dedicated to franchising.
Entrepreneur.com Daily Dose Amongst the media sites that we've looked into, Entrepreneur's Franchise and Opportunities came up as one of the best. Their articles, which generally feature franchise interviews and stories, are updated fairly frequently. And as with most larger magazine websites, the professionalism of their content is assured, making Entrepreneur's advice trustworthy and clean. In addition to the main franchise and opportunity articles, Entrepreneur has also given special attention to franchises listed in their well known Franchise 500 Rankings. Even though most of these articles were published near the beginning of 2011, these franchise reviews nevertheless give great insight into the quality of each franchise. We recently published a piece explaining how to read and interpret the Franchise 500 List.
Inc.com Blog Franchise Section Inc.'s Franchises section is small, but useful. It's separated into two main sections: franchise tips and franchise articles. Although its tips section needs quite a bit of updating, the content itself is still worth reading. Similarly, Inc.'s "Recent" Franchises Articles are renewed approximately once a month, but nevertheless give solid information, with franchise stories, advice and interviews.
Wall Street Journal Franchise Section Just as with Inc., the Wall Street Journal's franchising section is desperately in need of more frequent updates, but it's hard to have objection with the editorial authority and journalistic reputation of this venerable publication. The WSJ franchise section contains profiles, stories, and high- quality information to help guide consumers considering a franchise investment.
Top 3 Franchisor Blogs These are blogs written by franchise CEO's and founders.This category is a bit thinner than the others, as keeping a blog is not necessarily the primary focus of many franchisors. For those who do keep a blog, more power to them. We look forward to a more robust list in 2012's blog roundup.
AmSpirit Blog We call this the fortune cookie of franchisor blogs. AmSpirit Business Connections, a business connections and networking franchise, runs a very unique blog in the sense that many of its posts are nothing more than short motivational tips. New posts go up only a few times per month, but the blog is definitely worth a look when you're in the mood for a quick, easy read that can help small business owners and franchisees improve their sales and networking capabilities.
Spring-Green Blog Founded in Naperville, Illinois in 1977, Spring-Green Lawn Care is a neighborhood-based lawn and tree care service company. "We launched our blog is 2009 as a way to connect with our employees, franchise owners, customers and potential franchisees," says CEO Ted Hofer. The blog mostly highlights stories regarding the company, "from awards received to franchisees making a difference in their community to Spring-Green news articles." While the content isn't as relevant from a general franchise industry perspective, the Spring-Green blog gives readers (and prospective franchisees) a window into how the company, its franchisees, and the concept overall operate.
Sunshine Consulting Blog Blog owner Todd Weiss is CFO and founder of the Sunshine Consulting firm, a franchise that provides consulting and brokerage systems to other aspiring franchises and businesses. Updated once every Friday, Todd keeps his blog personal and entertaining. Some of his posts feature interesting yet applicable YouTube clips (how on earth do you connect Sesame Street to franchises?!). Todd blogs not only about the technicalities of franchising, but also about more inspirational topics like motivation, critical thinking, and handling mistakes.
Drew Wolin is an analyst at FranchiseHelp. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Searching for the Best Franchises for Minorities
Many franchises incentivize minorities to join their systems. As president of the World Franchising Network Rob Bond puts it, these franchises "grease the skids" on behalf of minority candidates because they see value in promoting diversity among their franchisees. On account of a still-languid economy, however, many franchisors' approach has changed significantly in recent years. As Bond explains, “African Americans and Hispanics were being aggressively recruited five years ago to fill vacancies.” But today most franchisors are more concerned with trying to grease the skids for foreign investors with significant piles of investment capital.
Why Should I Open a Franchise Rather Than Open My Own Business?
America has always been the land of free enterprise, and the prospect of self- employment may sound like a dream come true. Imagine the schedule flexibility, the freedom to explore and expand while pursuing an interesting career. The alleyways of entrepreneurship are so vast that it can be rather daunting to entertain. What is the right business for today? What product is in demand? Which business model is most profitable? What concept is most likely to succeed? Potential owners also must consider that franchising may be a better option than small business start ups. Yes, when entrepreneurship meets franchising, the parameters change. There may still be freedom, but new franchisees find themselves absorbed into a preset business model with a tried and true support system.
Three Keys to Franchise Success
The first is to understand the key drivers of success in your business -- that is to say, the three or four major strategies or operational processes that make up the engine of profitability and success for your organization. As an example, for a restaurant these factors may include things such as speed, consistency, freshness, cleanliness and friendliness. For an auto parts store the key drivers will probably include inventory availability, customer service, expertise and pricing/margins. Once you understand the key drivers, it is critical that you focus on them incessantly and help everyone in your organization understand that it is their responsibility to make sure those drivers are the top priority for them every day at work.