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I love social media and have been utilizing social media for many years to brand myself and my businesses. While I do love social media, I also hate it too! Why you might ask? Well, I am going to tell you.

A couple of years ago you could join various social media sites and not be harassed, spammed or have advertisements thrown in your face 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Over the past 1 1/2 years, I saw all of that change and not for the better.

I have been highly visible on Twitter.com for many years, especially in the foodie, home business, work at home mom, travel and craft niches. You used to be able to chat with other like-minded business professionals on Twitter but now…it is being ruined by businesses both large & small. Many of them come to Twitter and do nothing but promote/market/spam 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including holidays. That is a HUGE turnoff!

Oh and Twitter parties, don’t get me started on those! I do not understand why companies & bloggers are using Twitter parties to market their businesses, but I can tell you that these parties piss off non-party participants by the thousands! I know hundreds of Twitter users who boycott companies who promote Twitter parties and they are sick & tired of party tweets clogging up their streams. I can’t say that I blame them! On top of that, 90% of those who participate in these parties are just “other” bloggers there to support their fellow bloggers and die-hard sweepers who are ONLY at the party for a chance to win a prize. Take the prizes away…those parties die. People don’t come just to “buy” from a Twitter party.

Then there is Facebook who is making new rules & guidelines every other month. Many of these new rules are bad for businesses unless you plan on coughing up some money to advertise there or to boost your posts so that others can see them. Gone are the days when everyone who “liked” you on Facebook would see every status update that you made. Now…Facebook wants businesses to pay for that visibility and businesses are not too happy about it.

Then there is Pinterest and I love Pinterest but I primarily use it for personal use. I pin the photos and items that interest me and I can refer back to them at a later time. However, Pinterest is getting clogged up with way too much spam these days by companies and bloggers who want to spam a lot of nonsense crap. Frankly, I hate to see Pinterest being used 24/7 by business spammers who offer no real value to the site or to followers at all.

God forbid you attract an internet bully or stalker while you are using social media. Many of the sites listed above do nothing about it when you report it to them. Blocking those type of idiots doesn’t help because they just make a gazillion more accounts and harass you some more.

Social media has its place in the business world but only if it is used correctly. When it is used incorrectly, it does nothing but piss off the millions of users who use it. Well, there you have it…my thoughts on that!

Pet Franchise
Just because you have a full life with a family, community activities and hobbies does not mean that you cannot take the next step with your career goals and open a pet franchise. Buying the franchise is only the beginning of the journey to becoming a lucrative pet franchise within your community. Here’s how you can do it.

Expect Small Beginnings

As with any new business, you are not going to become the biggest business in town overnight. When you first open you will generally have a grand opening party that attracts a lot of attention. Some franchisees expect their business to always be as busy as it is at this event, which honestly is not realistic. Dreaming big is great, but make sure you are grounded in reality to ensure that you do not start feeling defeated with a business that is actually doing well.

Your franchisor can show you numbers from other stores that are comparable with yours in the first 6 months after they opened. This will help you to set a more realistic goal for your sales. Keep in mind that you want to get a feel for the business and your team before you start throwing around lofty goals which can make everyone feel tense.

Unless you are a business mogul, you will not have all the answers when you start your business. While your franchisor can give you great advice and knowledge on running a franchise, this does not mean that you do not need to continue to learn. Take the time to go to seminars and attend classes on marketing trends, business and other useful topics.

Building Relationships

The best way grow your business and achieve your dream with the pet franchise is to build relationships. There are several types of relationships that you need to focus on to be successful, including:

· Customer Relationships- While getting new customers in the door is essential to growth, you cannot forget about customer retention. Take the time to get to know your customers so you can meet their needs better.

· Business Relationships- Networking may seem boring but the truth is that it is an excellent way to grow your business. You never know when the business relationships you form will pay off. If nothing else you may find businesses that are similar without being competitive which can give you the chance to cross promote each other!

· Community Relationships- Everyone loves a business that is invested in their community. While this is not a requirement of successful businesses, it does help. Just sponsoring an event with your local animal shelter can be a great way to get your name out in the community with your pet franchise.

· Employee Relationships- Your staff are the ones who customers see every day and that handle the day to day operations of your business. This is why it is essential to have the right team for your business and to have a good relationship with them. You don’t need to be best friends with your employees but get to know them, respect them and reward them for their good work. This can go a long way with boosting morale and customer service at the same time.

· Franchisor Relationship- This goes deeper than just following the rules laid out in the franchise agreement- though these are important. Rather you want to build a relationship where you can pick up the phone and call your local or regional representative when you have an issue or question. Not all franchises offer reps who will work with franchisees after training, so look at this before you buy.

Planning and Scheduling Are Essential

The first year a franchise is open is the most crucial time. This is what determines whether you have what it takes to survive or whether you will fail in your endeavors. The best thing you can do is to keep focused on what you need to get done. This will require a lot of planning on your part. You will need to schedule meetings, personal appointments, webinars and other training as well as any other activities you will do during a day.

Invest in an organization tool that works for you. Some people use their phones and tablet to keep on track since it is usually with them though some people prefer something they can physically write on. No matter what type of organization you use, make sure you keep up with it. If you find that this is not enough to keep you on track, consider hiring a personal assistant.

When planning make sure you schedule time for yourself. This can be time where you enjoy your favorite hobbies, have family time or simply sit down and do nothing. If you don’t make personal time a priority in your schedule you will eventually run yourself into the ground.

Currently, Splash and Dash is offering franchise opportunities for aspiring business owners in the pet industry (which is currently bringing in a yearly revenue close to $60 BILLION). While other franchises have a strict division between franchisors and franchisees, Splash and Dash are your partner in success, as they have created an atmosphere designed for mutual growth and success. With this opportunity, franchisees receive powerful branding, proven marketing materials, expert training, a recurring revenue model, and the lowest franchise costs in the industry.

Splash and Dash currently has locations in: California, Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Maine, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah and Australia.

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