Run your own business support franchise
When particular support skills are needed to help a business achieve its potential, it may be that cost-effective outsourcing is a more commercial option than attempting to provide all the requisite skills in-house.
Running a business operating in today's fast changing climate can be a challenge, admits Andrew Phillips of Brian Tracy International, a global franchise active in 18 countries including Australia. But help of experienced executives and access to world class training and coaching tools can smooth the journey somewhat, he suggests.
"Aligning with a professional company with a proven track record will be personally and financially fulfilling for the right candidate," he says. Phillips believes Australian corporate history has not revealed a better time than now to invest experience and assist businesses to help them grow. "It's a great time to begin a new venture in this industry."
The process and detail of day-to-day business operations means it is often easy for key personnel and management to lose sight of the power and impact of training. And there are many important requirements that can be met or solutions to problems that can be answered with training.
Phillips highlights a few of the areas where corporate training can make a positive impact. "Training can be a benefit if there is a need to deal effectively with demotivated and disillusioned staff and management; a requirement for clearly defined goals and a road map to achieve them or a need for visionary and inspiring leadership. Perhaps there is demand for increased sales effectiveness or increased efficiency, or a lack of focus and persistence that needs turning around.
"In some companies teamwork can be improved or management and staff need to develop more creative solutions to challenges they face in a rapidly changing marketplace."
Whether the company has a need for higher closing ratios, a need to increase repeat business, room for improved negotiation skills or the requirement to attract and retain higher calibre employees, Phillips believes the appropriate training tools and experience can help small, medium and large companies on their journey toward success and sustainability.
The professional market industry at the moment reveals most businesses are still running on minimum staff, post GFC, and therefore don't have the time or resources to undertake project work themselves. That's the view of Deb Mills from Cost Reduction Analysts.
"The excesses of the last few years are over and companies are back to focusing on their core competencies and often require outside (consulting) assistance to get back on track," she reiterates.
Most businesses are focused on outcomes and require any consultants they engage to have the same motivation, Mills believes.
"Companies are conscious of the need to reduce costs and increase revenue and are looking at new ways of doing both. Bringing costs back in line without cutting staff is a large consideration and this is where CRA Cost Reduction Analysts are able to assist," she says.
Franchises secure their fees when they make savings and are experienced in sourcing cost reductions in the supply of goods and services. While Mills admits it is a difficult to secure lending to purchase a business right now, those franchise prospects with access to money are finding the growing professional services arena a market ripe for investment.
Another franchise system, Expense Reduction Analysts Australia expects to save Australian clients more than $13.2 million in 2010.
"Last year was a terrific year for our company with savings of $13.2 million generated for our clients and this year we are expecting to better this," says Michael Nicholas, executive director of Expense Reduction Analysts Australia. "With sales growth at a stand-still for many businesses, our ability to reduce costs has enabled many of our clients to continue to improve profits."
The company typically finds savings of around 20 per cent in a wide range of general and administrative expenses, including freight, office supplies, telecommunications, information technology, merchant card fees and waste management. If Expense Reduction Analysts finds no savings, there is no fee.
Nicholas says clients report that cost savings have also helped to retain staff and provided additional funding for investment in new equipment in what has been a difficult trading environment.
The Australian practice includes more than 30 consultants across the country. Clients are able to take advantage of their extensive expertise, best practices and industry knowledge and these are skill sets that most companies are unlikely to justify hiring internally. In addition to industry expertise, consultants also have access to benchmark pricing data gathered from more than 14,000 successful cost-reduction projects and a proprietary suite of sophisticated RFP analytic tools.
One stop shop
MBE (Mail Boxes Etc) Business Service Centres is a global company with more than 1250 locations internationally and 40 Australia-wide. The centres offer a convenient service to small businesses and home offices; a large selection of professional business services consolidated at the one spot.
"Everyday, MBE is lending a helping hand to Australia’s 1.5 million small businesses with marketing collateral, graphic design, high end digital printing, mailboxes, delivery services and more," explains managing director Rhett Thurston.
"Business professionals save valuable time by visiting one convenient location where services and products can be charged to an approved thirty day account," he adds.
This franchise model provides franchisees with the ability to adapt their services so they can best utilise existing skills and meet the needs of the local area. Franchisees are encouraged to connect with the community and help business owners face the challenges of their day to day operations, providing innovative, cost effective solutions and personal service.
"The group consists of long standing franchisees that have been with MBE for over a decade," reveals Thurston. "Our systems are proven and we have over 10 years experience in digital print. We have a strong business ethic where we get the job done for our client, on time, ensuring our quality is of the highest standard," he says.
"The culture that has evolved in the MBE network is quite incredible, it's solid and something our franchise team is very proud of."
As technology and globalisation continues to race ahead, so does the SOHO (small office/home office) market, providing a fast growing need for professional, multi-service centres. MBE aims to provide small to medium sized businesses and individuals with a faster, more convenient way of meeting their business deadlines without compromising the quality. Thurston likes to think of the franchisees as the ultimate "solution providers" able to pull customers out of a bind when time lines are tight.