Franchise Opportunities Vs Business Opportunities: Pros and Cons

Congratulations!

So you’ve decided to be your own boss rather than work for someone else the rest of your life. Good for you! Many decisions will crop up before you make that first deposit or paste that first dollar bill on the wall next to your cash register. Choosing what sort of business you wish to operate is tops on the list – retail versus wholesale and service-related versus product-oriented – as well as the specific industry you plan to enter or the type of work you hope to do. But selecting between two major categories of self-employment is awfully high on that list – buying a business opportunity as opposed to a franchise opportunity.

What is a Franchise?

Many U.S. companies, especially those in the retail sector, provide goods and services through franchisees. If it’s a national brand, chances are good the owner of that particular establishment has purchased the right to operate it from the parent company. Fast-food restaurants are one major category, but the concept extends to everything from car repair shops and daycare centers to mobile veterinary clinics and home cleaning services. By paying an up-front fee, plus perhaps a percentage of your monthly gross revenue for ongoing licensure, you have the opportunity to become an independent operator with the full backing of a major corporation.

What is a Business Opportunity?

A business opportunity is far less structured than its franchise equivalent. You are given basic information about an industry and how to operate within it, but you’re under no obligation to promote a particular brand or to do business in a particular or controlled manner.

Franchise Opportunity Benefits

By purchasing a franchise, you gain immediate name recognition and credibility. No one questions the fact that Dairy Queen is a great place to buy soft-serve ice cream treats. Because the parent company is invested in making your business a success – they can’t collect that monthly payment or use you as a reference for new franchisees if you’re out of business – they provide both initial and ongoing training, regional or national ad campaigns, and well-tested business methods that are guaranteed to work. If the business requires a storefront, the company will usually help you find a good spot with lots of traffic, and perhaps even offer some sort of financing arrangement. Does the business require specific supplies or inventory? You will probably be offered significant discounts, since buying in bulk across the enterprise usually leads to lower prices for all.

The Downside to Franchise Opportunities

A legitimate franchisor will not allow you to buy into their system unless you pass a rigorous review process, which usually includes a careful analysis of your finances, your business experience, and your willingness to accept all their rules and regulations without question. Most franchise fees can run into the tens of thousands of dollars, plus you will have to spend additional money for equipment, supplies, and a location from which to operate – unless you are involved in a mobile business (which still probably requires a dedicated vehicle or two) or one you work from home. Some of your earnings every month will go toward a license fee, payable to the home office, and you may also be required to share some marketing expenses.

Business Opportunity Benefits

You will generally spend less money to acquire a business opportunity than you would a franchise opportunity. By definition alone, there is no upfront franchise fee, plus you usually keep all of your revenue rather than paying ongoing franchise or royalty fees. You are free to choose any business name you like, and even branch out into other areas as you see a need in the community. For example, if you purchased a hamburger fast-food franchise, you could only serve the items on the “approved” list. By buying a business opportunity, if you liked pies – well, you could sell whatever kind of pie you wished. You are also able to operate pretty much anywhere without fear of stepping on someone else’s toes. Franchises can have some very strict territorial guidelines.

The Downside to Business Opportunities

The acquisition of a business opportunity rarely gives you the option to use trademarks, brand names, or other elements readily identifiable to the buying public. The freedom you have to do things your own way also means your chances of success rest entirely in your ability to run a business. There is no home office support, no massive buying power for equipment, inventory or supplies, and no other business owners to consult when you’re faced with an issue that needs to be resolved. In a very real sense, you are on your own.

The Bottom Line

In many respects, deciding between a franchise and a business opportunity comes down to two main factors – how much money you have to spend, and what kind of a personality you possess. Rule-followers can become great franchisees, while people who like to go off in their own direction – maybe not so much. Be sure to weigh all the factors before you decide which is best for you.

Business Opportunity Leads – How to Generate Business Leads in a Cold Digital World

Before I started doing affiliate marketing online I was actually involved in a home based network marketing business. I learned a lot about this business and how valuable a solid lead can be in growing a business.

My problem was I always wanted to go on the internet to find my leads but the business itself exploded in a “warm market” environment.

Against my mentor’s recommendations I decided to try the online lead gathering approach anyway… and tried to build trust online so that I could eventually show people the real business plan and hopefully become partners with them.

After a few months of work online I was getting pretty decent at capturing online leads. I thought I really was on to something big. In fact, what I really learned was that my follow-up plan for converting my leads into my business was failing and most of my leads were not interested in joining me in an offline business endeavour.

What I began to realize was I was good at getting leads online but was having trouble converting them in a warm market business. I was able to convert them on other things which made me focus more on the affiliate side of things and I started to lose focus on my original business. This is because I was actually starting to see money come in from my online leads.

I no longer do network marketing, but I do believe it is an excellent business model, and in fact sometimes I think back and wonder if I made a mistake in leaving that offline business to start working online.

My mentor really taught me a lot about business and personal relationships, and I have starting using some of his philosophies when structuring my own online marketing campaigns in a way to stimulate long-term growth, and residual income.

So, with all that in mind, understand that I learned a whole lot from my online approach to capturing business opportunity leads.. and this post is going to explain some of the things I learned

Gathering Business Opportunity Leads Online – What I Learned

Gathering qualified leads online can be tricky, but many people find it a necessary step they must take. With your own list of leads you can continue to promote your own business opportunity, your own products, or continue to market affiliate products and offers to your list well into the future.

Business opportunities is one of the most competitive niches online. You can even narrow this niche down to “home business opportunities” which still gets millions of searches around the world every day. People searching for home business opportunities are very valuable leads for several reasons.

If you do a typical search for home business you will find hundreds or thousands of people advertising the next great opportunity, and millions or even billions of blogs around the globe pumping out daily content in this niche.

Many of these site owners have done nothing more than hire a graphic designer for a few hundred bucks to create a nice website and some of them even pay people to write their blog posts for them. These sites have one goal in mind and that is to capture you as a lead and then later convert you to a customer or business partner. Many of the sites and owners promise fancy cars, and warm days at the beach, and some of them will tell you they have the answer you need to gain financial freedom.

Does this sound familiar? It probably does…

The actual number of these types of sites has drastically expanded in the last 10 years. There are literally billions of them – which makes it extremely expensive to advertise in this niche, and very difficult to stand out above the rest.

So How Does One Generate Their Own Qualified Business Opportunity Leads Online?

There are many tactical methods for generating good business opportunity leads online, but it really depends on what type of business you want to build.

If you are looking to just collect emails and send people a bunch of affiliate based products related to making money then the above mentioned style of websites might be all you need, but of course you will be competing against millions of people doing the same thing.

If you are one of the many people who have come online to find qualified business opportunity leads to expand your own home based business then you are probably familiar with warm markets and cold markets.

For the purpose of this article warm market is people you know, which could be friends, relatives and existing customers, even referrals are said to be warm. “Cold market” refers to a sales person’s future or prospective customers.

You may have a lot of experience in converting a warm market but the internet is generally a cold market environment. This does not mean you cannot turn your online leads into warm leads. It just requires a different approach to online lead generation that goes against the traditional “squeeze page” or “sales page” & affiliate approach.

Below are some of the most important things you should include in your quest to build a large list of business opportunity leads, that you can convert into a warm market business.

Be The “Real” You Online

Your first step should be building a presence online that is the “real” you. That’s right. You have to come out from behind the curtain and actually post your real name and photo online.

Many people who start a home business will come online and try to keep their identity hidden because they don’t want their friends, current employers, or family to see they are doing this. This will NOT work for you if you want to build a relationship with your leads.

You must get over your fears and create your online profile.

To do this you should develop your own blog (WordPress is easiest), which can contain anything you want and can be business related. On this blog you can post your daily thoughts, business tips, quotes, information about yourself… etc. You will want your blog to link to all of the following.

  • A Twitter Account
  • A Facebook Profile
  • A Facebook Fan Page or Business Page
  • A Facebook Like Box on Your Blog (Very important for building trust – it shows how many people like you on Facebook.)
  • A Private Facebook Group
  • A Linkedin Profile
  • Facebook Comments – this is a cool way to link your blog to Facebook and every time someone comments on your post it goes on their Facebook news feed.

A Professional Lead Capture Approach

You will want to have a squeeze page or a form on your blog where people can actually enter their emails or contact details, or can contact you directly. You can set up a form on your blog to collect whatever information you want from your leads and even allow people to send you a message. the form is designed to prevent spam. This can be done on WordPress blogs by using a free plugin like WordPress Contact 7.

You can also encourage them to join your email list for exclusive updates, industry news, events, or a free ebook. This can be easily done using a service like Aweber which stores email addresses for you and costs about $20 a month.

Whatever you think your readers would find valuable you can offer to them as an incentive to join your list. Aweber will store all your emails in a safe place and allow you to send emails easily and automatically if you wish.

You might want to steer clear of looking too promotional on your lead capture page and in your messaging. Avoid typical marketing images showing material possessions, and over use of exclamation points. You really need to separate yourself and look professional here in order to keep this people from clicking on the “back” button before they even subscribe.

Most people who are joining your list will be people you have met online or in person and you have already told them to visit your blog. These people will also be referred by friends and family, so you probably don’t want to look like a “shady” salesperson.

Become Involved

To build a following that will trust you, you need to be interactive online. This means you need to update your blog regularly and update your twitter, your Facebook etc. You need to build a following and show them you are the real deal, and you are available to talk at any time. If your leads believe you are there and available, they will be more likely to convert.

Save Time With Syndication

You can update all of your online accounts automatically just by setting your blog up to syndicate the content to other places. If you build your blog in a way that facilitates automatic publication onto social media outlets then you can save a ton of time. For example, you can install the auto tweet plugin so that all your new blog posts are automatically tweeted to all your followers. The same goes for Facebook Page Publish plugin.

Make sure that at the bottom of all your posts you remind people to join your email list or fill in your contact form! People will follow your instructions – all you have to do is tell them. You will want to give them an incentive to do so.

You can also syndicate your content to other popular blogs and websites in your industry if they exist. All you need to do is content the site owners and ask them if they wish to post your content. Many of them will if you have a solid reputation and this will generate traffic to your site.

Generate Traffic

There are several ways you can generate traffic to your site. Paid traffic is the fastest form of traffic online. Facebook allows you to buy traffic and target specific interests and hobbies. It can be effective, but very expensive.

If you are going to pay for traffic you need to calculate your cost per acquisition or CPA and you need to know the value of 1 lead to your business. This will determine whether it is worth the investment in buying traffic.

You also have to have an end goal in mind on how you are going to get the paid clicks to convert into an email lead and how you will then convert that email lead into an actual business partner. This is the most difficult part of the process for most people.

What is the Cost Per acquisition?

In my experience online using squeeze pages, for every 100 clicks you buy you should convert at least 30 – 40% or more into email leads. So if you pay 40 cents per click it will cost you $40 for 40 leads. ($1 per lead)

I found with a few tweaks and some cheaper traffic I could acquire email leads for 0.50 cents or less.

You could also pay-per-click on places like Bing Ads or Google Adwords which may be a bit cheaper than Facebook.

Once you become more involved and post more blog content you will start seeing a trickle of free traffic. Another trick is to build a viral video or viral content that will be shared among people on social media sites. Make sure it is linked back to your site.

Every time you post new content you should also be sending it to all your other social media accounts and your subscribers. You will find that as you gather more and more leads and continue to build more solid content on your blog that your traffic will increase exponentially since many of your existing leads will share your content through Facebook and Twitter.

You can also set up new business cards with your blog address, and do some offline promotion including radio ads, flyers, classifieds etc.

Email or Contact Follow Up

How you follow-up with your leads is the most important part of all your efforts.

Business opportunity leads generally convert better if you “warm” them up first. So you should treat the people you meet online the same as you would treat people in person, or even your friends and family. Steer clear from lengthy automated email follow ups and salesy tactics. You need to build trust and give them what they are looking for.

A couple automated welcome messages may be OK, but you really should try to eventually get these leads on the phone or use a tool like Skype which allows you to have a face to face conversation with someone.

If you have a pre-formatted presentation or “plan” you need to show them, you should not do this on auto pilot – (for example with automated emails).

You should call them and arrange a meeting time and have them watch the plan or presentation. Then follow-up immediately by phone or Skype. Be prepared to sign them up or have them purchase your product at that point. This will drastically improve your conversion rates for your business opportunity leads that you collect online.

Affiliate Approach

If you are an affiliate looking to make money from your leads, then an automated follow-up sequence on Aweber may work better for you. There are several legitimate business opportunities that have affiliate programs and convert well with this type of marketing approach.

Regardless of how you want to build your business in this niche, you are definitely at a huge advantage if you collect your own business opportunity leads first before giving them to other companies.

Hopefully this article will help you separate yourself from the rest and build a strong team of qualified business opportunity leads from the internet.

Emerging Technology Trends and Business Opportunities for Solution/Service Providers

The business landscape is changing due to rapid technology changes. Innovation, technology and product life cycles are getting shortened; business use cases and application scenarios are changing swiftly due to globalization and technology integration. Organizations need to be flexible to quickly adapt to these emerging trends and be nimble to respond to changing market dynamics.

Emerging technology trends such as Software Defined everything, Object Storage, Flash, Cloud, Converged Infrastructure, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), Internet of Things, Big Data analytics etc. are becoming more and more relevant with the emergence of multiple data streams. These innovative trends are transformational and are likely to shape the future.

Trends and Opportunities:

1. Software defined everything

Software defined everything will result in true interoperability standards, forcing individual technology suppliers to abandon working in silos with proprietary standards. Service providers can only offer value if they have the capability to offer all the constituents of computing, storage and network.

Some of the opportunities for solution/service providers include:

• Software Defined Storage (SDS)
• Supporting software defined storage applications from leading storage vendors
• Support these SDS products to extend them to other platforms and make them feature rich, enable integration with other ecosystems etc.
• Building test strategy, tools and frameworks and various types of testing opportunities
• Software Defined Networking (SDN)
• Network orchestration and automation, manage and implement SDN in enterprise data center
• Professional services such as Network Function Virtualization (NFV) implementation consulting or SDN and NFV testing for telecom vendors

2. Flash

Flash technology will definitely show an uptick in the 3-5 year horizon. One has to stay invested in terms of money, time. There may not be much of immediate progress in Flash adoption by enterprises due to the prohibitive cost, stable legacy set up, evolving enterprise features. Hence, most enterprises are still in the experimental phase, but there are lots of business opportunities.

The below trends represent some of the opportunities for solution/service providers:

• Most flash players are start-ups and would like to keep core work in-house and outsource peripheral activities
• Immense product engineering opportunities will lie with the big industry players in the form of testing wherein they plan to move products from existing legacy to all flash based platforms
• Flash storage OEMs are consuming PCIe based cards, AHCI and NVMe interface and most of these solutions are targeted towards cloud service providers

3. Object storage

Enterprises are inspired by the Internet companies’ adoption of object storage. Demand for object storage is driven by big data challenges of storing and analyzing a huge amount of data to provide value to the business.

Factors driving growth of object storage

• amassed unstructured data
• ease of accessibility via HTTP and SMTP protocols and REST APIs
• growing trend of organizations building their private or hybrid clouds
• software-defined storage (SDS) approach

Some of the opportunities for solution/service providers include:

• Ongoing integration of newer versions of OpenStack swift with existing storage products
• Mergers and acquisitions happening in the object storage industry, which will result into new product acquisitions by large storage vendors. This opens up product integration opportunities for service providers

4. OpenStack

OpenStack is moving beyond the early adoption as more and more enterprises and service providers are moving towards its adoption. Telecom space will drive growth for OpenStack. Openstack is the main driver for NFV thus helping it to become a reality.

Some opportunities for solution/service providers include:

• Provide storage vendors to enable their storage for OpenStack
• Help enterprises setup their OpenStack cloud, offer professional services
• Large storage vendors are building platforms with OpenStack using proprietary underlying infrastructure. It opens up integration and automation opportunities

5. Server SAN

Server SAN is poised to disrupt traditional storage architectures over the next decade. It involves sharing and distributing storage across multiple nodes. It is an architecture that turns multiple direct-attached storage (DAS) devices into a pool of shared resources via a high-speed interconnection such as InfiniBand or Low-latency Ethernet.

Some of the Server SAN solutions include EMC ScaleIO, VMware’s VSAN, and Quantum StorNext. One needs to follow this trend and see which of the existing solution gains momentum and is likely to emerge as a front runner.

6. BYOD

Businesses are implementing BYOD to save costs on software and hardware or to address the expectations of their mobile workforce. Provisioning of all of these devices is a Herculean task.

Some of the opportunities for solution and service providers include:

• Solution accelerators and automation frameworks in area of desktop virtualization, image management, Content collaboration and Bring Your Own PC solutions
• In mobile cloud era, the user is increasingly beginning to rely on endpoints, devices with very limited processing power, smaller screens, maybe no keyboard which makes manageability an area to explore.

7. Hyper/Converged Infrastructure

Massive improvements in processing power are driving converged infrastructure trend and reason for quicker adoption of it by data centers. All major infrastructure providers are moving towards the converged space. Many industry players are competing for significant market share in converged infrastructure space to uproot legacy installed base or protect own share of the market pie. It includes majors such as HP, EMC, IBM, Cisco, Dell, Microsoft, Intel, VMware, VCE and start-ups like Scale Computing, SimpliVity and Nutanix.

There are two trends emerging:

• Hyper-converged Infrastructure – One vendor builds an entire infrastructure by taking all the various pieces that make up a traditional infrastructure in the market today and put it in a box. It is entirely seamless.

• Converged infrastructure – Vendor takes the fundamental pieces of storage, network, compute and server virtualization, possibly from different companies, perhaps put a management layer on top of it to make the deployment and the management of those pieces easier and make them operate as a whole.

Opportunities for solution/service providers are in the area of consulting, design, implementation, and management services related to private and hybrid cloud deployments.

8. Internet of Things (IoT)

Other related terms for IoT used by industry giants are Industrial Internet by GE, Internet of Everything (IoE) by Cisco, and Smart Planet by IBM.

IoT is being driven by a huge increase in data volumes collected from various types of sensors deployed by business, and business benefits provided by the analysis of sensor data.

9. Big Data Analytics

There will be competition to develop optimized cloud platforms which can leverage real-time data streams and/or massive data as enterprises look for varied data sources as well as applications that help them to get insightful information about the markets, customers, and products.

Opportunity for solution/service providers to offer Big Data implementation and analytics outsourcing services is huge. Some of the opportunities include:

• Professional services related to big data like data migration among platforms, maintenance etc.
• Opportunities such as Big Data technology implementation, including data collection, integration and designing of Big Data architecture etc.
• Log and sensor analytics are also gaining traction as very insightful information can be drawn using them. It opens up opportunity for data science specialists.

10. Cloud Computing

Cloud promises a growth on every front be it IaaS, SaaS, PaaS or customized security.

Businesses are adopting a cloud-based infrastructure due to the upsurge of Hybrid cloud architectures which include an amalgamation of private and public clouds

Platform as a Service (PaaS) solutions allows businesses to lower IT costs. It speeds up application development through more efficient testing and deployment.

Security policies need renewed attention with cloud-based applications are growing and taking over businesses. Hence there is increased demand for security solutions to bring new exemplars of security to the cloud.

Some of the opportunity areas for solution/service providers can be:

• PaaS enablement services, application re-engineering and migration services, assessment, advisory services etc.
• Consulting services requiring strategic direction and guidance in a broad range of areas which will help organizations to migrate critical systems and infrastructure to the cloud

The pace at which technology is driving the change is phenomenal. It is inspiring new business strategies across industries. Organizations are embracing technology to draw meaningful insights from their operations and leveraging it to explore growth and revenue opportunities.

The trend is turning into a demanding environment where companies are seeking more returns from their technology investments. This represents a unique opportunity for solution/service providers wherein they can help companies maximize their return on investment through their offerings.

In summary, solution/service providers must adapt to these emerging technologies and quickly grab immense business opportunities emerging out of it.