starting a business
There is a certain draw, a certain magnetism towards being an entrepreneur. Sure, the potential profits can be amazing, there is barely a ceiling on how much money you can make, but there must be something else that makes a person work the insane hours required. It’s the freedom, the control. It’s the fact that all the profits you make, all the success you have, and it’s all yours. However, the risk is very high, as is the starting investment. This is where franchise businesses come in.
Instead of starting everything from scratch, you get the opportunity to run a local branch of a franchise you concluded a contract with. You, for a fee, obtain the right to a franchise, to run a branch with their products, brands, trademarks… With a franchise, you get to essentially be your own boss, all your achievements (and failures) will be yours and yours alone. However, the stating capital needed is much lower than what you need to get for your own business. Furthermore, you get a completely developed plan and marketing strategy pretty much handed to you.
Know that while franchising isn’t for everyone, for some it is the perfect opportunity to achieve their entrepreneurial dreams. However, giving it a shot requires some forethought (obviously). Below are some tips on how to figure out what kind of franchise is right for you.
Which Franchise Business is Best?
What is your initial budget?
The first thing you need to ask yourself is – what is your budget like? Franchise prices vary greatly, they can range from anything between ten thousand dollars, to a cool million. Weight in what your initial investment can be, as well as your expected profits, how soon you will break even, what’s your lifestyle like, and what your goals are.
Understand that the initial investment will depend on the line of work you have chosen. A restaurant will be much more expensive when compared to a B2B company. The equipment can be substantial, refrigerators, coolers, ovens, grills, all the cutlery. You will also need to set up the right décor. Utilities can be quite high, as can the cost of rent if you’re anywhere near a high-traffic location. On the other hand, a B2B consulting company that does all its work online can have its location set-up essentially wherever you want. The initial equipment, besides a few costly computers and software licences, is pretty minimal.
What role do you want to play?
Now, depending on how you want to spend your workday, you can choose to work as an operator, or an absentee owner. If you’re interested in getting right into it, going on the frontlines, then being an operator is an excellent choice. You will have direct insight into what’s going on at the company, will be able to control everything. It is the perfect choice for anybody who gravitates towards a hands-on approach.
On the other hand, absentee owners are more like pure investors. They hire the right staff, and are involved with some of the day-to-day grind, but they are mostly behind the scenes. They let the staff they hired to actually manage the whole enterprise. Now, of course, these choices depend on the franchise. Some places expect one type of work, others the other. Most often you will have free reign, but the actual type of business may require you to be at the office every day.
Do you have any experience (and in which area)?
Finally, you need to figure out where your interests are, in which area have you accumulated experience. There is no point in running a company branch whose line of work you despise. Go with your passion. Are you obsessed with cars? Maybe get the number from some car selling franchise. Do you love artisanal teas? Then calling up Chatime for franchise options is your best bet. How about fashion? Then contact a clothing brand. What you need is passion, and some kind of (formal or informal) education in that area. A couple of years in the business can come in handy as well.
And this isn’t just about passion, or pure knowledge, but about connections as well. If you want to get a franchise focused on the fast food industry, having some ties in that world will serve you well. Knowing the right distributors, maintenance workers, wholesalers and retailers will make your life much easier than just starting from scratch.
A franchise can be just as exciting and lucrative, if not more so, than regularly starting your own business. You still get a serious amount of control, and will have very high potential profits. Furthermore, a big chunk of the work, regarding marketing and planning, will be laid out in front of you. Just remember to figure out what you’re passionate about, and how much experience do you have. Be honest with how big your initial budget can be, and what kind of leadership role can you take on.
How to Launch an Online T-Shirt Business
Here at Go Media, we receive many fantastic emails from fans and friends who are creating their own online clothing businesses. They write with many questions for us – everything from how to get started through how to launch with a bang. We thought we’d take this opportunity to address some of these great questions and give some advice to the best of our ability. Ready? Let’s get started!
Brand, brand, brand.
To have a successful business, you need to build a strong brand. You need to come to understand what you offer that is unlike any other apparel line, who your target customer is and what makes you stand above others. Keep in mind that there are millions of apparel lines out there. Until you have a compelling story line, you’ll be on a road going straight to nowheresville.
Once you have gotten real with yourself, identified your brand and developed your vision, you can begin to create the assets needed for your business, including your mark, logotype, truly unique apparel, ad material, etc.
Pick your pleasure.
Do some research and choose a site (or multiple sites) where you’ll post and sell your designs. Sites like Teespring, Fabrily (Teespring Europe), FreshMonk, Gooten, GearBubble, Teechip and Teezily are ready-to-use platforms that will help you launch your own web-to-print ecommerce business.
Prefer to run your own store? Try to create your own eCommerce website through sites like Shopify, Wix, Squaespace or Weebly. Fulfill orders through a trusted printer (like Jakprints) or fulfillment sites like Printful.
Another option is to work with marketplaces such as Big Cartel, Etsy, RedBubble, Amazon, Cafe Press, Society6 and Zazzle. The benefit of this is that the marketplaces have not only tools set in place to get you going in a jiffy, but pre-existing customers who are ready and waiting to take a look at (and hopefully purchase) your work.
You can also try submitting a design to a site like Cotton Bureau, but understand that the acceptance of rejection of your design is solely at the discretion of the site.
Set up all of the accounts.
Stake your claim on all of the social media accounts associated with your new brand. Yep, a Facebook page and Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat accounts, a blog – you name it. You will need these to advertise all of your awesome designs and connect with your ever-growing community, so set them up now and get to work on them when the time is right. Depending on which platform you use, you will also want to set up a Mailchimp account. This will be vital in collecting information from and keeping in contact with customers. Email marketing, after all, is free and one of the best, most targeted ways of marketing available.
Nail your photography and copywriting.
Should you need to take your own product photography, make sure it’s on point. Do your research on where it’s being sold, as many retailers will ask for your product to be shot on a plain background. Make sure that you shoot all sides of your product (front, back, various angles and close up shots as needed), so that your customer gets a real life, intimate view of it. Not a professional photographer? iPhones work miracles these days, especially when partnered with time and care.
Better yet, use pre-existing professional, high resolution mockup templates from the Arsenal, Mockup Everything or Shirt Mockup, to ensure that your customers are seeing your designs displayed on the best of the best.
When writing product descriptions, know your stuff. Order the apparel you’ll be selling and give it a test run. How does it feel in the real world? Is it true to size? Does it shrink after washing? What does your design look like on a classic tee versus a tri-blend tee? Do they fade differently? Is it truly something you’d want to wear? If not, start from scratch until you find the perfect t-shirt. You know, the one just like your favorite tee you can’t help to wear over and over again.
You’ll need to test your product on family and friends of all sizes and shapes, so this is a great opportunity to get some modelshot photos in. We suggest taking these photos on both white backgrounds and out in the real world.
Do your research! This will take time, but will pay off in dividends.
Once you’ve nailed the best product and understand how it feels, you’ll really need to sell it in your product description. Read other product descriptions until you’re blue in the face. What do they include that appeals to your senses? Include not only a detailed description of your product, but what makes it unique, how it will benefit the user and how it will improve their life. American Giant is doing a fantastic job of this with their “World’s Best Hoodie” campaign. Consider using testimonials here as well.
Ship it out, keep in contact.
If you’re responsible for shipping out your own product, do so without hesitation. We suggest using a scale and label printer from stamps.com, where you can also print labels. This makes things incredibly simple and allows for the shipment of product immediately. Should you have any difficulty with fulfilling a product or need to delay shipment for any reason, get in contact with your customer immediately and be honest. Customer service is key.
While we’re on the topic of shipping, consider adding your own personal touch when your product is on its way out of the door. Write a personal thank you note to your customer and stop and take the time to make your packaging something to remember.
Get your work out there.
While you’re getting up and running, get your gear out in the real world. Share samples with friends and hit the streets with your designs by participating in flea markets, art shows and other community events where you can sell your merch. Getting your name out will start the momentum you need and can give you some immediate feedback as well.
Starting any new venture takes tenacity. Instant success isn’t guaranteed. You may fall more times than you’ll step forward. The more you count your failures as learning moments, the more you keep pushing towards your goal, the greater the chance you’ll become known. So keep narrowing in on who you are, what unique gifts you can bring your audience and put your best foot forward always. We believe in you!
How to Select the Perfect URL For Your Business
Follow the KISS (Keep it simple, stupid) philosophy in selecting a URL for your business. Yes, you can be creative and meaningful, but ensure that your URL is, above all, easy to remember and as error-proof as possible. Perhaps the most enjoyable way to test out your prospective URL is with the ever-famous Cocktail Party Test:
Let’s pretend for all intensive purposes that you’re at a Go Media cocktail party. Why not, right?!? Go ahead! Tell us your URL!
- Do we look confused?
- Do we need to write it down?
- Are you spelling out words and correcting us when we repeat it?
- Are you writing down the hyphens, underscores, or apostrophes for us?
If you answered, “Yes,” to any of these questions, it’s time to simplify your URL and incorporate the additional tips below. Then, and only then, may you attend another cocktail party to try it out.
Be Unique But Memorable. Brands such as Zappos or Amazon work because of the brand marketing, not because they are immediately intuitive. If you have the gumption to create a name this unique, ensure you have the marketing at your disposal to make your URL memorable for your audience. Remember that your audience, however, may never fully catch up. You may have to purchase alternative spellings to your URL and redirect them to your site (Example: Flickr.com versus Flicker.com.)
Compete Wisely. Have you checked out your competitor’s URLs? What works (or doesn’t) about what they have chosen? Make some keyword lists about what makes your brand or company special. Use what differentiates you to make your URL sing.
Think Big(ger). You may currently be a unilateral business and doing quite nicely. But what if one day, you decide to branch out? Take our business, for example. Our name, GoMedia, encompasses any media out there–if we had named ourselves after our first love (illustration) and called ourselves GoIlustrate.com, it would be harder to grow as a company and a brand.
Be Social. In today’s day and age, social media is an essential part of your business. Confirm that your URL can work seamlessly with social media. Have you checked out Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram? Can your name be integrated there? Is it too long, too short, or already taken? It’s not a game changer if you’re unable to snag the same exact handle, but you need to make sure that you’re social media persona ties into your brand and makes sense.
Secure Your Domain. Once you’ve decided on your domain and URL, we strongly suggest securing your domain for many years. It’s really not that expensive, and instead of having to renew it each year, you’ll be set. Plus, in the unfortunate instance that you forget to renew your domain one year, securing a domain for 10+ years will help you avoid headaches related to buying back your domain and editing all of your marketing collateral with an updated URL.
Starting a business is exciting, thrilling, and full of “head-in-palm” moments. You don’t need to add to the stress by creating a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad URL. Be creative, be smart, and most importantly, K.I.S.S. Hope to hear about your URL at one of our get-togethers in the near future!