Want to Start a Business? – Think Franchising First

Want to Start a Business? – Think Franchising First

franchise-word-barfAccording to an industry forecast published by IHS Economics, the US franchising sector’s GDP output will have grown to $552 billion by the end of 2016. This represents market growth of 5.6% compared to the same period in 2015. Currently, 795,932 franchise establishments operate across the US and some (especially fast food outlets) have operations in other parts of the world. With this in mind, you should consider a franchise for sale rather than starting your own business if you have an entrepreneurial inclination. Here are some of the top benefits of buying a franchise:

Proven Business Model

Franchising allows you to access and use a business model that has been tried and tested in the real world. This is important for several reasons. Firstly, new franchise owners undergo thorough training before and after starting operations. Secondly, franchisees receive advice and help on issues such as marketing, staffing, and complying with local business regulations. These efforts reduce the risk of business failure. Figures published by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show that only about 50% of small businesses survive through the first five years while the Small Business Administration (SBA) says 66% of all new businesses operate for at least two years. Common causes of business failure during the early days include lack of operational experience and financial indiscipline. As such, the guidance provided by franchises lowers the risk of early failure.

Operational Freedom

Although franchises retain some degree of control over their business models, franchisees generally enjoy a lot of operational freedom. For instance, you can use the same franchise to open outlets across multiple locations, states, or even countries meaning you do not have to restrict your entrepreneurship dreams to a single location. Nevertheless, the operational regulations that franchises face even in the US vary from state to state. For this reason, it is wise to carry out thorough market research and consult financial and legal experts before opening a franchise in a new jurisdiction.

Brand Presence

franchise-thumbtacksMost franchises are established brands with loyal customer bases that you can leverage to boost foot traffic and revenues. Moreover, associating with a well-known brand gives franchisees a huge competitive advantage over rivals. For example, ads run by parent franchises will also have a trickle-down effect on franchisees. However, any scandals involving another franchisee or the parent company will reflect badly on anyone involved with the same brand. To reduce this risk, the rule of thumb is to look for a franchise that has been operating for years and has a solid reputation as well.


Franchising enables entrepreneurs to access industry networks that are inaccessible by others. This includes invite-only conferences, trade fairs, industry-specific professional bodies, and training programs. For instance, auto dealership franchises regularly organize brand-specific training programs for both salespeople and mechanics. The contacts you make via these networks can help you improve service delivery and broaden your business footprint. It is also worth noting that industry insiders can give you so called “street smarts”(on-the-ground operational tips/advice) that you can never learn in a classroom setting.

Established Business Systems and Structuresfranchise-cutie

If you are looking for a hassle-free business, franchise opportunities are the right choice. For instance, you can open a franchise outlet and start receiving customers immediately without spending thousands of dollars on marketing and brand activation. Moreover, you do not have to worry about supply chain logistics because most franchises provide the raw materials or finished goods associated with their brands. Remember many companies have outsourced manufacturing meaning entrepreneurs who go it alone may have to travel overseas to evaluate the state of manufacturing facilities. The costs related to these engagements (travel, accommodation, food) can quickly add up to thousands of dollars. Luckily, franchises take care of these logistics, thereby giving franchisees the freedom to focus on purely on-site tasks.

Ongoing Support

Franchises are renowned for offering a wide range of ongoing support services including regular staff training. What’s more, many franchises maintain in-house teams of real estate professionals who can help new franchisees identify and get the best commercial space deals. Without this support, franchisees may struggle to maintain the service delivery standards and product quality associated with the parent company. At the same time, franchise companies can help entrepreneurs access financing solutions that fit their operational goals and needs.

Economies of Scale

Unlike small business, franchises enjoy economies of scale, especially when negotiating with product suppliers. This means franchisees can easily access products at prices that are markedly lower than the prices offerings accessible by individual small business owners. In turn, franchisees can pass on these cost benefits to their customers.


Franchising is a popular business model that is the main source of income for thousands of franchisees in the US. Compared to starting your own business, franchises are more beneficial because they are based on proven business models, are known brands, they offer ongoing support, enjoy economies of scale, are hassle free, and enable entrepreneurs to access hitherto inaccessible industry networks.

Finding the Best Animal Hospital for Your Pets

Finding the Best Animal Hospital for Your Pets

cute puppy and cat

It is always wise to choose a good veterinarian and animal hospital before you actually need their services, whether you are a seasoned pet owner or someone who is considering getting a dog or cat for the first time. If you and your pet already know the vet you have chosen, and feel comfortable with him or her, then it will make the situation a whole lot easier, if and when the time comes that your dog or cat suddenly needs medical attention.

Things to take into consideration when looking for a good veterinarian or animal hospital:

There are five basic steps to take to help you choose a good vet and medical care facility for your cat or dog, and these include:

Step 1 — Review Different Websites

Make a list of the vet services in your area, and have a good look at their websites, which should give you a good idea of their attitude, their staff, as well as their capacity. Get as much information as possible from the site, including their location, rates, and any services they specialize in. It is also important to choose a vet that is accredited by the AAHA, or American Animal Hospital Association.

Step 2 – Referrals from Friends and Family

Word of mouth is one of the best ways to find out about any business. Speak to friends and family, pet shelters, boarding kennels, grooming parlors, and of course, other pet owners in your vicinity, about the vet and Animal Hospital in the area that they know and trust.

Step 3 — Ask Around and Find the Best One That Suits Your Needs

Since every facility has their own method of doing things, call each one and speak to someone in authority, to find out how they operate. Find out about the hours they are available, whether they offer overnight care, their billing details, and information about any other services they provide. This will help you to understand how that facility is run, and it will also give you the opportunity to interact with their staff too, which will give you a good idea as to their experience and the kind of service they provide for their clients.

Step 4 — Make an Effort to Meet Each Veterinarian

Once you have a shortlist of the vets and animal hospitals you’re interested in, make an appointment to meet each of the vets, without your pet. Ask each of them what type of training they’ve had, whether they take part in continued education to keep up to date with technology, what their approach is to treat animals, as well as the services provided by their Animal Hospital. They should be more than willing to give you a quick tour to see their facilities and meet their staff, which should give you a good indication as to how they react to you, the animals in their care, as well as other people.

Step 5 — Take Your Pet to Meet the Vet

Once you’ve decided which of the vets will best suit your needs, make another appointment to let your cat or dog meet the vet. This could either be a routine check-up, or a simple “get acquainted” visit. This will give you the opportunity to watch how the vet works with your pet, and how your pet reacts to him or her. Even though it is quite normal for a cat or dog to be a bit wary or nervous when first meeting a stranger, they should be able to get along well enough for the vet to do a routine examination.

Benefits of getting regular proper health and dental care for your pet:

There are several benefits to getting proper health and dental care for your cat or dog on a regular basis. For instance:

  • Regular, thorough physical examinations will allow for early detection of potentially serious conditions, which might go unnoticed by you, but will be picked up immediately by your vet. Early diagnosis means early treatment, which usually means a better outcome for your pet.
  • Prevention is always better than cure, and your vet can put together a health care plan for the following 6 to 12 months, that could prevent your pet from getting sick with certain diseases.
  • Your veterinarian will also see at these regular check-ups if there is tartar build-up on your dog’s teeth, which would cause his gums to become red and painful. Your cat or dog will get the dental care he needs before his mouth becomes too sore, or he starts losing his teeth.
  • Although many people feel that behavioral problems in animals don’t warrant a visit to the Animal Hospital, it is your vet who can help you with these problems, should they start to get out of hand.
  • Just like humans, dogs and cats also develop problems as they grow older, and it is at the regular visits to your vet that these issues will be diagnosed and treated properly, and allow your pet to enjoy his old age in comfort.
  • Regular oral care will stop halitosis in your pet, and also prevent other health issues that could develop from bad dental health.

Healthy home-made treats for your cat and dog:

Making your own home-made treats does not only show how much you love and care for your pet, but they are easy to make and much healthier than those sold in stores too.

Savory Cheese Treats your Cat or Dog will love


  • White flour — ¾ Cup
  • Grated cheddar cheese — ¾ Cup
  • Grated Parmesan cheese — 5 Tablespoons
  • Plain yogurt or sour cream — ¼ Cup
  • Cornmeal — ¼ Cup


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F
  2. Combine cheeses and yogurt, and add cornmeal and flour
  3. Knead into a nice dough, adding a little water if necessary
  4. Form dough into ball and roll out to ¼ inch thick
  5. Cut into 1-inch square pieces, place on greased baking sheet, and bake for 25 minutes.

This recipe makes 24 delicious treats for your dog or cat.

Picking The Right Senior Care Agency

Picking The Right Senior Care Agency

Let’s face it: Performing the tasks of everyday life gets a lot harder as we get older. If you or a loved one are in this situation, you’re probably wondering what to do. It’s a particularly worrisome situation for those who live alone, as well as for their adult children. Maintaining independence is a key issue, yet the difficulty or even the inability to take care of oneself properly at times makes it seem like assisted living or a nursing home is the only answer.

It’s not. Asheville is home to a variety of non-medical senior care agencies that can provide the help that’s needed to allow elders to retain their independence. Finding and selecting the right agency to provide help is a crucial step in maintaining quality of life, so you need to handle it well. Here are some tips to help you select the right caregivers for your needs.

Caregivers Should Be Trained and Screened

Virtually anyone can cook, clean house, and wash, but it’s important that the person you will provide care is attuned to the special needs of seniors, including physical, psychological, and cognitive. Ask the agency what type of training they provide. After all, it wouldn’t do to hire a caregiver that will do minimal work or attend to his or her own needs for the majority of the time. The agency’s caregivers should also go through background screening to ensure that no employees have a criminal history.

Look for a Variety of Services Offered

The agency you select should not offer only a single type of service, but a wide range that can be customized to individual needs. Look for an agency that will come to your home to offer a free assessment and then devise a plan that will fit your needs and budget. Seniors Helping Seniors is an example of an Asheville home care agency that will do just that.

Non-medical care generally falls into three categories:

  •     Personal care, providing assistance, with bathing, toileting, grooming, and similar tasks
  •     Home helper duties, encompassing cleaning, cooking, shopping, etc.
  •     Companionship, covering tasks such as helping plan outings, assistance with doctor appointments, medication reminders and more

Some agencies will also provide services for seniors who have Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia.

Care Plans Should Be Fluid

Even if you find the perfect senior care provider, you need to continue to evaluate whether needs are being met properly. Services should can be added or adjusted per your request. When getting services from a non-medical agency, your care plan should be reassessed at least once a year.

The Used Car Buying Process

The Used Car Buying Process

Selecting the Right Used Car

A used car dealership is a great way to save on the expense of new wheels. After all, a new car only needs to be new to you; it doesn’t have to be right off the assembly line. The modern auto production process has advanced so muchthat cars are not depreciating with each spin of the wheel. Not only do they retain value longer, but the auto runs surprisingly well for years as long as it is maintained properly.

What Brands and Models Make the Best Used Cars?

Some brands and models are going to be considered a steal when bought secondhand. Considering that a lot of companies no longer release a new model each year, it’s possible to buy a used higher-end brand for less money, but still look current year-wise. Let’s examine what ranks as high-quality among the various prices breakdowns.

     Small Cars for Less Than $10,000

It may seem like anything under $10,000 is going to be a lemon, but as we mentioned earlier, the improvement in overall auto-making has made cheaper buys safe for the road. Models that are good in this price range are the Mazda 3s (2008), the Pontiac Vibe (2005-08), and the Volkswagen Rabbit (2007-09). Each of these cars provides the streamlined functionality that drivers want from small cars, plus they all get good gas mileage. These brands and models will definitely appeal to anyone who enjoys a European driving flair.

used car dealership

    SUVs for Less Than $15,000

Being able to buy a SUV at such low cost may shock some, but it’s quite possible to do if you search for the right used car dealership. Anyone with kids will benefit from these buys because they are roomy, safe, and save money at the gas tank. They are superb for transporting bikes and other sports gear, too. The Honda CR-V (2005), The Mitsubishi Outlander (2007), and the Honda Pilot (2005) are just a few of the available models in this price range.

    Sedans Under $25,000

Sedans are a constant on the highways, with good reason. These four-door drives have maintained countless popularity because they usually offer fuel efficiency, style longevity, and room. They are great for couples, or people who spend a lot of time traveling alone for work, yet don’t want to feel cramped by a small frame. The best model in this price range is hands down the Infiniti M. It’s adventurous, dependable, and makes a luxurious statement.

Ensuring the Actual Car Is Worthwhile

Now that you’ve learned a bit about the brands and models, let’s review how to know that the actual car in front of you is a smart purchase.

One way is to do online research on the auto’s history via a dependable website such as CarFax. The next is to ask the dealer. A good salesperson will be upfront about any issues you raise. It helps to make a list of questions you want to ask, so in the excitement of the moment you don’t forget the business of the moment. Some useful things to do or inquire about are:

  • Look at the Window Sticker: Actually read over it. Dealers must post a Buyer’s Guide on every used auto they sell. The Federal Trade Commission demands this, or otherwise the sale is not legitimate. This post almost always can be found on the window and should state if a model is being sold “as is” or under warranty. If the dealership is obligated to pay a percentage of the repairs, that will be listed, too. A Buyer’s Guide takes precedence over any sales contract. By law, a dealer must adhere to the guide. If negotiations occur that change those obligations, the Buyer’s Guide has to be changed before purchase.
  • Have an Independent Mechanic Check Out the Car: If you know a reliable mechanics who will take the time to inspect a possible purchase for you, by all means try to arrange this. You also signing for used carneed to give the exterior and interior a once over yourself. It’s best to take along a trusted companion and dress to get dirty. Make sure the car is parked on even ground and that it has been parked for at least an hour. Also, avoid any area that has artificial lighting. A clear day is best, so it’s easier to spot defects. Minor nicks here and there are one thing, but keep an eye out for rust. Also, take a magnet with you to check for filler. Magnets won’t stick to dents treated with filler. Additionally, check that the paint job matches on each part.

A used car dealership is an excellent for source a cool, and safe, ride. Go to the lot prepared, and you can roll off the lot in the car of your dreams!

How To Throw A Great Dinner Party

How To Throw A Great Dinner Party

dinner-partyFrom time to time we all love to throw dinner parties for our friends and family.  However, it can be quite stressful sometimes preparing for the event.  There are so many things to cover and things to think about.  In this article, I want to share with you how to turn a good dinner into party a great one.

First things first, you need to have a clean home if you expect to have any guest at your house.  A clean home is a number one must if you’re expecting to entertain and impress your guests.  Chances are, you’ll be inviting a few guests who are first timers into your home, so first impressions are critical.

Some of the “must-do’s” of cleaning your home for company include:

  • Having your carpets cleaned – Clean carpets will make your home feel fresh and inviting.  A professional carpet cleaning is always your best bet to remove even the most pesky stains.
  • Clearing any junk that may be lying around – Having a cluttered home is a good way to make your home seem small and uninviting.  Obviously this is something we want to avoid, so make sure you clean up anything you don’t want to show to your guests.
  • A full house dusting – Dust is bad for several reasons.  Your guests don’t want see dust lying around on tables and counter tops, especially before eating.  Make sure you do a full house dusting beforehand.

After making sure your home is cleaned and appropriate for your guests, your next focus area should be on preparing the food for your guests.  This includes appetizers and drinks for them to enjoy before the main course.

You’ll need to make sure you know exactly what you want to serve before even planning the event.  A great dinner party isn’t just a spur of the moment type of thing.  You must really prepare if you wish to impress your guests.

  • Take inventory of all the ingredients you need a few days before the event.  This will give you plenty of time to run to the store to pick up any items you may need.
  • Make sure you have appropriate drinks for your dinner guests.  Include several varieties of drinks so that everyone is sure to find something they like.
  • Ensure you have enough plates, glasses, silverware, utensils, and napkins for all of your guests.  All of these items need to match.  It’s low class to have each of your guests mix and match plates, glasses, etc.  Having everything be the same will leave a lasting impression on your guests.

There you have it.  Now get to planning your dinner party – and remember, above all else, have fun!

Kid Safe Carpet Cleaners

Kid Safe Carpet Cleaners

At Sunny Side Daycare of Jacksonville FL, we are currently taking care of 40 children at any given time of the working week. These little ones are mostly between the ages 3-7 and are very full of energy. They run around all day and jump on everything they can jump across. We frequently have outdoor play time so things can get pretty dirty at times. I still remember the time sweet little Billy and Monica decided to bring in the mud pies they had made outside. Long story kids and teachershort they ended up spilling them all across the floor making a stain that no carpet cleaning solution could remove. I must have spent hours trying to work that darn stain out; there was a lot of clay in the mix. I even tried vinegar, baking soda and hydrogen peroxide in hopes that an all-natural approach might work. With all my do-it-yourself options exhausted I was forced to hire a professional carpet cleaner.

I decided to use a well-known carpet cleaning company in Jacksonville FL called Chem-Dry Duval who is known for their quick and precise services. Everyone loves these guys because they are both kid and pet safe. They don’t use harsh chemicals that would make any of my little ones sick or rash ridden.  The solution they use is a non-toxic mix called The Natural®. It is green-certified and won’t leave behind a sticky residue that one of the children may decide to rub their face in. It is even perfect for the kids that have allergies because Chem-Dry assures no worries with their products. Another added plus is their method of cleaning carpets called carbonation. The carpet cleaning technician takes the carbonation machine and runs it across the floor. It cleans using The Natural ® and very small amounts of water. By using less water you decrease your chances of moisture being left behind. Moisture left behind is bad because it gives bacteria and mold optimal conditions to grow.

With all these excellent reasons to use Chem-Dry Duval I decided to schedule a carpet cleaner to come out the following Saturday so the kids wouldn’t be there. He came on time and carbonated not only the stains but all the carpets. I got a really good deal so I decided to schedule another cleaning for another six months. They got my whole day care sparkling and there was no evidence of that muddy stain. If a kid and pet safe carpet cleaner is what you need then check out the folks at Chem-Dry Duval of Jacksonville FL!

It’s Time To Buy New Home Replacement Windows

It’s Time To Buy New Home Replacement Windows

new windowsIf you’re looking to make a smart upgrade on your house, maybe it’s time to get new home replacement windows. Newer windows are more energy efficient, meaning that you’ll save money on your energy bills. If you’re tired of high heating bills in the winter, new home replacement windows may be right for you.

Benefits of New Windows

Increase your home’s value with a gorgeous skylight window. These are great for capturing solar energy and using the heat to warm up your home. You’ll be taking advantage of solar power without owning an expensive solar panel! Plus you won’t have to use as many lights during the day as you’ll get plenty of natural sunlight.

Believe it or not, your happiness level will go up with better windows. I know mine sure did after I visited http://rbawindowsphiladelphia.com/ and had them install custom windows for my home. Your home will have more natural sunlight and it’ll stay warmer during the wintertime. This may seem like a small detail, but you will be happier in a brighter, warmer home.

New windows, like those from Andersen are designed so well that you’ll be amazed at how well they perform. Your energy bills will plummet and you’ll have more money in your pocket. If you do buy new windows, it is best to have a professional install them for you. It’ll cost a little bit more but it’s better to have the job done right than to have it done poorly. Plus the job will get done sooner so you can start enjoying your new windows right away. When it comes to your windows, it’s best to pay extra for great service.

You have everything to gain by investing in new windows for your home. You’ll take advantage of available sunlight and warm your home up with free, natural energy from the sun. Say goodbye to cold winters in your home and hello to a warmer household. Call your local window specialist today to find out how you can get started.

Replacing a Windshield This Winter? Be Sure to Ask the Right Questions

Replacing a Windshield This Winter? Be Sure to Ask the Right Questions

Windshields are amazingly durable – able to take abuse from the elements and tough road conditions without complaint. So most of us don’t replace our windshields very often, and that means we’re not used to shopping for them. We don’t know where to go to get the job done right, and we don’t know how to distinguish the good repair companies from the not-so-good.

Now is a good time to learn what to do. Icy weather is coming to the Northeast, and so are temperature extremes that place additional stress on windshields. Thankfully, finding the right windshield repair and replacement company doesn’t require an advanced degree. All you need to do is know the right questions to ask as well as the right responses to get in return.

You already know that you prefer reputable companies that stand behind their work. So why not ask your repair prospects if they offer a warranty on their windshields? The standard is a lifetime warranty against defects in material or workmanship; you should insist on the same for your repair. My local windshield repair company in New Hampshire goes one better; for a year, they’ll even repair damage caused by normal road hazards.

Here’s one thing you’ll want to ask: After replacing the windshield, how long will you have to wait to drive? You might think that shorter recovery times suggest more expertise on the part of the installer, but this isn’t really the case.

In ideal conditions, some adhesives cure quickly enough to let you drive an hour after a replacement. But many take longer to cure – sometimes a lot longer when the temperature is at freezing or below. No one can safely drive away immediately. If your potential repair company tries to sell you on an immediate drive-away, they value the sale more than your safety.

Ask if the replacement windshield meets or exceeds the federal and safety standards of the original. Make sure they do, as windshield safety is not something that should ever be compromised. You may hear the term, OEM, or original equipment manufacturer. OEM windshields are an exact match of the original – and that’s good; OEMs are also more expensive than non-OEMs that meet the same industry and safety standards – that’s not so good.

If you can, try to get a price for both OEM and non-OEM options; that way you’ll know the exact premium you’ll pay to get an exact replacement. While opinions vary on this, I’d opt for a non-OEM version that meets the same high safety standards for a lower price.

If you can find a windshield company that provides a quality warranty, OEM and non-OEM options – and doesn’t let you back on the road until you’re absolutely ready – you’re off to a good start. If you’re still not sure, ask your insurance provider about your prospects; your agent is bound to have some good insight, too.

Determining the Value of a Diamond

Determining the Value of a Diamond

Did you know that diamonds come in multiple different colors, shapes, sizes, and quality? Knowing the value of a diamond is not just important for an engagement ring. If you are shopping for any type of diamond pieces, you should be able to know the main characteristics that contribute to its value: cut, color, clarity, and carat size.

Let’s start with the cut. The cut of a diamond increases its value because it can affect how much it sparkles and shines. Specific mathematical analysis has led to standard diamond cuts that jewelers carefully replicate. However, the less complicated the cut, the cheaper it is to cut the diamond. Therefore, many jewelers sacrifice a detailed cut over size, which has a higher return on investment. This is because most people cannot understand the value of how yellow diamonda diamond is cut.

A diamond’s clarity means how many signs of imperfection are on top or beneath the surface. For instance, a cloudiness, crack, or spec within the rock could lower its value. Very few diamonds are flawless, and there will almost always be some sort of small imperfection.

The color of a diamond could increase or decrease its value. A deep hue of a color usually makes the diamond more expensive, while a pale tinge of a color will make it less valuable. Certain tones mixed in could also change the diamond’s value. For instance, a pure blue diamond would be less expensive than a purplish one. Red diamonds are rarer and more expensive, so the red tone mixing with blue to form purple will increase its value.

Finally, look at the carat size. Usually, a diamond that appears bigger from a bird’s eye view is going to have a higher carat weight. However, how deep the diamond goes in the setting could also change its weight. Holding a diamond to see how heavy it feels is a better indicator a diamond’s value that just by eying its size.

No matter what piece of diamond jewelry you are looking for, it’s essential that you understand how to get a rough idea of its value.

Side Jobs with a Flexible Schedule

Side Jobs with a Flexible Schedule

Supplement Your Income with These Small Jobs

Do you have some extra time on your hands? Looking to make some extra cash with a flexible schedule? There are plenty of options that may work for you depending on your skillset and interests. For instance, if you like pets, consider having a side business for grooming, day boarding, or dog walking. Finding something you love doing is key to enjoying life while making some additional income.

One great business for those who want to work from home and make some side money is freelancing. Writing and graphic design are popular areas for this type of work. Whether a company needs help blogging or a friend needs help freelancemaking fliers to promote their business, there is usually plenty of ways to find work in these industries. Companies like Elance help to match writers with people looking to hire. Just look online for more options.

Another great work from home business is catering. Do you like to cook or bake? This business requires minimal startup costs and is on your own flexible schedule. Best of all, if you already like cooking, it won’t feel like a job! Some people are artistic and love making themed cakes, cookies, or cupcakes for parties. This is also a great way to experience in the event planning field.

Finally, if you love helping people, consider being a senior caretaker. Not everyone needs 24/hour help taking care of their parents or loved one. Often, running some simple errands, cooking a few meals, or taking them for a walk in the park is plenty. Seniors Helping Seniors of West LA matches seniors in the area with others who are in need of help. This service combines companionship with caretaking.

No matter what you chose, finding an extra job just a couple of days a week can really add up in your bank account. Whether you are helping out babysitting or teaching swim lessons, there is bound to be something in your skillset.