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Former CEO of CKE Restaurants Andy Puzder to speak at FAN Meeting

SmartBrief - Fri, 2017-07-21 14:13
Andy Puzder, former CEO of CKE Restaurants, is a featured speaker at this year's FAN annual meeting in Washington D.C.
Categories: Latest News

Make your submission to IFA's FranTech Awards!

SmartBrief - Fri, 2017-07-21 14:13
IFA's Marketing and Innovation Committee is taking applications for the 2nd Annual FranTech Awards, to be given during FranTe
Categories: Latest News

Trump's NLRB nominees clear committee

SmartBrief - Fri, 2017-07-21 14:13
Marvin Kaplan and William Emanuel were approved by a Senate committee on Wednesday, bringing them closer to serving on the Na -More
Categories: Latest News

Opinion: Scheduling rules could have negative repercussions

SmartBrief - Fri, 2017-07-21 14:13
Law changes like New York's recent rule that quickservice restaurants must provide two weeks' notice on scheduling could be d -More
Categories: Latest News

Nothing great in the world has been accomplished without passion.

SmartBrief - Fri, 2017-07-21 14:13
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, philosopher
Categories: Latest News

New Platform Automates Social Media Ads, Study Provides YouTube Insights

Small Business Trends - Fri, 2017-07-21 13:30

How would you like to save some time but still get what you need from social media? There’s a new tool that can help you automate ads on both Facebook and Instagram.

And if you’re thinking about using YouTube as part of your content strategy, a recent study can help you learn about what types of videos are most popular. Read about these headlines and more in this week’s Small Business Trends news and information roundup.

Social Media Can needls Platform Automate Small Business Ads on Facebook and Instagram?

A new platform aims to make small business advertising on Facebook and Instagram even easier. Digital has surpassed TV ad spend, and the gap is growing at robust pace. According to eMarketer, the almost $1B lead digital had at the end of 2016 will increase to more than $25B by 2020. For small businesses, if they want to succeed it means making their presence felt on digital channels.

How-To Videos Among the Most Watched on YouTube

Want to drive more traffic to your YouTube channel? Make sure you upload more how-to videos because they are among the most watched on the site. This insight comes from data presented by San Francisco-based video production company, Visual Z Studios. Why You Should Post How-To Videos Research reveals how-to and style videos on YouTube receive, on average, 8,332 views.

Economy More Than 1 in 4 Millennials Work a Side Hustle

Who says Millennials are more into vacations than work? Millennial Side Hustle Statistics New data from Bankrate shows that 28 percent of Millennials, between the ages of 18 and 26, are working on their own on the side right now. That means, in addition to their regular source of income, the youngest members of the workforce are putting in extra work for some extra pay.

US Beef Exports to China: What Cattle Ranchers Need to Know

American beef should soon wind up on Chinese plates as a trade deal between the two countries gets finalized. It would mark the first time American beef was sold in that country after it was banned in 2003 over a mad cow disease scare. On June 12, the deal was finalized and the first shipments are expected in China July 16.

Employment Analysts, Not Accountants, Are Most Sought After for Small Business Finance

In today’s small business world, the person who keeps track of the numbers may be less important than the person who can tell you what those numbers mean. New data from the jobs site reveals that among the top 10 in-demand finance jobs, not a one is an accountant. The number one, most in-demand job wanted by small businesses is business analyst.

$30 Separates the Highest and Lowest Paid Developers, Survey Says

The cost of hiring a freelance developer for your business could still vary considerably. A new survey says the cost of a developer — like an expert specializing in Javascript, for example — could vary by as much as $30 per hour depending on where in the world they live. The gap is even larger when looking at averages from city to city.

Marketing Tips Could the Latest in Branding Be Not to Have One?

Before spending time and energy branding your next product or service, it may be time to think again. Brandless is a startup that works with manufacturers to eliminate the extra costs that are often associated with offering branded products. Instead, the company just provides basic products with simple labels that just state what’s in each product.


Move Over Avocado Toast, This Restaurant Has Designed a Whole Menu Around This Tasty Food

You’ve no doubt noticed the avocado toast trend that’s been sweeping the nation over the last few years. But one business has decided to take the trend to a whole new level. Avocaderia is an avocado bar completely dedicated to avocado based foods. It includes avocado toast, but also other foods like smoothies, burgers, chocolate mousse and more.

Retail Trends Lesson From Bridal Chain Closing: Always Remember Your Customers

Nationwide bridal store chain Alfred Angelo abruptly closed up shop recently, giving customers almost no notice and leaving brides who had already paid for dresses scrambling to pick up their purchases or find replacements. Some brides drove hours to pick up their dresses at stores, having only a couple hours notice after reading of the impending store closings online.

What KFC Can Teach Small Businesses About Success in China

At a recent Gateway17 event in Detroit, small businesses learned more about the products in demand from Chinese consumers and some tips on marketing to them. But you can also learn about selling to Chinese customers by studying international brands like KFC. The fast food chain is the largest of its kind in China.


Small Biz Spotlight Spotlight: Virtualitics Specializes in Visualizing Data for Business

When it comes to analyzing data, having accurate visualizations can make the the task infinitely easier. And new technologies like augmented and virtual reality can potentially help businesses create those visualizations. And that’s exactly what Virtualitics specializes in.


Technology Trends New PayPal Samsung Deal Should Make it Easier to Take Payments

Samsung Pay will now work with PayPal (NASDAQ:PYPL) wherever it’s accepted. Since Samsung Pay works with traditional card readers, that list includes basically all businesses that accept credit cards.

Looking for a Great Business Idea? Start a Virtual Reality Arcade

Looking for a unique new business idea? Consider starting a virtual reality arcade. That’s right — arcade businesses no longer need to consist only of video games from the 80’s and cheesy prizes. There are already businesses around the world that are integrating this new technology into their offerings. Take the case of Playdium Virtual Reality arcade in Causway Bay, Hong Kong.

Beware! New Phishing Attacks Disguised as Replies to Previously Asked Questions

Cyber criminals have come up with yet another way to get you to open an email. This month’s Comodo Threat Intelligence Lab report has identified a new type of phishing email. According to Comodo, the new scam involves emails disguised as a reply to a previously asked request for information. The emails also appear to come from a legitimate contact or familiar brand, the report says.

Reality Check: Drones Will Take the Dull, Dirty, Dangerous Jobs

If you’re hoping to have a pizza delivered by drone to your house soon, you might have a wait. One industry expert sees a different future inspecting remote pipelines and such for drones. Brandon Declet knows what he’s talking about. Declet is the CEO and Co-Founder at Measure, one of the first companies to offer drones-as-a-service.

Bots Are Taking Over: Fiverr Adds Subcategory Dedicated to Chatbots Development Gigs

The attack of the bots continues as they spread their reach everywhere from data gathering, to analytics, web indexing and more, automating tasks across the internet. And now it’s easier than ever to create your own bot. Freelance marketplace Fiverr has a new subcategory dedicated to chatbots development services.

Power-Blox Providing Off-the-Grid Energy to Small Business

A Swiss Company, Power-Blox, has created fully autonomous power grids that can be easily scaled up without the need for extensive expertise, centralized control or configuration. The ‘Plug and Power’ technology behind Power-Blox enables anyone to create an autonomous grid that can power schools, businesses, hospitals, homes and entire villages.

Social Media Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "New Platform Automates Social Media Ads, Study Provides YouTube Insights" was first published on Small Business Trends

Arbor Lodging Partners Acquires Courtyard By Marriott Des Moines West/Jordan Creek

Hotel Interactive - Fri, 2017-07-21 13:19
CHICAGO–-Arbor Lodging Partners, ("Arbor"), a leading fully integrated owner and operator of hotels, announced today that it, through an affiliate, acquired ...

[Infographic] Brain Freeze: Frozen beverages are still sizzling

Nation's Restaurant News - Fri, 2017-07-21 13:19
The term "slushie" has grown on menus 32% over the past 4 years.

Amber Alert Issued for LA County Teen in Car Reported Stolen

Topix - Fri, 2017-07-21 12:33

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department has issued an Amber Alert for an autistic teenager who was in a car reported stolen outside a fast-food restaurant in Paramount. The Sheriff's Department said early Friday that 17-year-old Frank Barboa was in a black 2015 Honda Civic with gray rims, a cracked front windshield and license plate 7LGH091.

Categories: Today's Food News

Budget-Conscious Approach

Hotel Interactive - Fri, 2017-07-21 12:31
Industry Execs Discuss Ways To Keep Design Costs Down During BITAC Panel

GM puts the brakes on portions of headquarters project

AutoNews - Fri, 2017-07-21 12:28
GM has mothballed plans for one of the more eye-catching portions of its 120,000-square-foot addition and renovation of its world headquarters, the Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit.
Categories: Latest News

Rohan Gilkes of Wet Shave Club: Successful Subscription Businesses are Data-driven

Small Business Trends - Fri, 2017-07-21 12:00

I was “digging in the crates” recently and found some really great stuff that for one reason or another I haven’t worked into the series. And although this isn’t a “one on one” conversation, this session from ExCom 2016 — an event I co-organized with eCommerce thought leader John Lawson — is just as relevant today as it was last year.

Insights on Running a Subscription Based Business

Small Business Trends Publisher Anita Campbell led a great conversation on the benefits and challenges of running a subscription based business, from both a B2C and B2B perspective. Rohan Gilkes, owner of Wet Shave Club, and Sangram Vajre, cofounder and CMO of account-based marketing platform Terminus, share their experiences in growing subscription businesses. And together they cover a lot ground and provide some great insights that can help those considering this business model understand the what to do, and what to avoid.

The following is an edited transcript of the session. To hear the full conversation click the embedded video/audio clips below.

* * * * *

Small Business Trends: Rohan, we can tell from the name of your business, Wet Shave Club, what you sell, but would you describe for everyone what exactly does a customer get when they subscribe to the Wet Shave Club and what are they paying for every month?

Rohan Gilkes: With Wet Shave Club, customers get a monthly box of wet shaving products. Wet shaving products are like your old school razor where you would go into a barbershop, you probably see it in the movies. They put this shaving soap in your face and it’s a double edged razor. The brush and talcum powder, maybe some cologne. All types of random stuff that men who like this traditional shaving experience would use. They pay between $19 per month, if they’re going to subscribe for an entire year, commit to an entire year, or they pay $29 per month if they’re going to go month by month.

Then we have a three month and a six month as well. It really allows us to smooth our revenue out by having people commit for a longer time and we reward them with a discount.

Small Business Trends: Are you from a barber background by chance?

Rohan Gilkes: I am not from a barber background. I actually don’t even wet shave. I shave with clippers. I actually just came across the opportunity and I felt like I could probably knock it out. My background is I just build internet companies. I used to be an accountant and I started finding opportunities online and teaching myself everything I could teach myself about internet marketing and hustling online. When I came across this opportunity, I took it and it’s working out.

Small Business Trends: We’ve got a very different kind of business over here with Sangram. It’s not a B2C business. Tell us what you sell to your customers and who they are and what they pay, Sangram.

Sangram Vajre: I’m the co founder and CMO of Terminus. For those of you who don’t know, Terminus is the original name of Atlanta. We are an account-based marketing firm. We started about a year and a half ago but really got the product to market just a year ago. We are at 1.5 million in recurring revenue. Today, about 130 customers. 30 employees.

What we do for B2B companies is help them make sure that their message is in front of the right people on the channels that their customers care about and we have done it through an account based marketing platform.

The other challenge that B2B faces is that less than 1 percent of the leads turn into customers. Think about it from a CEO, CFO, or anybody executive, if less than 1 percent of your leads are going to turn into customers, that just almost translates into saying that 99 percent of your efforts don’t mean anything. We want to solve that problem. Our goal is to help B2B marketers turn more of their leads into customers. We understand that in B2B, unlike B2C, the decision is made by committee. There are more people involved in the decision making process. Sometimes there’s 10, 15, 20 people, the bigger the organization.

We’re able to put your message in front of your target audience, the entire account. If you want to target a sales team, the entire sales team is going to start seeing your message, as opposed to just that one person, on the channels that they care about. That has really changed the way B2B marketing has been done today.

Small Business Trends: Essentially, you’ve got a software that provides a service for your B2B customers. Is that right?

Sangram Vajre: Yep. It’s $1,000 a month, subscription business. Most of our customers sign up for annually recurring revenue. For us, that really helps us out quite a bit. It’s literally you sign in, you connect to your Salesforce or any CRM for that matter and upload a list of companies, and tell us who you want to target in terms of roles and then we’re able to put your message in front of them, anywhere they go, proactively.

Small Business Trends: That’s great. You said you just got financing. $7.5 million?

Sangram Vajre: Yes.

Small Business Trends: Okay, good. But when you first started with the business, did you start it on a shoestring? Did you have investment? Did you put savings into it? Tell us what you invested to get it started and give us a little of that story.

Sangram Vajre: Just like Rohan, this business was started by another two gentlemen, my other two co-founders Eric and Eric. I just call them the “Erics.” They got $300,000. A lot of people are probably familiar with David Cummings (serial entrepreneur and Pardot cofounder) here in Atlanta. He literally gave Eric $300,000 and said, “You’re smart. You’ll figure something out. Go start a business.” He started with doing something in the advertising space and, clearly, me coming from a Martech space and marketing, and understanding this problem, something that I was facing every single day. When I saw what they were trying to put together, I was able to jump in and say, “Let’s change the game here.”

Small Business Trends: Rohan, I know you bought this business. Tell us the story about how you bought it.

Rohan Gilkes: Sure. Randomly, I was hanging out on Reddit. I’m on there everyday. I guess it wasn’t that random. On r/entrepreneur some guy just posted a thread saying that he had this business. He was doing maybe $200 per month in revenue. He wanted to sell it. I was thinking, “Wet Shave Club. Wet shaving. What the hell is wet shaving?” I went on Google and I googled wet shaving. At the time, Dollar Shave Club was really, really kicking. I felt based on the fact that this market was already validated, for me.

Some people look at competition and they say there’s this big company that’s just going to crush me. I have to go against Gillette or Dollar Shave Club. They have probably $100 million in funding by now. How could some little guy compete with them? For me, I look at competition as a real validation of the marketplace. People are already educated. They’re already used to the concept of receiving shaving products every month in the mail and I felt I could do it. I reached out to the guy. It was on a Tuesday. By Saturday I had paid him $4,000.

His monthly revenue was very, very low. It was less than 500 bucks. That Saturday I got the passwords and I started working. We changed the website. We rebranded. We expanded the product line. We rebranded the boxes. We then almost tripled our price. That’s another thing, too. I would rather go after a customer that is willing to pay a little bit more and get a higher quality customer who is more likely to stay on than try to compete in the weeds of $9 or $10 or $12 per month, which is what he was charging.

After we made all those changes, this already was a two months process of changes. We went out to search around on Google to find new producers and manufacturers that would improve the quality of the products. We found people in Pakistan. They would send us stuff. We went through so many different versions. I have a post where I show the different images of the different razors that we received. We tested it. It was terrible. We sent it back. We found another manufacturer. This whole process was just figuring things out all on Google. This is the question I get. How did you guys find out about manufacturers and production and soaps?

We just googled everything, emailed people, they sent us samples. We tried it. If we liked it, we ordered more. If we didn’t like it, we found somebody else. It’s really two month of hustling and then we relaunched the business and got going.

Small Business Trends: Did that have any unexpected headaches? You’ve described some of the things about the products and so on. Was there one thing that maybe surprised you that you weren’t expecting, Rohan?

Rohan Gilkes: Yes. There are a lot of headaches. This is my first product business. I think one thing that is so crazy is the logistics around shipping. Every month we have to say we’re going to assume that we’re going to have 1,000 customers at the end of the month, whatever that number is. That number is a guess. It has to be a guess because we’re going to be onboarding new customers and we’re also going to be losing customers.

If our data is right, we’re going to be onboarding more customers than we’re losing. But that number is going to be an educated guess. But, a month before that, we would have to, based on that educated guess, order product. That product is going to come in, it’s going to sit in a warehouse. There’s costs associated with that. Then we’re going to have to repackage it, ship it back out. There’s costs associated with that. Then we’re going to have leftover product. There’s costs associated with that. That whole process of guessing, your order times, figuring out logistics, shipping, product storage, that part of the business is very difficult. I can’t say we have fully figured it out, but we do a really good job now based on past experience and past trends.

Small Business Trends: Is there any particular analytics tool that you use to help you or do you have a variety of tools?

Rohan Gilkes: We have a variety of tools. The main tool we use is Cratejoy. Cratejoy is, I guess, what Shopify is for regular one-off purchase eCommerce stores. They manage the subscription business. We can get some data and look at trends and look at churn, which is probably the biggest number … The most important number in this business is how many of your customers you’re able to retain from month to month versus how many you’re losing. Once you figure that out, things are … You can build a very, very big business very, very quickly if you can understand that churn number and your customer acquisition cost number.

Small Business Trends: I have one last question. What is the one important lesson you think other entrepreneurs should know about starting and growing a subscription business?

Sangram Vajre: I think the one thing we believe that has helped us is distilling down the problem that we’re solving. We talk about this every time, every meeting that we start, or the kick off meetings that we have, we continue to say this problem to ourselves. Less than 1 percent of the leads turn into customers. We need to solve this problem. Every new hire, every employee, every onboarding call, every marketing collateral that we put out there, everything has this problem clearly stated that allows us to look at everything from that lens. When we think about production innovation, when we think about new marketing messages, when we think about the sales process. Everything is looked from that lens. It really helps us make sure that we have our eyes on the prize, we know what we’re trying to do and what problem we’re solving because if you don’t know that, every single problem or solution seems like a good solution.

Small Business Trends: Thank you. Rohan, your lesson.

Rohan Gilkes: I really think that subscription based business, they’re really data driven businesses. Yes your branding and your marketing and your experience has to be right, that unboxing has to be great, but at the end of the day it’s all about the data. You have traffic coming in and then you have your conversion rates, what percentage of that traffic is going to convert into a customer. Say that number is 5 percent or that number is 3 percent. That could be the difference between your business being successful or not being successful.

You have traffic, conversion rate. You have your churn, which is very, very important, how many people are leaving. What kind of allocation you can have between your customers? How many of them can commit to one year? How many of them commit to one month? It’s really about the data. For me, that’s probably the thing I’ve learned the most in the past year and a half or two years.

This article, "Rohan Gilkes of Wet Shave Club: Successful Subscription Businesses are Data-driven" was first published on Small Business Trends

Franchise focus: How a mom's former junk food addiction led to a thriving juice concept - Fri, 2017-07-21 11:59
Husband-and-wife, Kat and Landon Eckles founded Clean Juice in 2015, in Huntersville North Carolina, and the brand since expanded to seven units.

Franchise focus: How a mom's former junk food addiction led to a thriving juice concept - Fri, 2017-07-21 11:59
Husband-and-wife, Kat and Landon Eckles founded Clean Juice in 2015, in Huntersville North Carolina, and the brand since expanded to seven units.

Four Points Houston Intercontinental Airport Opens

Hotel Interactive - Fri, 2017-07-21 10:39
POINT 1: Marriott International, Inc.® (NASDAQ: MAR) today announced the opening of Four Points Houston Intercontinental Airport, the brand’s fifth in ...