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Manage: Your Biz in Review
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Jump Start Your Success in 2010

It’s time for a hard look at your sales, expenses and net profits from 2009. With the new year here, really think about what this year could bring.

Okay, everyone has had enough of the general gloom and doom in the news. If you’ve tuned it out, then tune in to some of your own research. Is your industry growing or shrinking? What does that mean to your sales projects.

1. Call SCORE to find an office near you for a Small Business Check-up. Schedule a personal mentoring session. Get a free and confidential review of your business in 2009. Call 1-800/634-0245 or Find SCORE Online.

2. Do Some Research. Use Google search to find out general industry trends. If you’re in retail, how much is retail down right now? What sectors are doing better or worse. This is the news you need–specific to your industry with an impact on your business. If you see an industry holding steady, growing or contracting, your plans for 2010 should take that into account.

3. Tune up your business plan. Really take a hard look at sales projections and expenses. You can break the plan into quarters, this way you may plan revenue and expense based on slower sales earlier in the year and a pick-up in volume a little later in the year. It’s too late after the fact. Now, you have the chance to set budgets based on expectations–and that is the management tool that helps you in 2010.

Christine Banning, SCORE
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SCORE
For 50 years, SCORE has helped aspiring and current small business owners achieve their dreams. Through a network of over 11,000 volunteer business mentors in 340+ chapters across the country, SCORE connects decades of business experience and knowledge with those who can best use it.
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Franchising: Is It Right for Me?
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Things to Consider Before Buying a Franchise

If you have a limited business background, you may want to consider buying a franchise.  There are many benefits invloved. When considering a franchise, keep the following five tips in mind:

  1. open_woman_cafeYou are a customer to the franchisor. Many people believe that going into a franchise is like joining a partnership where you, the franchisee, will be protected from failure. This is not true. While franchisee companies have a much higher success rate than individual start-up companies, up to 20 percent of all franchises do not do well. However, this failure rate is far lower than that of individual start ups.
  2. You and the franchisor have different goals. Although both parties; franchisee and franchisor, have the common goal of building the brand, the franchisor’s goal is to sell franchises and the franchisee’s goal is to service the consumer or end user.
  3. You may not have an ongoing relationship with the franchisor sales representative. If you are dealing with an independent agent or with one of the brokerage houses which represent franchisors, chances are that although they are knowledgeable about the franchise, you will not see that person after the point of sale. If you are dealing with a sales person salaried by the franchisor, s/he will want to work with you in the future, and that may cause the sales process to take on a different perspective.
  4. You have legal rights when dealing with the franchisor. Be careful if the franchisor tells you how much you can earn if you invest in their system. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires that franchisors who make such claims provide you with written substantiation. Be sure to ask for and receive this. If they don’t provide it, consider the claims to be suspect.
  5. You are protected by the UFOC. The Uniform Franchise Offering Circular (UFOC) defines what the franchisor will do for you and expects of you. You must carefully review the UFOC before purchasing the franchise. The FTC protects franchisee prospects up until the point of sale, but after this, the UFOC becomes vitally important.

What franchise questions do you have? Leave a comment below.

Betty Otte, SCORE Orange County
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