Category Archives: Entrepreneurship

NPI kicks off first franchisee workshop of the year in Atlanta, Georgia.

NPI Atlanta WorkshopNational Property Inspections, Inc., parent company of National Property Inspections in the United States and Global Property Inspections in Canada, held its first franchisee workshop of 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia earlier this month. On March 3rd and 4th, Kimberly Stevens, Marketing Coach for NPI, Inc., and Bob McDonough, NPI franchisee, Atlanta, Georgia, held a two day, intensive marketing and business management workshop for 28 NPI franchisees and spouses. Bob, top franchisee of 2016, shared his knowledge with the group, teaching his favorite tricks of the trade and tactics to his achievements. Kimberly challenged our business owners to get comfortable with public speaking and leadership by incorporating a number of one-on-one and team exercises. “This business takes strong networking skills to be successful. At NPI we challenge our franchisees to step outside their comfort zones to grow not only as business owners, but as confident individuals.” Says Kimberly Stevens. “I make it my mission every day to be here to guide them along their path to greatness.”

“Thank you Bob and Kimberly for putting this workshop on for us.” Said Mark Naquin, NPI franchise owner, Houma, Louisiana. “The material and information you provided was extremely helpful for me. No doubt, the way it was presented was key and helped me with more direction and how to stay on track to become successful in this business. I hope this is something that continues, because the interaction was great and getting to meet other NPI folks who are open to talk and share their stories, recommendations, etc. was an added bonus. I got to experience the family feeling within NPI for sure.”

“We are thrilled so many franchisees participated in our workshop in Atlanta,” said Roland Bates, president of National Property Inspections, Inc. “We believe in growing together, and our family culture is our biggest asset. When our franchisees come together to learn from one another it builds a lasting bond and a stronger company for everyone. We couldn’t ask for a better group to represent NPI.”

In addition to our regional workshops, we are excited to begin creating our agenda for our annual conference in November, where our franchisees will spend a weekend learning, growing, marketing, and bonding with one another in Omaha, NE.

To learn more about an NPI or GPI franchise opportunity in your area, click one of the links below:

Firelands Association of Realtors Names NPI Franchise Owner Joe Rudolph Affiliate of the Year

Joe and Laura Rudolph

Joe and Laura Rudolph, NPI franchisees win Affiliate of the Year Award. Marblehead, Ohio

National Property Inspections, Inc., parent company of National Property Inspections in the United States and Global Property Inspections in Canada, is pleased to congratulate NPI franchise owner Joe Rudolph for being named 2016’s Affiliate of the Year by the Fireland’s Association of Realtors. The award is voted on by a board of the top 10 Realtors and Brokers in the association and the vote was unanimous.

“Laura and I were asked to attend the Fireland’s Association of Realtors Awards Dinner last night. Unknowing to us, we were presented with “Affiliate of the Year” award. This is a great honor and tremendous recognition after being a member of the organization for only one year.” Rudolph said. “Laura and I feel we could have not received this honor without the help, guidance and resources of the home office. We want to extend our thanks for the support everyone in Omaha has provided us to make this possible.”

Rudolph, whose background is in air quality and environmental instrumentation started his franchise a little over a year ago. While he didn’t have experience in construction he did have an understanding of it. He credits NPI’s comprehensive training program and ongoing training to helping him achieve great success with his business.

“I’m so proud of the success Joe has had in the short amount of time he’s been with NPI,” said Roland Bates, president and founder of National Property Inspections, Inc. “He is dedicated to putting in the work and following our marketing plan. He has proven that our franchise system works well, and helps entrepreneurs succeed.”

“We have worked very hard for many years to make our franchise one of the best,” Bates said. “Because we are dedicated to our franchisees and helping them succeed, we have high franchisee satisfaction, and that has opened doors for us. We are well-known and respected in our industry, and I am convinced that’s because we live up to our motto and operate with honesty, integrity and professionalism in everything we do.”

 

To learn more about an NPI or GPI franchise opportunity in your area, click one of the links below:

NPI/GPI Prepares to Celebrate 30 Years by Remembering First Franchisee

By Roland Bates, President, NPI/GPI

Roland Bates, president and founder of National Property Inspections, Inc.

Roland Bates, president and founder of National Property Inspections, Inc.

It will soon be 30 years since I sold the first NPI franchise. I am pleased to say that franchisee, Clyde Yost, is still with us. The first franchise is certainly the hardest one to sell. You are selling your idea, and at that point, no one other than you has any reason to believe that your idea and business plan can be duplicated.

If you walk into the National Property Inspections, Inc., corporate office today, it is well-decorated, has nice furnishings, provides a professional training room, and has all the amenities we need to operate our business. We are successful, and our office shows that. Let’s turn back the clock 30 years:

Back in 1987, I had rented a small office and purchased a few furnishings. To describe the office as “Spartan frugality” would have been generous, indeed. When Clyde Yost first visited, I think I was sitting at a folding card table. For sure, I was sitting with a small electric typewriter and typing book because I was teaching myself how to type. That paid off because now I can type most three- and four-letter words without looking at the keyboard.

After Clyde and I visited about how I’d been doing inspections myself and thought the property inspection business was poised to take off, I told him I wanted to franchise it. I explained how the franchise would work, how I hoped to help him and others build an NPI business.

Clyde naturally asked, “How many franchisees do you currently have?” To which I replied, “You and two others will make three.” Clyde has a good sense of humor and thought that was sort of funny.

Clyde Yost, NPI's first franchisee, remains a franchise owner in Kansas City, Missouri.

Clyde Yost, NPI’s first franchisee, remains a franchise owner in Kansas City, Missouri.

Clyde believed in the NPI concept and became our first franchisee. Without sounding maudlin, Clyde had worked hard for his money, and I felt more than obligated to make this company successful for him, if not for myself. To this day, I try to keep all of our franchisees in mind, and I feel indebted to all of them. But I’ll admit that many of the business decisions I have made over the years I have made with Clyde and our very first meeting in mind.

Maybe there would have been an NPI without Clyde, but it certainly wouldn’t be the same. Clyde, my friend, thank you for believing in me and for everything you have done for NPI.

We have franchises available in your area. To learn more about an NPI or GPI franchise opportunity, click one of the links below:

National Property Inspections, Inc., Named in Two CNBC.com Articles

Eldon "Scooter" Holliday

Eldon “Scooter” Holliday

National Property Inspections, Inc., parent company of National Property Inspections in the United States and Global Property Inspections in Canada, is pleased to congratulate NPI franchise owner Eldon Holliday for being named one of America’s Star Franchisees 2016. The list, compiled by CNBC.com in conjunction with research partner Franchise Business Review, evaluated nearly 30,000 franchise owners across the United States seeking one star franchisee in each state. Although Holliday lives in Olive Branch, Mississippi, his territory crosses the border into Memphis, and he was selected as the Tennessee star franchisee.

“I am honored to be recognized by CNBC.com,” Holliday said. “I’ve worked hard to build my NPI franchise, and I’m grateful that I’ve had a strong company behind me. That support has made all the difference. I feel like NPI is dedicated to my success.”

Holliday, whose background is in automotive repair, started his franchise nine years ago. Although he has a mind for mechanical things, he didn’t have a background in construction. He credits NPI’s top-notch training program and ongoing training to helping him achieve great success with his business.

“Eldon is a fantastic franchisee,” said Roland Bates, president and founder of National Property Inspections, Inc. “He is one of our award-winning franchise owners because he consistently pushes himself and takes his business to the next level. He has proven that our franchise system works well, and helps entrepreneurs succeed.”

CNBC.com chose America’s Star Franchisees based on franchisee satisfaction and high regard for management, as well as the following franchisor criteria:

  • Strong proof of concept in multiple markets
  • Clean review of the franchise disclosure document
  • Solid financial performance and a good opportunity for franchisee return on investment

In addition to the news about Holliday’s selection, National Property Inspections, Inc., was named yesterday on CNBC.com’s list of “9 Low-cost Franchises That Can Make You Rich.”

“We have worked very hard for many years to make our franchise one of the best,” Bates said. Because we are dedicated to our franchisees and to helping them succeed, we have high franchisee satisfaction, and that has opened doors for us. We are well-known and respected in our industry, and I am convinced that’s because we live up to our motto and operate with honesty, integrity and professionalism in everything we do.”

To read the full article about America’s Star Franchisees 2016 and learn more about Holliday’s experience with NPI, please visit http://www.cnbc.com/2016/05/11/50-big-franchise-success-stories-americas-star-franchisees-2016.html.

To learn more about an NPI or GPI franchise opportunity in your area, click one of the links below:

5 Small-business Marketing Tips From a ‘Shark’

HerjavecIf you watch ABC’s “Shark Tank,” then you are likely familiar with Robert Herjavec. Born in eastern Europe, Herjavec and his family immigrated to Canada when he was a boy to escape communism in the former Yugoslavia (now Croatia). The son of a factory worker, Herjavec emerged from humble beginnings to build and sell several companies in the IT industry. Today, his company, Herjavec Group, is recognized as a global leader in information security services.

Like many small-business owners, Herjavec started with very little — and he didn’t have a business degree. But his is a success story that proves that determination, hard work and commitment pay off in the end. Now, besides running Herjavec Group, he helps small-business entrepreneurs and start-ups take their businesses to the next level on “Shark Tank.”

It’s no wonder, then, that entrepreneurs and small-business owners are interested in what they can learn from Herjavec. Recently, Entrepreneur sat down with him and asked for his top five small-business marketing tips:

  1. Target your customers on social media.
  2. Make selling online a key part of your business model.
  3. Make your website and marketing materials visually appealing.
  4. Market to your customers in ways they are receptive to.
  5. As your business grows, hire marketing assistance.

Click here to read the full article on Entrepreneur.com.

Why Every Business Owner Needs a Mentor

By Roland Bates, President, NPI/GPI

Mentoring_shutterstock_189356114Several years ago, I read a white paper that said that about 70 percent of the decisions a business owner makes ultimately prove to be wrong. (That 70 percent is the number in the report; that is not a typo.) That’s a lot of zigzagging to get from Point A to Point B.

Imagine how much more successful business owners could be and how much faster they could grow their businesses if they reduced their errors to just 35 percent. Suffice it to say, reducing mistakes or eliminating some of the trial and error can make a huge difference.

For this reason, all new business owners should seek out at least one mentor. A mentor does not have the emotional attachment to the business that a new business owner likely has; thus, he or she can look at your business objectively. A mentor also has experience and can advise you away from making certain mistakes. A mentor who is truly interested in helping you will go out of their way to do so. Sometimes the introductions a mentor can make for you so you can expand your network are more than enough reason to seek them out.

Our role at National Property Inspections, Inc., is that of a mentor to our franchise owners, although we also encourage our franchisees to seek out one or more mentors where they live. As a franchisor, we have a proven business model, and we can help advise franchise owners on what works and what doesn’t so they can avoid so much trial and error as they start their businesses.

With that said, and as an aside, wouldn’t it be great if teenagers would listen to Mom and Dad’s advice and mentoring? Oh, well, we can dream, can’t we?

Roland PhotoRoland Bates’ high energy, willingness to work hard and optimistic outlook are the cornerstones of success for NPI and GPI. His easy manner and family attitude inspire a friendly and close atmosphere at the company. Before he founded NPI/GPI in 1987, Roland owned a general contracting company, where he worked for eight years as a general contractor. Prior to that, he spent five years as a property claims supervisor and regional claims manager.

To learn more about an NPI or GPI franchise opportunity in your area, click one of the links below:

Self-employment Tax Mistakes

RE0025Some business owners attempt to save money by preparing their own taxes. In the end, they actually may pay more in taxes than are necessary, or they may underpay, which could result in losing hundreds or thousands of dollars.

According to an article published by Tyler Martin, CPA, here’s a list of things business owners commonly forget on their taxes:

Deduct Advertising and Promotion Costs. This includes media, Internet and any other advertising that promotes your business. It would also include novelty items or promotional gifts, such as coffee cups, t-shirts and pens with your company name or logo on them.

Deduct Dues and Subscriptions. This includes magazines and periodicals that are necessary for your business, as well as membership fees paid to any business-related organization.

Deduct Licenses and Permits. If your city requires a business license, make sure to deduct the cost of it.

Deduct Business-related Internet Costs. If you use the Internet for your business or have a website, then there is a good chance some or all of your Internet bill is deductible.

Deduct Business-related Cellular and Telephone Expenses. Calls or lines for business purposes are all deductible.

Deduct Office Supplies. Office supplies used for your business are deductible.

Deduct Business-related Meals and Entertainment. Do you take clients out to lunch or dinner to discuss business? If so, 50 percent of these costs is deductible.

Deduct Business-related Travel. Whether it’s airfare and hotel costs to attend a trade show or the cost of gas to drive to training or an industry event, you can deduct these expenses.

Deduct Business-related Auto Expenses. There are couple of ways you can deduct auto expenses, such as tracking your mileage or deducting the cost of a vehicle dedicated solely to your business. It’s best to consult a tax expert to determine how much you should deduct.

Deduct Business-related Electronic Equipment. Computers, printers and smartphones used for business are partially or fully deductible.

Deduct Outside Services. Costs related to your business, such as tax and accounting help, are typically deductible.

Pay Self-employment Tax. If you are a newly self-employed person, you may not be aware that you will be responsible for a new tax: self-employment tax. It can add to your tax bill quickly, so make sure you understand how the tax is computed and plan your cash flow accordingly.

Pay Payroll Taxes: If you operate your business solo as owner and operator, then you may have yet to face the complications of payroll taxes. As your business grows and prospers, you may need to hire employees. Payroll taxes can be complicated due to compliance policies and deadlines. Inaccurately paid payroll taxes can, in fact, cause businesses to go “belly up,” according to Jessie Seaman, a licensed tax professional and senior staff associate at Tax Defense Network.

Some of the stress and pressures of calculating or miscalculating taxes that are due can be relieved by outsourcing to a tax professional. The fees incurred to hire a licensed tax professional are relatively cheap in comparison to the potential expenses paid by the business for improperly prepared tax returns.

In addition to considering hiring a professional, it is crucial to keep good records throughout the year, and you can pay taxes quarterly to stay on task. If you are not keeping up with expenses and receipts and/or avoiding deadlines, it will be very difficult to try to accurately run down all documentation and figures that are required in order to file your taxes.

Want to Be a Successful Business Owner? Don’t Make These Mistakes

7K0A0014-2While the idea of owning a business is a dream for many people, there are times when entrepreneurs fail to think things through. Funding the business, having an in-demand product or service to sell, and hiring employees are some of the common challenges that entrepreneurs face:

  • Hiring employees too quickly can financially drain your business. If you pay people to do nothing, and no sales are generated from their work, then employing a staff is a financial loss.
  • Borrowing money from lenders can be of great service to you, but don’t make the mistake of borrowing more than you really need. You will likely spend that money and have to pay interest back on money you didn’t really need to borrow.
  • Assuming your business will make money in the early years is one of the most common mistakes entrepreneurs make. If your business shows a profit early on, that’s great — but don’t assume it will, and be prepared for all of the expenses.
  • Marketing your business is necessary and takes time. You must market to both win and retain customers who may not know anything about you or your business.
  • Leasing Space You Don’t Need. If you don’t really need a retail or office space, then don’t rent it. You can save money working from home — and receive a few tax incentives for doing so.

Many successful entrepreneurs did not succeed at first and experienced their fair share of trial and error to find out what works for them. Check out these business leaders who failed before they succeeded:

  • Akio Morita is the founder of Sony products. The first product was a rice burner that burned the rice. But Morita kept pushing forward with new ideas.
  • Bill Gates started a company called Traf-O-Data that failed, and he dropped out of Harvard. Gates didn’t give up, though, as he is the billionaire behind Microsoft.
  • Colonel Sanders was 65 years old when he founded Kentucky Fried Chicken. Did you know his famous secret recipe was rejected more than 1,000 times before a restaurant agreed to use it?
  • Henry Ford’s first two automobile companies failed and left him broke. He refused to give up, though, and founded Ford Motor Company with assembly line production. The result: He was once known as one of the three richest men in the world.
  • Walt Disney was fired by an editor for lack of imagination and having no original ideas. His first animation company went bankrupt, and he was turned down hundreds of times for loans to build Disney World. Today, the Disney Company averages $30 billion in revenue annually.

Many people have failed at first only to ultimately succeed. Learn from them and gain inspiration from them on your journey as an entrepreneur.

If you are ready to make your dream of owning a business come true, National Property Inspections in the United States and Global Property Inspections in Canada have franchise opportunities available in your area. Contact Julie Erickson at 1.800.333.9807, Ext. 24, for information about our property inspection franchise opportunities.

What Makes a Good Entrepreneur?

IMG_0801Many people dream of becoming prosperous business owners; however, achieving that goal is challenging and requires hard work. Some people never take the initiative to try to make it happen — possibly due to fear and/or lack of ambition. Granted, some people seem to be born with the talent for becoming successful business owners. Others may attempt entrepreneurship without really understanding what makes good business sense.

So, how can you determine whether you have what it takes to become a successful business owner? The following are some characteristics that will go a long way to improving your chance of success.

  • Stay Flexible: As a business owner, you can’t always predict what a customer will want or how your day will go. Staying flexible will help you keep calm in situations where a customer or employee has special needs and requests.
  • Build Relationships. Try to get to know each and every customer, especially as you are building your business. This may become challenging if you grow into a successful business and have a significant number of customers, but you should still try to connect with every one of them. Your early customers are critical to your growth; they will refer friends and family members to you, often saying, “Hey, go down to such-and-such place and tell them I sent you.”
  • Don’t Be Narcissistic. If you want to build a business, you will find that simply being likable is a great asset. Don’t treat people as if they are beneath you. Don’t make everything about you — consider your customers and employees, too.
  • Learn to Market Yourself. Personal relationships and word of mouth are effective ways to build your business. You also need to market your business by other means such as Internet directories, your website, local newspapers and publications, and getting out in the community. This will enable you to contact new customers in a wider area and at a faster rate than simply relying on your existing customer base to send you new business.
  • Build a Business You Like. Yes, it is helpful to like what you do, but the bigger question is can you sell what you like? Will consumers want or need to buy what you are offering? As a potential entrepreneur, make sure your business is one that is in demand and that consumers will seek out.

What You Need to Know Before Signing a Franchise Agreement

IMG_1300When you decide to become an entrepreneur, making the investment in your financial future can be a big decision. Your thought process should be thorough and precise before you make the final choice about how you will invest your money and time. Some people may choose to start their own businesses and create their own business models through trial and error. They feel ambitious and confident enough to do it all on their own.

Other business-savvy individuals choose to take what they feel is a safer, more secure approach to starting a business. They believe that a franchise is the best decision for them, as the business model is already in place and proven, and the company already has brand recognition.

Once you have decided to become a part of a franchise system, you should be aware of some things and make some considerations:

  • Understand the franchise agreement. The franchise agreement is the legally binding contract between you and the franchisor. Read this document carefully and make sure you understand every statement in it. The franchise agreement specifies the obligations, responsibilities and rights of both you and the franchisor, and it outlines actions that you and franchisor are prohibited from engaging in. Both you and the franchisor must sign the franchise agreement. If there is anything in the franchise agreement that you do not understand or do not totally agree with, then you shouldn’t just sign on the dotted line thinking it will work itself out in the future. It probably won’t.
  • Respect the franchisor’s supervision. Although you may not have an onsite supervisor for your franchise, being a part of a franchise means you must abide by the franchisor’s rules and protocols. If you don’t like taking direction from someone else, then you may want to reconsider becoming part of a franchise. A reputable franchise has proven methods and models for success, and the franchisor will stand by those — after all, they have succeeded based on the processes that work.
  • Obtain legal advice. It may wise to hire a franchise attorney for your own protection. An attorney can explain the entire agreement to you and possibly renegotiate terms that you may be concerned about or want to amend before you sign and are legally bound to the franchisor.
  • Investigate the opportunity thoroughly. Learn how much money you will need and the support and training that is available for you once you purchase the franchise. Make sure you like what the franchisor offers, and research the franchisor’s reputation. Ask lots of questions:
    • Will you have an exclusive area to provide your services?
    • Will you have minimum sales numbers to meet?
    • Can you get out of the agreement, and what would that entail?

Investing in a franchise can be the best business decision for you to get your business running. Just be sure to take the necessary steps so you know the legalities you could potentially encounter, the franchisor’s expectations and reputation, and the market for the franchise. Finding answers to your questions or concerns ahead of time can save you time and energy. Besides, a legitimate, reputable franchisor would not want you to enter into an agreement with them with doubts. Your success and confidence is a reflection on them.