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Hairdresser washing hair. (iStockphoto)
Hairdresser washing hair. (iStockphoto)

Small Business Briefing

The top five trends in franchising Add to ...

The latest news and information for entrepreneurs from across the web universe, brought to you by theReport on Small Businessteam. Follow us on Twitter@GlobeSmallBiz.

Franchise fever

The Street has posted a list of the top five franchise opportunities for 2013, based on findings by the U.S.-based International Franchise Association’s business outlook.

It’s all about specialization. Outlets designed to appeal to certain demographic groups, to health, and to personal services are expected to do well. While the five areas were chosen from an American perspective, the trends are likely just as relevant to Canadian markets.

The five best franchise opportunites are:

  • Hair care: High demand, even in a weak economy. Would you want to cut your own hair? Didn’t think so.
  • Fast-casual restaurants: Slightly more upscale than fast food, with all the convenience.
  • Business coaching and staffing: Geared toward more flexible work environments and low startup costs.
  • Fitness: Best opportunities are on the low end of the price and quality scale.
  • Real estate: Because, well, people love buying houses.

Ecover has its own Method

Environmentally friendly cleaning-products maker Method was sold to a much larger firm, Ecover, in September. The San Francisco-based company started by Adam Lowry and Eric Ryan, who we featured in a video segment in November, 2011, drew more than $100 million (U.S.) in revenue in 2012, with 100 employees. In this recent Q&A with The New York Times, Mr. Ryan talks about why he and his partner sold the business, how they found the right buyer, and what might happen to their brand. “We recognized we had a partner at the table with identical mission statements, identical values and a real long-term commitment,” he says at one point. “It was just an opportunity too good to pass up.”

Something ventured, something earned?

“Writing the cheque is the easy part.” That’s the tagline for Something Ventured, directed by Emmy-Award-winning filmmakers Dan Geller and Dayna Goldfine. The documentary explores the emergence and impact of U.S.-based venture-capital pioneers and their “entrepreneurial partners” whose work led to the development of life-saving drugs, personal computers and the Internet. It features current interviews, as well as archival photos and video footage, and it looks at “the audacious industrialists” behind companies such as Intel, Apple, Cisco, Atari, Genentech, PowerPoint and Tandem. It appears televised screenings are only in the United States, but a DVD can be ordered for $22.49 (U.S.), plus shipping, to American and Canadian addresses.

EVENTS AND KEY DATES

Work out the logistics

The inaugural Cargo Logistics Canada Expo & Conference will bring together stakeholders with diverse interests in Canadian supply chains. It will feature speakers and education relevant to the freight transportation spectrum. The conference takes place on Jan. 29 and 30, 2014, at the Vancouver Convention Centre. Click here for information on how to subscribe to a newsletter for up-to-date attendance information or to learn how to exhibit.

Discovering new talent

There are only a few days left to apply for the TiEQuest business venture competition that encourages entrepreneurship, engages emerging entrepreneurial talent, and creates an ecosystem of entrepreneurship. Registration will be open until Jan. 31 (11:55 p.m., EST). If you participated in a previous year and you were eliminated prior to the final stage of the competition, you can apply again.

EDITOR’S PICKS FROM REPORT ON SMALL BUSINESS

Social media levels sales field

In sales, social media has proven to be the great equalizer. Large companies traditionally had a great advantage in the client-acquisition process, from marketing – including lead generation – to engaging potential buyers. But social, both the tools and trends, have levelled the playing field, new monthly columnist Tibor Shanto writes, allowing small businesses to compete and even out-do larger players when it comes to winning the hearts, minds and budgets of buyers.

FROM THE ROSB ARCHIVES

The old meets the new

Despite the hype, the B2C social selling successes have not been realized in the B2B space – in the process, this distracts people and resources from things they could be doing to make social pay, Mr. Shanto wrote in November, 2012. The suggestion that traditional B2B sales strategies and tactics no longer work, and the notion that we need to abandon them for social selling or perish, is false, dangerous and a risky proposition for business owners.

Got a tip on news, events or other timely information related to the small-business community? E-mail us atsmallbusiness@globeandmail.com.

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