Franchise Business Ownership Among Women and Minorities Hits Record Levels

Women and Minorities Franchise Owners Statistics at Record Levels

The number of franchise businesses owned by women and minorities has never been higher in the U.S.

That’s the big finding in a report commissioned by the International Franchise Association. The IFA published the results of the report, called the Minority and Gender Ownership Study. PricewaterhouseCoopers partnered with the IFA to produce the study, an analysis conducted of the 2012 Survey of Business Owners.

Women and Minorities Franchise Owners Statistics

According to the study, 30.8 percent of franchise businesses in 2012 were owned by minorities. That represents a significant jump from five years before, in 2007. Back then, just 20.5 percent of franchise businesses were minority owned.

By comparison, just 18.8 percent of non-franchise businesses are owned by minorities.

“The franchise business model has solidified its place in our economy as a stable job producer and opportunity engine. Franchising is uniquely situated to create serious economic opportunity in local communities by generating employment and ownership opportunities for those who need them most,” says IFA President and CEO Robert Cresanti. “This report demonstrates how the franchise business model is already working to meet the future challenges of a rapidly growing and diversifying franchise sector with shifting demographics, instituting a business model that achieves a dream for hundreds of thousands of Americans.”

The data shows Hispanic-owned franchise businesses are growing the fastest. In 2007, 5.2 percent of franchise businesses were owned by Hispanics. By 2012, that total doubled to 10.4 percent. Hispanics, African-Americans and Asians were more likely to own a franchise business than a non-franchised business.

Asians own the most franchise businesses among all minority groups included in this new report. The study says Asians own 11.8 percent of franchise businesses. Meanwhile, African-Americans own 8 percent of the franchise businesses in the U.S.

The same report examined the rise of women-owned franchise businesses in 2012. The report shows 30.6 percent of franchise businesses are women-owned. That figure is up from 20.5 percent just five years before that, a 50 percent increase.

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This article, “Franchise Business Ownership Among Women and Minorities Hits Record Levels” was first published on Small Business Trends

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The Spring Statement: What it Means for the Business World

The news is never short of political updates, particularly of late as we negotiate an exit deal with the EU. This week’s latest instalment, however, comes in the form of the long-anticipated Spring Statement which was announced on Tuesday 13th March at 12:30 pm.

The most shocking fact, which has dominated the headlines of leading newspapers, is the cost of the Brexit divorce bill- totalling an astonishing £37.1bn which will not be paid off until the 2060s. To rub salt in the wound, predictions from the OBR (Office for Budget Responsibility) indicate that economic growth will be poor over the next five years, with very high chances of another recession before the year 2023 which would inevitably bring negative impacts on business profit. Britain, over the last 60 years, has dealt with seven recessions; the last recession was in 2008/09, covering five quarters, and was, by far, the worst recession faced by Britain since the Second World War.

The OBR forecasts, however, contradict the latest survey from the Treasury which indicated that the real ­­GDP would actually increase over the next two years. Despite this, OBR used the financial crisis of 2008 as an example, where despite positive forecast predictions, the reality was a cumulative economic drop of around 5%.

OBR also highlights that any potential gains accrued will be dwarfed by the impact on trade, migrations and tax from Brexit. However, predictions announced by chancellor Phillip Hammond indicated a predicted economic growth of 1.4-1.5% for 2018 and a 1.3% growth for 2019. Inflation is also predicted to fall from its current 3% status back down to 2% by the end of the year. Only time will tell which way the chips will fall.

John McDonnell, a shadow chancellor, has hit back at Hammond’s speech by stating: “The chancellor has proclaimed that there is light at the end of the tunnel. But this shows just how cut off from the real world he is. Last year growth in our economy was among the lowest in the G7 and the slowest since 2012.”

Rain Newton-Smith, chief economist of the Confederation of British Industry cautioned that economic growth in the UK is “lukewarm” at best and has warned that the government needs to address these issues.

Despite these apprehensions, businesses have generally welcomed the chancellor’s decisions, particularly with the focus on reducing environmental impacts through plastic usage. Chancellor Hammond announced the mission to reduce single-use plastic waste through the tax system, with the money raised being fed into the creation of greener products and services to eliminate plastic waste by 2042.

Other key areas of the statement include increases in minimum wages, with under 25’s seeing the biggest increase in 10 years. These rises in wages should be considered by businesses to ensure changes in staffing costs are accounted for in future budgeting.

Digital businesses received strong support in the budget, with funding being fed into business improvements such as faster broadband to improve online business efficiency.

Meanwhile, a surprise came in the form of the announcement that the business property rate revaluation date has been forwarded by one year, from 2022 to 2021. Rental values at and around April 2019 will most likely set the precedent of rateable values which will apply for 2021; something which can offer businesses stability in a time of economic doubt.

But even with the general vote of confidence after his speech, many have expressed their concerns that the chancellor may let political gain get in the way of what Britain really needs. Hammond has also been praised by some of the UK’s influential trade bodies for his commitment to boosting businesses, especially considering the uncertainties brought by Brexit. However, there is still much to be done to support UK businesses during the transitional period; a sentiment echoed in the words of Andy Marshall, director of the British Chambers of Commerce: “Any headroom the chancellor has must be used to leave a lasting mark on the UK’s infrastructure and to attract investment-particularly with the challenges of Brexit ahead.”

Businesses are hoping that the Autumn Budget will be doubled down, with increased expenditure to further improve digital connectivity, travel improvements and energy security. This is still a while off yet, and anything could happen in the world of politics between now and then!

So, we asked four of our experts to give us their opinions on what the spring statement means for the future of British business operations:

“In today’s fast-moving world, businesses should consider every opportunity to tap into better value, faster, and larger capacity connectivity as the ongoing demand for data transmission is undoubtedly going to increase for some while. However, knowing what the actual data demand is, the composition of the data being transmitted (e.g. voice, video, mail, internet, internal systems) together with the peaks and troughs are of prime importance. Businesses should not simply take increased capacity simply because it is available; there is no substitute for a detailed understanding of current and future needs.”

Nigel Rosehill | Communications Project Specialist

The chancellor’s confirmation of the first £25m in funding to 5G testbeds is positive news for businesses who are increasingly looking for new ways to improve productivity and customer relations through new technologies. The growth and adoption of 4G services in business has already seen the start of a move away from fixed infrastructure, and 5G will accelerate that trend in the future. Thirteen areas across the UK are set to receive £95m of the £190m government funding known as the “Local Full Fibre Challenge Fund”. This is good news for businesses in these areas which will soon be able to connect to gigabit fibre networks. As new technologies enter the market, there can be a cost premium for accessing these; this is where ERA can help with a track record of helping clients improve data connectivity through our tried and tested procurement process. Our knowledge and expertise in the industry to help keep the cost to our clients of doing business down, or perhaps accessing such technology which may have previously seen to be cost prohibitive. 

Pritesh Patel | Communications Project Specialist

“The announcement that the Treasury will review how changes to the tax system might reduce the amount of single-use plastics we waste is likely to be welcomed by environmental campaigners. The effect on business remains unclear at this time, but what is clear in light of this announcement and previous announcements that this government sees plastic waste as an area that needs government intervention in order to curb the damaging impacts of a throw-away culture.”

Daniel Howells Waste Project Specialist

“The changes announced yesterday by the chancellor bringing the next revaluation forward by one year to 2021 are a big surprise as many were expecting more frequent revaluations from 2022. It could be recognition of the urgent need for change due to the significant issues with the new Check, Challenge, Appeal rating system resulting in extremely low appeal numbers. It will, therefore, be an opportunity to draw a line under the current system which has been beset with issues. The fact the government has decided not to introduce self-assessment or a formula model at this time will, however, provide some more clarity on the basis of the next revaluation. The increasing frequency of revaluations will also create winners and losers; for example, those currently paying static or falling business rates under the current revaluation that are in a location of rapid growth around the antecedent valuation date in April 2019 could see their rates rising earlier than they thought and vice versa. Transitional arrangements will also play their part. However, in this very complex equation, which phases these shifts large shifts in liability. As the detail behind this announcement becomes clearer in the coming months and years, and we look through our crystal ball at the levels of open market rental values in 2019, it’s still too early at this stage to tell if this will be favourable change, but yesterday’s (15th March) curveball tells us to prepare for the unexpected.”

Paul Giness – Property Project Specialist

To discuss more about your business cost management in light of the spring statement, get in touch with our procurement specialists today. We have experts who specialise in every area of business operations, so you can rest assured the comprehensive advice you are receiving is the most strategic option for your organisation.

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Updates in Telecommunications

ERA Project Manager, Pritesh Patel, goes through the updates in telecommunications that every business needs to know.

5G Mobile Auction Under Way

Ofcom is continuing with the auction of two further spectrum bands, following the High Court rejected legal challenges to Ofcom’s auction rules by EE and Three. The suppliers were against Ofcom applying a cap to the amount of bandwidth that suppliers can win as part of the auction.

The latest spectrum auction will pave the way for the rollout of future 5G services and improved mobile broadband services for mobile users. Ofcom hopes to start the auction in late March 2018. This is good news for ERA’s clients who are using more mobile data than ever before and once 5G services become widespread may be able to utilise data services with more flexibility than current fixed data connections.

Read the full article here.

BT told to share telegraph poles with rivals

Ofcom has brought in new rules to force Openreach to share the use of Telegraph poles and underground ducting with rival internet providers, with the hope rivals will find it easier to build their own full-fibre networks. These measures are hoped to reduce the time taken and cost of installing fibre connections. This will be welcome news to businesses that are currently experiencing delays from Openreach to install data connections which are becoming more important to businesses every day.

Read the full article here

Ofcom investigating Vodafone and Three

Telecoms Regulator Ofcom are investigating Vodafone and Three data management (known as traffic-throttling) while their customers are abroad. The investigation will examine whether their current practices are compliant with net neutrality rules that state all traffic on the network must be treated equally.

With the growing use of mobile data, networks will continue to come under pressure to provide a good service to customers while managing their network within the rules of the countries they operate. Ofcom plans to publish its finding in June which could impact customers of these networks and the wider market.

Read the full article here.

Will Brexit end the EU “Roam like Home”

When the EU’s “Roam like Home” rules came into force on 15th June 2017, many ERA clients who work within Europe were delighted as they could now use their mobiles in Europe at the same cost as in the UK. Brexit, however, has cast a shadow of uncertainty over many areas of business and EU roaming is another, not helped by the UK Government insisting this matter is on the negotiation table after Theresa May confirmed the UK would be leaving the Digital Single Market, which oversees the Roaming rules. A spokesperson for the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport told the BBC: “Arrangements on mobile roaming would be subject to any negotiations; however, a future partnership between the UK and EU is clearly in the interests of both sides.”

Since the end of additional EU roaming charges it is estimated that data roaming traffic across the EU has increased by 600%, and whilst UK networks are not currently planning for a return to EU roaming charges after Brexit, the possibility remains. Some businesses have already seen increases in the cost of the UK tariffs as the networks attempt to clawback lost revenue from EU roaming.

Read the full article here.

Our business to business consultancy services  can help you to manage the cost of doing business; with our expertise and knowledge of the market place and proven systems delivering excellent results, even in a challenging marketplace, you are bound to see exceptional savings and more cost-effective solutions to your business needs.

Image credit: Holidayextras

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The Importance of a Customer Experience Strategy

If you have customers, they are going to have some form of ongoing support or service need. You may think this does not apply to you, but we challenge you to think about any business or industry where you can deliver your product or service and have no chance that the customer may encounter a problem or question.

And even if you can, what a wasted opportunity it would be if you didn’t give the customer a chance to ask questions when they are making a decision on purchasing or repurchasing. It is therefore key that businesses have an effective customer experience strategy in play.

This may be obvious to some but did you know:

  • According to a recent Enghouse Interactive survey 50% of customers would refuse to do business with a brand or company when they fail to deliver.
  • In the same survey, 75% of customers see it as important that a company provides Online Communication capabilities (50% increase since 2014).
  • By 2022 (only four years away) Gartner predicts that 72% of all customer interactions will involve an emerging technology i.e Chatbots, AI or IoT sensors.

All the data points above are meant to illustrate one thing -that in order for your business to continue to be successful and grow, you need to think about the support and service experience you provide for your customers. It cannot be an afterthought- you not only run the risk of losing customers because of a poor experience but in the process, spend a lot of money to do it.

In the complex world of deciding upon your customer experience strategy, there are numerous decisions to make – some of the more obvious ones are about whether you do it in-house with precious FTE resource or outsource it. Once that is decided you need to figure out where you will do the support from i.e Onshore, nearshore or offshore. Lastly, what support modalities you want to offer your customers (Phone, Chat, Email, Social, SMS or a combination of all the previous and do you tie them together in an omnichannel environment). All the options have a cost, quality and risk element that needs to be considered for your business. We have not even started to think about GDPR and the impact of Brexit on customer support, particularly if you support more than just the UK, or how your companies digital strategy needs to include support and service elements.

Here at ERA, we are able to help you work through the tough decisions and to identify a cost-effective solution. Get in touch with our cost reduction consultants today.

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KFC Splits Supply Chain Management Between Two Companies

Last week, we reported on the closures of several KFC stores in the UK due to issues in the supply chain.

Failures in logistical planning from supplier DHL resulted in hundreds of KFC outlets unable to open their doors to customers due to lack of chicken. Estimations put the cost of this crisis at £1million per day.

Blame was accredited to “teething problems” in the arrangement with DHL, who had recently won the contract from renowned food suppliers, Bidvest, a food logistics specialist who had been supplying KFC for eight years prior.

Recent news indicates that KFC has now decided to split its supply needs between the two companies, with Bidvest servicing the 350 sites in the northern part of the UK. A long-term contract was signed between the two companies on Thursday 8th March.

Commenting on the move, Paul Whyte of Bidvest Logistics said: “We are delighted to welcome KFC back to Bidvest Logistics. As the UK’s leading foodservice logistics specialist, we understand the complexities of delivering fresh chicken. KFC is a valued customer, and we will provide them with a seamless return to our network.”

Whilst a spokesperson for DHL stated: “We acknowledge KFC’s decision to invite Bidvest Logistics to service its 350 restaurants in the north of the UK.

“In conjunction with our partners, we remain fully committed to delivering excellent service to KFC’s remaining 550 restaurants across the UK.”

This incident only goes to prove how important preparations and staged implementation plans are in supply chain management, especially if you are changing one of your crucial suppliers.

Additionally it highlights how companies can reduce risks in their supply chain by spreading their needs across two suppliers; an understandable and strategic move by KFC considering the recent events. Luckily, KFC have significant spend in this area which has allowed them to opt for a dual source situation.

Consulting with procurement companies who understand your needs and budget, as well as the service quality you will get from your suppliers, can help to eliminate problems like this along the way. For more information on distribution costs and suppliers, contact our specialist Charles Reid on

Article by: Charles Reid

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Smart Meter Roll Out: Not So Smart

A recent report reveals that the roll out of smart meters in the UK is running well behind target. The onus is on energy suppliers to install an estimated 53m smart devices by the end of 2020. To date fewer than 9m have been fitted over a period of the last five years. The strategy of placing the onus for smart meter installation on individual suppliers appears to be impeding the rollout. Dieter Helm, professor of energy policy at Oxford University has observed that no other European country has made this mistake and suggests that a more sensible strategy would have been to place this responsibility onto gas and electricity network operators. This would have allowed the roll out to be carried out on a street by street basis. As it is suppliers are installing a variety of different meter models which in some cases are proving to be incompatible with competitor’s systems.

Paradoxically, whilst consumers are constantly urged to be proactive and switch suppliers to ensure they are getting the most competitive energy deals, those who do switch may find their smart meter is unable to communicate with the new supplier’s technology. Energy suppliers are currently testing “second generation” meters which are designed to communicate with all networks, but these will not be available for a mass roll out for several months and a universal “communications hub” designed to allow existing meters to communicate with different suppliers after switching, is not due to be available nationwide until the middle of 2019.

The government now estimates that smart meters will save the average domestic customer just £11 a year by 2020, roughly 1% of a typical annual bill. This is a significant fall from a previous estimated saving of £26 a year. It costs about £270 to install or replace a smart device and whilst this cost is borne by the individual suppliers, it is highly likely they will eventually be recouped in higher energy charges.

To find out more about our energy management services, get in touch with us today.

Article by: Richard Clayton

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What Effect Will Brexit Have on Manufacturing?

According to a new economic model, British manufacturing exports could be cut by almost a third; this will leave heavily-industrial areas such as Sutherland, County Durham and Derby suffering as a consequence.

The manufacturing sector saw poor growth at the start of the year, which followed on from equally disappointing figures in December. This is a negative turn for the industry which previously enjoyed a rare economic success in light of the decision to leave the EU back in June 2016 because the weak value of the pound encouraged an increase in international business. As the pound recovers, it is likely that the business gained from overseas buyers looking for a bargain will dwindle, but the side-effects of negotiation deals on exporting trade could be challenging for most in the industry.

Manufacturing only accounts for 10% of the UK economy, but its influence in the UK trading is far more substantial. Manufacturing currently accounts for 44% of UK exports and 57% of import, of which 47% of UK exports and 55% of imported goods are traded with the EU.

Research highlights that several manufacturing industries will find the aftermath of the triggering of Article 50 difficult, including car-making companies who will struggle to access markets. Estimated cuts to manufacturing exports come in at 13%, whilst reductions in the total output at around 3.6%.

Understandably, the business community is looking toward the government for a clear conclusion. However, the government is still trying to figure out how to find “frictionless” ways to reduce the impact of leaving the single market and customs union, whilst simultaneously arranging new international deals to fall back on.

The manufacturing sector has also been severely bruised by shortages in raw materials and commodities, which sees rising costs and disruptions in the supply chain.

Experts from the University of Sussex have expanded on the estimates which were previously leaked by the Treasury by providing predictions of the what the impacts will have on the 122 manufacturing sectors present in the UK. The report indicates that even if the government can receive a free trade agreement (FTA) with other countries, the outcome would still be a decrease in exports of 34%.

In conclusion, Prof Alasdair Smith said: “Even achievement of the (literally) incredible objective of signing FTAs with every non-EU country would not compensate for the loss of the relationship with the EU.

“High, medium-high and medium R&D intensive sectors all seem likely to suffer more from the effects of Brexit. This is an important result since the UK government’s industrial strategy seeks to promote high-tech sectors: Brexit might make it harder to achieve this objective.”

If you’re looking for effective manufacturing procurement to safeguard your business’ profitability during this transitional period, look no further than the experts at Expense Reduction Analysts. Our experts will conduct thorough reviews of your organisation to pin-point areas where costs can be reduced to ensure your organisation is in its strongest possible position to face the outcomes of the negotiation talks – whatever they may be. Get in touch with one our experts today to discuss this matter more.

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