Want to learn more about who we are and what we stand for?  Here is a good place to start.

Franchising with a Dose of Reality

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

It’s been almost 18 months since I purchased Monkey Bizness – both the franchise and a couple of our locations – and the observations and learning that happens regularly amazes me.  My ideas of what a franchise is, and who the perfect owners should be in our system continues to evolve.

At the end of the day, franchising is an opportunity to own a small business.    The operative word in that sentences is “own”.  That’s right, it is your small business.  While franchising sets you up with a proven model and support system, as well as a sales and marketing system to help grow your business, at the end of the day it is your business.  You have control over which employees to hire, what roles they play and how you train them.  You also control how you market yourself in the community, what local businesses you align yourself with, and what daily specials to run. Last, but not least, you control the culture you setup within your business.

I often have talks with potential franchisees who say something to the effect “I can’t believe it costs (insert a number) to start a Monkey Bizness”.  My response is, it costs that much to start any business.  The only difference is a franchisee fee to open a Monkey Bizness, utilizing our brand and infrastructure.  As a potential franchisee, you should analyze whether you think the return on that fee when it comes to opening and ongoing support, sales and marketing support, and our systems are worth it.  The rest of the startup costs will be the same whether it be a Monkey Bizness with name recognition and systems or your own indoor family center.

I talk with many people who have very good paying jobs but are looking for something different… something that lets them be their own boss.  That sounds great, but I can say from experience that you take your paycheck for granted until you don’t get one regularly anymore.  Sometimes I sit here and think (again, from experience) that business owners are crazy.  Why would anyone choose to accept all of this risk?  You can make more money doing other things and you certainly can find other occupations that cause less stress.  So why do so many people do it?  Because being your own boss rocks!  I control my time and destiny.  I could list all the reasons why I did it, but they would be mine, not yours.  It’s a decision that you need to make based on your situation and life goals.

As I stand now, I don’t regret taking the plunge at all.  However, as I continue to talk with others looking to make a similar move, I want to make sure they are armed with all of the knowledge they need to make such a large decision, and we will be there with you ever step of the way.

To learn more about franchising your own Monkey Bizness location, please click here and take the journey with us!

How to Sell a Birthday Party

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

“We open the doors and people come.” I have heard that saying from some of my franchisees and franchisees of similar concepts to Monkey Bizness.  While there is no doubt that this business will draw people in purely because their kids will enjoy the environment, imagine the power you could harness by putting sales systems in place on top of this philosophy.

Basic sales systems are well documented and used in most businesses.  I would argue that most successful businesses have some sort of sales system.  At the most basic level, sales systems have leads which they try to convert into sales.  Each system has a process which places prospects into a funnel and a certain percentage are then converted to sales, and along the way there are a number of touch points.  The businesses that are most successful are best at the conversion process.

What does a good conversion process look like?  It has multiple and consistent touch points with the lead and often uses messaging that is powerful, flexible and persuasive.  As businesses continue to refine this process or funnel, they generally start to get a better feel for the close ratio. This can be powerful as businesses then start to ask questions like “If we can close 30% of our leads, how can we get more leads into the system?”

These are the processes that can provide value to franchisees.  At Monkey Bizness we have started to roll out a new sales system to better control a prospect’s birthday purchasing decision.  While many of our weekends operate at high enough capacity, we ask the question, “What if we could do more?”

Through trial, errors, testing and other means, we have put together a sales system which can help drive revenue and customer satisfaction with the right amount of participation from our franchisees.

To learn more, contact us!

Item 19’s Are Important, But Not More than Your Research

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

It’s been one year since I purchased and have been the franchisor of the Monkey Bizness concept.  One of the biggest benefits I have seen from this venture is that I get to network with many other aspiring entrepreneurs not just about franchising with us, but about what their ambitions and goals are.

Inevitably, one focus of this conversation is money.  In the franchising world, this conversation often starts with the FDD’s Item 19, Financial Performance Representations.  As a certified public accountant, this is right in my wheel house, but I often cringe when I hear how much reliance is put on these numbers.  In full disclosure, Monkey Bizness did not list figures in Item 19 this year due to not owning the company for the full year in 2015.

The reason I cringe at the over reliance on this is how one of our competitors presents their Item 19.  First, they give you the average sales per unit for all of their stores, approximately $560,000.  Then, they list their average sales for California and the Northeast Region.  These two areas represent approximately 36% of their stores, but 46% of their total sales.  So, if you aren’t lucky enough to live in this 7-state region, your actual average sales are approximately $474,000.

The above example doesn’t even go into the fact there are also approximately 2 pages of disclosures to summarize the data in these supposedly straight-forward 3 tables.  Nor does it relay the fact that you are given an average of store sales that could be wildly different depending on whether you live in Washington or Texas.  There are a lot more questions, but this is a blog post so I need to be somewhat concise….

While this is all perfectly fair and ethical (after all, they do disclose what is actually in the tables), this leads to a bigger point.  While some franchise systems’ Item 19 is pretty straight-forward, more often times than not you end up trying to comprehend what is actually being disclosed.  I am a CPA, and even I get lost in the facts and figures sometimes.  While Item 19 is important, the most imperative analysis is done by you, the prospective franchisee.

This sort of financial analysis often takes the form of a “model”, which is a fancy word for projected financial statements.  A CPA or financial advisor can often help you to build your model.  But the most important step in building your model is determined by your assumptions.  For our business, those major assumptions include the number of birthday parties, the number of open play visitors, rent, etc.  These assumptions will vary depending on the geographic location and the demographics in your area.  This will often give you the clearest sense of how much money you can make in the business.

Monkey Bizness has produced a model template for you to begin with that can be downloaded here.  The model can be updated for your assumptions, that are specific to your given market.  It is meant to be a starting point, not an ending point. We would love to talk more with you about franchising and Item 19 specifically.  You can reach out to us here.

The Value of Values – the Economics Behind Core Values

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

I began my career as an accountant and went to work for a large regional firm.   On day 1, I sat in a conference room with twenty or so other new employees, while a partner detailed to us the firm’s core values and mission.  Being right out of college and already knowing everything, I was tired of the talk before it started and just wanted to get to work.  However, over my next 7 years at the firm, a funny thing happened.  The core values and beliefs started to stick, and they started to be a part of my vocabulary.  At a certain point, I wasn’t just a bearer of these values, but I was a teacher of them.

When you are in an environment like that, you don’t see the importance of that culture until it is gone.  I have since been at a couple of other companies which lack this strong set of values, and it was noticeable.  It’s not that these other places aren’t great companies, but the employees lack a common thread that binds them together and points them towards a goal.

Talking to a small businesses about core values can be a tough sell.  There is not a direct economic value that correlates with the implementation of core values.  Or, at least that is the common thought.  I am here to tell you that there is indeed an impact on the bottom line for organizations that have a strong set of core values.

Organizations that implement and live their core values on a daily basis improve effectiveness within the organization and its’ workforce.  This leads to less turnover, better customer retention and satisfaction and a higher degree of ownership from employees.  Now tell me that these qualities don’t impact the bottom line.   That’s not just my opinion, it is also the opinion of people much smarter than me.  For instance, one recent study from Aon Hewitt showed that every incremental percentage point increase in employee engagement resulted in 0.6% sales growth.  I think it is more than that. For small businesses that are essentially starting from very little employee engagement, this could result in huge sales growth.

However, there are some reasons that don’t correlate with the bottom line directly to implement core values of your own.  A while back, I was having a conversation with one of my franchisees about a few customer complaints that I had received related to their store.  We were talking about customer service, and during the conversation I came to the realization that customer service meant something different to them.   Neither of our definitions were right or wrong, they were just different.  Since putting a common set of values in place, we now speak the same vocabulary.  When we talk about expectations, empathy, recovery and trust (our four Laws of the Jungle) we are on the same page.

Monkey Bizness is in the process of implementing our core values.  I have come to learn that it will always be a process.  Our values will grow and change but we will stay with it.  Not just because it helps the bottom line, but because our values will be what define us.

If you have ever thought about franchising with Monkey Bizness, visit our website for a plethora of information about what we have to offer the right franchisee!