The franchising industry is the doorway to a world of opportunity. Thousands of franchises offer countless concepts, all with varying startup costs. And while many require a storefront and overhead expenses, a large number of them – ranging from pest control to dance fitness lessons to deck and lighting companies and repair services – can be operated right from home. Home-based franchises are becoming viable options for business ownership, enabling many new franchisors to grow their businesses more effectively Franchise Finder Find the right franchise for you! Explore our directory of over 800 franchise opportunties.

The popularity of home-based businesses has been growing for a while now. Home-based entrepreneurship has become so common, in fact, that those running businesses from home have earned their own title, “homepreneurs,” and have become significant pillars in the economy. According to a recent survey conducted by Small Business Success Index and analyzed by Emergent Research, there are currently about 6.6 million home businesses nationwide that generate at least 50 percent of the owner’s household income. These businesses employ over 13 million people; 35 percent of them generate more than $125,000 in revenue, and 8 percent generate more than $500,000.

So what’s driving this trend? There are many factors, one of which is the struggling economy. “Home-based franchising is alive and well and, in this down economy, thriving,” explains Harold Kestenbaum, a franchise attorney who has worked with more than 100 franchise concepts. “More franchise companies have gone to the home-based model, when possible, since the tightness of the credit market has made selling the big-box franchises very difficult. The home-based model opens up the opportunities for prospects with lower budgets, which is a good thing.”

Additionally, as technology becomes more sophisticated, it’s easier than ever to operate a business from home and still portray a professional image. “As technology continues to offer more and more communications abilities, such as Web conferencing and seamless communication systems, home-based franchising will continue to be a viable option for many companies looking for qualified buyers and for buyers who wish to have the flexibility of working at a home base,” says Alisa Harrison, Vice President of Communications and Marketing at the International Franchise Association.

Finally, the once somewhat negative stigma associated with working from home is dissipating as the entire image of the traditional workplace is undergoing a metamorphosis. According to data released in January from the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of people who worked at home increased from about 9.5 million in 1999 to about 11.3 million in 2005. Furthermore, nearly half of these home-based workers had college degrees, and nearly half of them earned $75,000 a year or more. As the whole concept of working from home becomes more common, so does the idea of running a franchise from home.

The flexibility and freedom of running a business from home helps franchisees realize their dream of starting a business, but it also enables franchisors to introduce new concepts and grow their businesses. With home-based franchising becoming more widespread, those searching for a franchise may not have to roam too far from home to find – and start – a business of their own. (Sara Wilson)

Getting customers to plunk down cash or credit cards remains a painfully slow process in this struggling economy. And that’s precisely why it’s important–and always will be–to lure potential buyers with promotions. In fact, coming up with attractive promotions has become a bigger deal than ever.

When done correctly, promotions get customers out of a holding pattern by giving them an incentive to take action before a limited-time offer expires.

1. Target your effort
Promotions can spur purchases by established customers, reel in new customers, draw customers from competitors, get current customers to buy differently, and stimulate business during slow periods. But rarely can one promotion accomplish all of those objectives at once. As a result, you must decide which of the following is most important so that you can target your effort:

  • Do you want customers to purchase more frequently, buy in greater volume, or   be attracted to new or different offerings?
  • Do you want to lure new customers into your business?
  • Do you want lapsed customers to give your business another try?
  • Do you want to boost business during slow hours, weekdays or particular seasons?

After carefully and thoughtfully defining the audience and the change you want your promotion to inspire, ask yourself this question: If you offer a time-limited incentive, is it likely that the customers you’ve targeted will respond? If so, continue to the next step.

2. Plan your incentive
A well-thought-out, properly targeted promotion prompts customers to take action by offering one of these incentives:

  • Price savings, including discounts, coupons or added value offers
  • Samples or trial offers to provide a low-risk way to try new products or services
  • Events or experiences to generate crowds, enthusiasm, sales, publicity

As you decide on your incentive, keep these facts in mind:

Price offers must be strong enough to compel, but reasonable enough to keep your business out of red ink.

Coupons always make a comeback in penny-pincher markets, which means they’re hugely popular these days. Even young consumers and affluent shoppers–groups that traditionally shun coupons–are using them, boosting the typical 1 to 2 percent redemption rate by nearly 20 percent.

Samples work in all lines of business to let customers try before buying. The key is to sample products that are so great they’ll win raves and repeat business.

  • Online-based businesses need to promote free samples prominently in an effort to attract links, visitors, site registrations and publicity.
  • Retailers can turn sampling into promotional events. Think of Costco on weekends.
  • Service businesses would do well to give away mini versions of their offerings. For example, five-minute shoulder massages or one-hour home decorating consultations.

Events and experiences draw customers for celebrations, product launches, special appearances or presentations, and other activities that combine entertainment with brand and product presentations.

3. Know what you want to achieve
Promotions work especially well when consumers are in need of a jolt to take buying action. Just be clear about what you want to achieve.

By knowing the potential bottom-line impact of your promotion, you’ll have the information you need to allocate a promotion budget, dedicate staff time and invest the energy necessary to host a strong promotion that will deliver business-boosting results over the time period it covers.

Typically with most franchise concepts, such as Outdoor Living Brands, the marketing and branding support to create these types of promotions is at your fingertips

“Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there” is a quote I heard years ago.  There is a lot of truth in this little saying, and it applies to business and to life!

I talk to people all of the time who fall into complacency by just sitting still where they are content with whatever is happening to them,   not budging to improve or move forward.  Hey, I have caught myself doing the same thing from time to time and when I do, it scares the heck out of me!  I also know it is true that there is no such thing as really staying still.  You  are either moving forward or we are moving backward, staying still is just an illusion.  And, especially in business with changes occurring at record speed all around us… every business owner must consistently be getting better and better at his/her craft or indeed, someone will eventually run right over them.

I applaud people who decide to invest in their very own track by owning their own business.  They got off the track of the corporate world in order to pursue their own dreams.  This is a choice that took courage and also a choice that has many rewards that impact financial and personal goals.

People who choose a business format franchise have a great advantage.  Franchising is about being in  business for yourself but not by yourself, there is always a support team working on behalf of the entire system to improve best practices and to keep the brand fresh, alive, and moving forward.  The synergy of a great franchise system also serves you well because you are motivated by the energy of your franchisor and by fellow franchisees to stay on top of your game.

Great brands like Archadeck, Outdoor Lighting Perspectives, and Mosquito Squad never rest on their laurels.  These systems are passionate about their drive to excel and in building for an even better tomorrow!  If you are fortunate enough to be involved with them, congratulations!  If you are looking for a fabulous franchise opportunity, I highly advise you to consider an Outdoor Living Brands concept.

The US Conference of Mayors held its first meeting in January to discuss the impact of franchises on economic growths, as reported by the IFA.

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Recent data has shown that the franchising industry is ahead of many other sectors in terms of creating new businesses, new jobs, and more economic output, even in a recession. In fact, during the 2000 and 2001 economic downturn, franchise businesses grew 40% compared to the 26% growth for other business sectors, and jobs grew 12.5% compared to 3.5%.

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To start your own franchise business, take a look at the Outdoor Living Brands website. There are 3 options to choose from, all with detailed business plans. Clearly, there is no better time than now to get into franchising.

Daphne Garland-McLean reports in Casual Living Magazine that consumer spending on outdoor dining sets will top $1.8 billion by the year 2013 (projections by Easy Analytic Software Inc.). Based on the $1.6 billion spent last year in 2008, the forecasted 12.9% increase is great news for the outdoor living franchise businesses of Outdoor Living Brands.

After all, these new outdoor dining sets surely deserve a special outdoor living environment to be placed on, like a custom outdoor living space designed by Archadeck, North America’s deck and porch builder, who also specializes in sunrooms, outdoor kitchens and outdoor living rooms – on the web at Archadeck.com. By phone at 888-OUR-DECK.

And for the finest al fresco dining from twilight onward, custom outdoor lighting designs from the outdoor lights experts at Outdoor Lighting Perspectives would be a beautiful accompaniment. Handcrafted from recycled copper and brass right here in the United States, their exclusive low-voltage, eco-friendly outdoor lights focus on illuminating dark exteriors with warm washes of golden, ambient light. In fact, for Outdoor Lighting Perspectives clients who are currently beautifying and protecting the exterior front façades of their homes and wish to add more outdoor lights to the outdoor living spaces surrounding the home and in their backyard, they can enjoy a 50% discount off one outdoor light fixture when adding five new fixtures or more during the month of June 2009 – on the web at OutdoorLights.com. By phone at 800-447-1112.

And with this increase in outdoor dining and entertaining, savvy consumers will also want to ensure that their outdoor living spaces remain well protected from the nuisance and dangers of biting insects with Mosquito Squad. Mosquito Squad’s barrier spray will fog your exterior every 21 days to make sure it stays pest free. Mosquito Squad can be found online at MosquitoSquad.com, or by phone at 877-MOSQUAD.

According to Casual Living, “The West, which captures 22% of all outdoor dining set sales in the nation, is expected to be the fastest-growing region for outdoor dining sets. The West is expected to grow 15.4% in sales from $360 million in 2008 to $410 million in 2013. The South, which encompasses 37% of all U.S. outdoor dining set sales, is estimating a 14.7% sales increase over the next five years. While lagging behind the West and South in outdoor dining set sales, the Northeast and Midwest are still expected to have growth of 10% and 9.9%, respectively, by the year 2013.”

Despite the sluggish economy, most consumers are engaging in some form of outdoor entertaining, with an average frequency of about four times per year. While monitoring their spending, many have found it acceptable to invest a portion of their savings in select household items and that includes outdoor entertaining. According to a recent report, Outdoor Entertaining Trends 2008: Consumers Bring the Indoors Out, from The NPD Group, Inc., a leading market research company, roughly 45 percent of outdoor entertainers purchased some type of related product in the past 12 months.

In addition, more than 40 percent of outdoor entertainers tell NPD they plan to purchase/add an item to their property in the next 12 months. Firepits/outdoor fireplaces, outdoor lighting, and water fountain/décor were among the top products outdoor entertainers said they plan to purchase within the next year.

In addition to products for entertaining, people have also considered what other factors go into home entertainment and outdoor living, such as Mosquito & Tick Control. What ever the need is, when it comes to outdoor living, there is typically a professional that can handle it from the Outdoor Living Brands group of companies.

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Every time I see a new iPhone commercial on TV…”there’s an app for that”… I can’t help but think that maybe we at Outdoor Living Brands should develop an Apple iPhone app that educates prospective clients about our outdoor living home services, such as who we are and what we do: Archadeck, North America’s largest deck and porch builder franchise; Mosquito Squad, America’s mosquito and tick exterminator franchise and Outdoor Lighting Perspectives, America’s largest landscape lighting and architectural lighting company for both home and business.

For example, based on certain criteria featured on an Apple iPhone touch screen, you could view a beautiful photo gallery of all kinds of outdoor living environments, from outdoor kitchens and outdoor living rooms to decks, patios, screened porches, sunrooms, spas, gazebos and pergolas. Then once you find an outdoor space you find interesting, you would be able to schedule a free, no-obligation design consultation in your home, with one touch of your iPhone screen, as its built-in GPS functionality knows where you are and would know which nearby design consultant to connect you to.

Another use of the Apple iPhone app could be to schedule an outdoor lighting free design consultation at twilight, so you could see for yourself how safe, beautiful and secure your home can look each night with our eco-friendly low-voltage exterior lighting. After viewing yet another photo gallery showing examples of illuminated house exteriors, landscapes, gardens, path ways, patios, decks and poolside areas, with one touch of your Apple iPhone screen, you could arrange for your free nighttime illumination demonstration.

And for homeowners plagued by problematic and dangerous mosquitoes and ticks, imagine an app for that. With one touch of your Apple iPhone screen, you could schedule and pay for your Mosquito Squad barrier spray, to effectively and dependably protect your outdoor living spaces for 21 days.

So, take a moment to think it over and please post would your feedback on this idea. It would be greatly appreciated.