Franchise Opportunities – Industry Outlook 2012 and Beyond [infographic]

Strategy Plan One

July 3, 2012

Franchise Opportunities – Outlook in US

As citing in recent blogs on economic indicators, the franchise business industry appears to be shaping up well for 2012.  The past couple years have shown favorable growth trends, which may continue.  The International Franchise Association (IFA) has produced an infographic, chalked full of franchise economic tidbits of information.

Some franchise opportunities and economic estimates for 2012 and beyond:

  • 5.3% output increase
  • 5.0% increase in GDP
  • 2.2% employment growth in the franchise industry
  • 1.7% increase in the number of franchised establishments

Franchise Business industries that will see the greatest gains:

  • Fast food: $203 Billion in revenue and over 3 Million jobs
  • Business services: $145 Billion in revenue and almost 1 Million in employment
  • Personal services: $87 Billion revenue projected and 650,000 in jobs 

franchise opportunities

Source: IFA , IHS

Ensure you thoroughly research and investigate your potential business ventures, including franchise opportunities.  If you choose well, franchises can be turn-key operations, with immediate revenue streams and ample business support structures.  Although franchises can range in capital requirements, some provide adequate assistance with financing linkages.

Read More on Franchise Opportunities:

Other articles, blogs and infographics on Retail and Franchises:

Strategy Plan One

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© 2012 Strategy Plan One

Mother’s Day 2012 – Retail Projections Looking Marvellous

Strategy Plan One

May 1, 2012 

Mother’s Day 2012

Are you an entrepreneur in retail and considering sales and marketing opportunities around Mother’s Day?  The National Retail Federation (NRF) has posted statistics and projections for Mother’s Day 2012.  Similar to the patterns of other calendar events in 2012 like St. Valentine’s Day, Patrick’s Day, and Easter, the upward, projected trend is welcoming.

Mother’s Day 2012 – NRF Survey

According to the NRF survey, retail spending is projected to increase 8.4% over 2011 Mother’s Day spending, with total spending for 2012 expected to reach a whopping $18.6 Billion.  The survey data suggests that the average spending per person buying Mother’s Day gifts is now estimated to be over $152.

The following graph, courtesy of NRF, illustrates a favourable, turn-around trend over the past 5 years, with stabilization occurring in 2009-2010, following by significant spending increases in 2011 and 2012.  Let’s hope this trend continues.

  Mother's Day 2012

To make Mom feel the best on her day, here’s the top of the spending list:

  • $3.4 Billion on a brunch or dinner for Mom (54.3% of celebrators)
  • $2.2 Billion on flowers (66.4% of shoppers)
  • $1.8 Billion on gift cards
  • $1.6 Billion on clothing and accessories
  • $1.6 Billion on electronics, tablets, digital cameras (12.7%), and
  • $1.3 Billion in spa treatments and personal services (Ahhh for Moms!)

From the tech perspective, almost 40% of potential shoppers surveyed will scan their mobile devices and tablets for the deal of all deals for Mother’s Day.  About 24% of tablet owners will use their devices for Mother’s Day purchases.  App developers should pay close attention to the increasing trend of utilizing apps in devices to research and purchase products; 12% of device owners will be utilizing apps in this NRF survey, conducted by BigInsight.

Retail Industry – Indicators

As previously reported, the retail and food industry indicators in March showed marked improvements upward.  The US Census Bureau stated a 6.5% increase in retail revenue over March 2011.

retail industry

The projected trends overall in the retail sector and around calendar events for 2012 are very consistent in the 5-8% increase range.  As an entrepreneur and business owner in the retail sector, tune in and analyze some of these trends in the retail industry.

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Green Businesses – Ideas for the Green Entrepreneur

Strategy Plan One

April 22, 2012 

green businesses Green Business

Earth Day sparks the green thoughts in everyone, including the eager entrepreneurs ready to jump on green business opportunities.  Green practices, policies, are trending upwards, and if you are in the right green realm as an entrepreneur, you may be able to take advantage and start or expand your business in the environmentally friendly direction.

Eco-friendly, green strategies and practices are good for the environment and are also good for business as it helps build solid positive relationships with customers who will make a connection with the green conscious business.  The green environmental sector is big business, with 2011 revenue estimates at nearly $330 Billion.

Here are some ideas of green businesses for entrepreneurial consideration:

Green businesses – Eco-Friendly Products

Green Retailing is big business in the US, accounting for billions in revenue.  Entrepreneurs jump on the opportunity of providing products that don’t have an impact on the environment, don’t contain harmful chemicals, or products that are available with eco-friendly packaging.  Organic products, falling under this business category, include some opportunities such as organic produce retailers, cosmetics and specialty garden products.  According to some reports, customers are willing to spend an estimated 20% premium on organic products.

Green Marketing Agencies

Getting the message out about your green practices, polices, procedures and products helps your business resonate with the consumer base that is trending green.  The segment of the consumer market that is eco-friendly will make a connection with your company, and thus a customer relationship will be made.  Marketing professionals can specialize in this area of green marketing, helping companies develop and implement strategies for positioning their green products and services.

Green Businesses – Environmental Engineering

Environmental engineering is the profession that provides science and engineering services to improve the natural environment.  Services include consulting, development and planning, and mitigation of projects that may have an impact on the environment.  In many jurisdictions, it is required to complete environmental screenings or assessments, and that’s where the environmental engineers come in.  Government agencies and the private sector seek environmental engineering firms to help meet environmental regulations and standards.

green businesses Eco-Efficiency Consultants

Eco-efficiency professionals specialize in finding, developing and helping your business implement environmentally friendly practices.  These consultants dig into your operations and analyze aspects such as energy consumption, product use, and practices.

The specialists would ultimately provide your business with a set of recommendations to reduce waste, reduce cost and move to more environmentally friendly practises in your business.

Research and Development Companies

Businesses that currently develop and provide consumer products often branch out to undertake research and development of better, more eco-friendly and efficient products.  Such is the case with light bulb manufacturers, with the development of compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs and newer light emitting diode (LED) bulbs.   Whether it’s an existing corporation or a newly funded start-up, there is plenty of opportunity in the environmentally friendly, product development realm.

Green Businesses Recycling and Recovery Companies

The consumer turn-over of products is amazing, such as the electronics industry where some products are replaced every one to two years.  Companies specializing in recycling and recovering metals and plastics and other materials from discarded consumer products are well poised to take advantage.  Valuable metals and materials can be recovered from the more than 200 million mobile devices that are discarded every year in the US.  For instance gold, silver, palladium and sometimes platinum can be recovered from computer boards.  At the current metal prices, some other these recovery business opportunities would be worth investigating.

 

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© 2012 Strategy Plan One

Franchise Statistics and Opportunities in the US Favorable [infographic]

Strategy Plan One

April 8, 2012 

Franchise Statistics

Franchised opportunities are brilliant options for entrepreneurs who want to invest in a turn-key operation, join and enjoy the fruits of a recognized brand, and experience a whole support team behind the venture.  Franchises are big business and account for close to 800,000 business establishments in the US alone.  Everywhere you turn in your community, in your town or city, you will encounter a franchised opportunity, offering you products and services.

McDonald’s, Subway, Pizza Hut, Pearle Vision, Hampton Inn & Suites, 7-11, and H&R Block franchises hammer the consumer with multiple locations and big advertising campaigns to ensure our brains are wired into recognized brands, wherever we go.  Some of these factors make it very challenging for entrepreneurs to enter the markets with their own individual start-up brands.

Franchise Statistics – Infographic

MGD Marketing has developed and distributed this infographic on franchise statistics and outlook in the US.  Here are some key points from most recent year of statistics (2011):

  • $1.3 Trillion in Sales across all franchises (2007 US Census Bureau) 
  • Over 784,000 establishments
  • 7.8 Million employees; growth in number of employees 3 years straight
  • Output:  $740 Billion
  • Number of Lodging franchises experiencing the highest growth 2010-2011
  • Both Franchisors and Franchisees experience similar challenges with access to credit, same-store sales, and competition

Franchise statistics

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© 2012 Strategy Plan One

Kiva Systems and the New Robot World Order

Strategy Plan One

April 7, 2012 

Kiva Systems Kiva Systems Robots

It has been fascinating to see the recent buzz around Kiva Systems robots controlling and working the floor spaces of warehouses.

 

According to some current reports, the Kiva Systems alone is now being used in up to two dozen larger corporation warehouses, including Amazon and Staples.

So impressed, Amazon acquired the 9 year old Kiva Systems company for $775 Million.  It is sure to have a positive, efficiency impact on Amazon, a company that spends $4.6 Billion on warehouse operations.  Considered to be expensive capital costs to start, but in the long-term, will save companies money with efficiencies created.  Check out this informative YouTube video of Kiva Systems at work.

kiva systemsAutomation Impacts

If this initiates the reoccurring trend and debate around automation, what does this mean in a country that is dying for an absolute job turnaround?  The criticism of automation using machines, robots, and electronics is that those methods directly impact labor jobs, resulting in job loss, people loss.

However, in start-up operations with automation implemented right away there will be no pain of job loss or reduction.  In some cases, businesses may establish a new arm or warehouse in an expansion project to run a pilot project of automation.

Kiva Systems Automation Success

Recently acquired by Amazon, the Kiva Systems Company is doing well, with reports of triple figure growth and profitable figures.  More corporations are jumping on board seeing the value and reliability of modern automation.  Initial kinks have been straightened out and it has been reported that Kiva systems are operating in a flawless manner.

It is interesting to watch videos, demonstrating the efficiency and power of these little orange Kiva robots moving about the warehouse, sliding under a customized skid, lifting and following a programmed route on the floor full of sensors.  You could imagine the programming behind such as a system is complicated, but obviously achievable from an operational perspective.  Within the programming there must be many logic functions to almost allow these robots to alter or find best routes from A to B when traffic gets congested, as seen in some of these videos.

Human Labour

Human power is still evident in these automated warehouses, at stations loading and unloading these skid towers and scanning products before the Kiva robot takes off again.  Obviously there are probably backup plans of a labour force filling in for Kiva robots when the system is “down”.  How often have we all experienced system or computer failures?  There will always be a requirement for a well-trained labor force behind maintaining these robots, building them and developing coding and programming.

Cost Benefit Analysis

On the simple cost-benefit analysis side of things, if the capital and operating costs of automated, innovative processes and assets are less than the cost of non-automated, labour process over a defined period of time, then your organization could experience greater profitability and decreased issues around human resources.

Millions of dollars must be spent acquiring a system such as the Kiva system.  These corporations would undertake their own due diligence, such as a cost-benefit analysis on an automated system vs. conventional warehouse system full of employees driving skid steerer and forklift machines.  Based on many assumptions, savings could be realized even with a Kiva Systems basic scenario implemented. 

Kiva Systems Possible Limitations

Evident in the demonstration videos is the fact that warehouse space (height) is not being used to full capacity with Kiva Systems in place.  In the conventional warehouse system, pallets of products are stacked 30-40 feet high in warehouse shelving frames.  There appears to be limitations in volume with the Kiva robots lifting and moving the customized pallets that are 6-8 feet in height, and in terms of dimensions of the pallet, a 3 by 3 footprint.  With a system like this, warehouse space and volume can be planned effectively with respect to capabilities of this system.

As previously mentioned, automated, computerized systems sometimes experience glitches.  Power outages, coding and programming flaws, electronic interference, physical obstructions, logic flaws and an underestimation of operational issues come to mind when brainstorming the potential issues that could arise.   However, the corporation is probably well prepared with fixes and contingencies for everything.  Build into the program, the system does appear to monitor power levels and automatically schedules charging.

Kiva Systems Opportunities

If the Kiva Systems automated world continues to build, opportunities in other areas could emerge, such as a team of robots to:

  • Carry out office work
  • Automate the front counter at a fast food restaurant
  • Sort and file books at libraries
  • Fully automate beauty salon duties, with programmed robots completing hair and body packages

If these examples above come to fruition, this would now look like a scene of the Disney movie WALL-E.  For sure WALL-E would feel comfortable and at home within a Kiva Systems environment.  It has been interesting to read and see the new buzz around this system.  What will be more interesting in the future to observe will be the impacts and the adjustments made to the human labor force, in the development of more value-added jobs around systems like the Kiva Systems model.

Strategy Plan One

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© 2012 Strategy Plan One

Social, Mobile, Cloud Gaming – Trends in the Video Game Industry

Strategy Plan One

April 3, 2012 

 

video game industryVideo Game Industry

Social media, online, streaming, and new platforms are all factors that play into the rapidly changing video game industry.  Many video game industry strategies are continuing to build on trends around social media sites, development of new tablet, mobile, handheld and console devices, and faster streamlining internet connections.

 

 

Posed to be a $65-80 Billion industry per year in 2012 and 2013, the emphasis in the video game industry continues on developing apps and games for mobile devices, while still not losing focus on console gaming with PS4 and Xbox 720 slated to début late 2013 or early in 2014.

 

Social Gaming

Building off the social gaming successes of companies like Zynga and Playfish, developers will continue to tie into the building user base of social media sites, now well over 1 Billion users.  However, users and developers are aligning for a far richer, deeper social gaming experience.

 

Last December, Zynga approached a $1 Billion valuation based on valuation tied to the hundreds of millions of social media users who flocked to their “free” games.  Zynga is one of those companies that speculated around revenue generation of a massive base of users.  Solid revenue generating models are developed once companies reach this stage to give assurances to investors.  In most social gaming sites, significant revenues are generated from advertising, rather than pay per use for gaming, and those models will be changing.

 

Offering More Free Access / Micro Payment Models

The movement is not away from free access, but more towards more free.  The objective of many online entertainment gaming companies is to accumulate as many users as possible, and thus, valuation of these sites increase.

 

Revenue models from gaming companies now include “pay by extra-feature”, or added features by subscription.  These tactics, sometimes referred to as “micro-payment” models tap into a user market willing to pay a very low monthly fee for gaming access.

 

Valuation of website inclines with the number of unpaid or paid subscribers.  The economic and business value of high volumes of potential consumers is prized by investors.

 

video game industryMobile Gaming Will Dominate

The mobile and tablet gaming industry is increasing at a good pace, with reference to Nielsen’s annual U.S. Gaming: A 360° View survey (March 2012).  Marketing research firm M2 Research is predicting that the mobile gaming market will blow past the $6 Billion mark in 2012.

 

The use of mobile platforms will continue to grow at alarming rates.  2012 will see the app and game market develop around the new iPad 3, Sony’s PS Vita, and many mobile devices utilizing the Android operating system.

 

Android Operating System (OS) gaming is dominated by users in the 25-34 age brackets.  Android is gaining massive strides as the dominate operating system for mobile smart phone and tablet devices.  By February 2012, 450,000 apps were available for Android.   iPhone gaming has appeared to be penetrating evenly across all age segments.

 

Cloud Gaming

Cloud gaming, which is essentially “Gaming on Demand”, will continue to build in 2012, as it makes it easier and faster for all gamers to connect from any type of mobile to console device.   Cloud streaming gaming is considering similar along the lines of streaming movies.  Here is a YouTube video on Cloud Gaming and its appealing direct, instant streaming features to video game enthusiasts.

 

The gaming industry will generate much interest over the next few years.  Entrepreneurs, developers, and businesses in the industry should keep a frequent eye on the rapidly changing gaming landscape.

Strategy Plan One

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Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

© 2012 Strategy Plan One

Oil Prices & Impacts on the US Economy and YOU [Infographic]

Strategy Plan One

April 1, 2012 

The price of crude oil, and consequently the price of everything, is rapidly increasing.  This infographic, courtesy of fuelfreedom.org highlights the impacts of oil prices.

Some fact and impacts of oil prices:

  • 10 out of the last 11 recessions occurred after an increase spike in oil prices
  • $330 Billion – US net outflow for foreign oil
  • Economists projecting 2012 to have the highest gas prices in history
  • Estimation of up to $200 per barrel of oil if Iran relationship worsens
  • Highest impacts would occur to lower – middle income earning families

Time for increased emphasis on alternative energy sources and technologies?  You bet.  Tough economic times an challenges such as these open the doors further to business opportunities around alternatives and green clean energy.

infographic

Strategy Plan One

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Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

© 2012 Strategy Plan One