10 Places Where You Can Create Gift Cards for Your Small Business

With the holidays approaching, now is a great time for businesses to start thinking about tapping into the $124 billion-a-year gift card industry. Gift cards have long been an effective way to boost holiday sales. For small businesses unsure where to start with the marketing and selling of gift cards, fortunately there are a whole host of gift card tools available for small businesses.

Places Where You Can Create Gift Cards for Your Small Business

Giftfly

Online gift cards — aka eGift cards — appeal to many consumers who can purchase such cards at the last minute, even on Christmas morning! Hence offering eGift cards provides a cost-effective and lucrative opportunity for small businesses.

Small businesses can start selling and promoting their online gift cards instantly with Giftly. Giftly is a custom eGift card platform which enables business owners to create, sell and market their own eGift cards. Small businesses can also track eGift card transactions in real-time using the Giftly program.

Square

Small businesses can sell gift cards, both in person and online, with Square. Whether it’s eGift cards online or plastic gift cards in store, Square provides a complete gifting program solution for retailers. For businesses that already accept payment with Square, the gift card program works seamlessly with Square point of sale and the Square dashboard.

Roller

Roller develops inclusive online gift card software designed to enable small businesses to create additional revenue through gift cards that are personalized for their brand and customers. Roller’s gift card app allows retailers to sell digital or physical gift cards directly from their websites. The gift card app also provides businesses with the tools required to manage the redemption process.

Yiftee

Similar to Giftly, Yiftee is an eGift program designed to help small businesses increase revenue with online gift cards. The platform enables small businesses to create instant, custom-branded eGift cards, and provide cost-effective, pay-for-performance promotions that businesses can control. Businesses can also benefit from reports that measure and optimize campaigns with real-time data.

Duracard

Of course, not all consumers shop online and not everyone wants to receive an eGift card. Hence small retailers may want to make physical, plastic gift cards part of their holiday marketing and sales-boosting efforts.

Duracard creates custom plastic gift cards, printed with a magnetic stripe or barcode to which businesses can apply a dollar value. With Duracard, retailers can control the value of the card electronically, which generates a renewable balance and creates opportunities for repeat shopping and the nurturing of customer loyalty.

Givex

Givex offers retailers the opportunity to enable customers to buy and receive gifts cards online or directly on their mobile devices with eGift cards. By creating innovations in gift card technology, businesses can even create their own branded mobile wallet for convenient payments with Givex.

Plastic Printers

Regardless of whether a business requires 10 plastic gift cards or a million, Plastic Printers provides comprehensive support in building and maintaining a cost-effective gift card program. Plastic Printers’ custom gift cards are compatible with any point-of-sale system. Businesses can create a personalized, branded look by including their company logo on Plastic Printers’ custom gift cards.

My1Stop.com

My1Stop.com offers online printing services for businesses, including custom gift card printing. My1Stop.com’s gift cards come printed with a stripe of barcode to which retailers then apply the cash amount. The company provides a fast delivery of gift cards, as well as an easy online ordering service and competitive, instant pricing. Businesses can use My1Stop.com’s templates to ensure the highest quality of art and design is used to craft eye-catching and unique gift cards to portray a business in the most professional of lights.

Plastic Card City

Plastic Card City provides businesses on a budget the chance to offer customers printed gift cards, designed to build brand awareness and increase revenue. Plastic Card Printing is committed to ensuring gift cards stand out by being strikingly designed and durable, the company says. These specialists in the creation of physical gift cards for retailers claim to provide businesses with a quality gift card program at the lowest possible cost.

Vistaprint

When it comes to any promotional, branded products for businesses, Vistaprint is a well-known name.  Vistaprint provides gift certificates for businesses designed to help customers spread the word about your  brand. Vistaprints’ gift certificates can be personalized by using the company’s templates with the brand’s logo, text and photos.

With around 80 percent of consumers having either received or given a gift card within the last year, your business may want to start utilizing the profit-boosting benefits of gift cards ahead of the holidays?

Gift Card Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "10 Sources of Custom Gift Cards for Small Businesses" was first published on Small Business Trends

10 Full Service and Casual Restaurant Franchise Opportunities to Consider

If there’s one business that will always be in demand, it’s restaurants. Whether you fancy yourself serving sizzling steaks or dishing out delicious delicacies, opening your own franchise with a leading restaurant name, provides the perfect opportunity to dive straight into a thriving business.

Casual Restaurant Franchise Opportunities

Take a look at the following 10 full service or casual restaurant franchise opportunities to consider.

Dunkin Donuts

With over 70 varieties of donuts, alongside bagels, sandwiches and other tasty snacks, Dunkin Donuts has no trouble attracting customers. This popular eatery brand has over 130 years of franchising experience. With an investment of between $228,620 and $1,691,200, you could be running your own thriving Dunkin Donuts site.

Bennigan’s Grill and Tavern

Founded in 1976, Benningan’s Grill and Tavern is an iconic restaurant brand across the United States. Bennigan’s offers franchising opportunities for entrepreneurs to extend the success of this well-known dining brand. An initial investment of $1,400,000 to $2,600,000 is required, as well as a franchise fee of $35,000 to $65,000 and a royalty fee of 4 percent.

Western Sizzlin

The popular family steakhouse Western Sizzlin has been franchising since 2009. An initial investment of between $1,061,000 and $4,500,000 is needed to get your stake in a Western Sizzlin franchise.

abc Country Restaurants

abc Country Restaurants provide franchise opportunities for those wanting to run their own restaurant with a successful and well-known bistro brand. Acquiring an abc Country Restaurant franchise requires a fee of $50,000 and an additional royalty fee of 4 percent. A 2 percent advertising fee is also required, which is based on monthly sales volumes.

Eggspectation

Eggspectation provides a casual dining experience and is one of the fastest-growing casual-style restaurant chains in North America. Those determined to run their own informal dining establishment can apply to be a franchisee with Eggspectation. Perspective franchisers need a minimum of 5 years experience as an owner operator in the casual dining  industry and a minimum liquidity of $250,000.

Bar Louie

Bar Louie is a national bar brand, well-known for its cocktails and quality food. Those interested in joining the 100-strong network of Bar Louie franchises can apply to be a franchisee. A financial commitment of $500,000 in liquid assets and a $1.5 million net worth is required to run a Bar Louie franchise.

KFC Corp.

Kentucky Fried Chicken has been dishing out delicious chicken since it was founded in 1930. The company is seeking new franchise units across the world. An initial investment of $1,465,000 to $2,286,000 is required to become a KFC Corp. franchisee.

Albert’s Family Restaurant

Albert’s invites those interested in running their own successful restaurant to join this family-friendly eatery brand. Those with a passion for the restaurant trade and a desire to succeed are required to make an investment of between $280,000 and $400,000. An initial franchise fee of $25,000 will provide franchisees with the license to operate under Albert’s Family Restaurant name.

Perkins Restaurant and Bakery

Starting out as a pancake house in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1948, Perkins Restaurant and Bakery has grown into a fully-fledged restaurant and bakery chain with units in more than 500 locations around the United States. The company offers franchise opportunities for those interested in running their own Perkins Restaurant and Bakery store. An initial investment of $1,579,625 to $2,355,625 is required.

Big Boy Restaurants

Big Boy Restaurants are popular family restaurants promoting their fine food and great customer service across the US. An initial investment of $861,800 to $3,568,000 is required to be part of one of America’s most iconic eatery brands.

Burgers and Beer Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "10 Full Service and Casual Restaurant Franchise Opportunities to Consider" was first published on Small Business Trends

Twitter Promote Mode Automatically Promotes Tweets for $99 a Month

If you’re struggling with setting up a social media ad campaign, Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) has just introduced a solution right up your alley.

The new Twitter Promote Mode is an “always-on, amplification engine” which automatically boosts tweets and profiles.

By repeatedly promoting tweets, Promote Mode consistently attracts more followers and creates additional reach. The Promote Mode feature costs a flat fee of $99 a month.

Twitter Promote Mode for Small Businesses

Small businesses recognize the importance of using Twitter to grow their online presence, reach out and engage with customers and ultimately help sell more products or services.

However, devoting sufficient time and knowing how to adequately market on Twitter can be difficult for many small businesses. Promote Mode allows small businesses to carry out effective ad campaigns on Twitter — with barely any effort.

In an official post about the launch of Promote Mode, Wook Chung, Director of Product Management at Twitter, explained how the social media channel’s first subscription ad product is designed to benefit small businesses.

“Small businesses and individuals using Promote Mode can expect their followers and influence to steadily grow every month, as long as they are actively tweeting. The most successful people will keep Promote Mode toggled on while they focus on creating their best tweets. But if they need to take a break, they can toggle Promote Mode off and pause all promotions. This doesn’t pause their subscription or billing.”

The Promote Mode feature is designed to be accessed on mobile devices using the Twitter app. Small businesses can conveniently access the Promote Mode dashboard by tapping the Promote Mode icon from within the app.

On the dashboard, businesses will be able to gain insight into how much the feature is enriching their Twitter profile, including how many more followers they have gained, and how many people have visited their profile that month.

How well businesses perform using Promote Mode will be influenced on various factors, such as their target market selection and the frequency and content of their tweets.

Image: Twitter

This article, "Twitter Promote Mode Automatically Boosts Small Business Tweets for $99 a Month" was first published on Small Business Trends

10 Top Livestreaming Tools for Small Businesses

Eighty percent of online audiences would sooner watch live video from your brand than read your blog, according to statics collected by live video platform Livestream. What’s more, the data suggests 81 percent would rather see live video from your company than social media posts. Livestreaming video content is a powerful new tool in the digital marketing toolbox that no small business can afford to ignore.

Top Livestreaming Tools

Given the prodigious rise in demand for livestreamed content, here’s a list of 10 top livestreaming tools to help small businesses get the most out of their live broadcasting efforts.

Google Hangouts on Air

Google Hangouts on Air is a free livestreaming tool for businesses with Google Plus profiles. Through a Google Plus or YouTube channel, up to 10 users can broadcast simultaneously. When a business is streaming live, anyone with access to the web address can view the live video content.

IBM Cloud Video Streaming Manager

IBM Cloud Video Streaming Manager is a cloud-based platform designed for the external delivery of on-demand and live video content to potentially large audiences.

The IBM Cloud Video Streaming Manager is a particularly effective solution for businesses looking to market their products, such as during product launch events. However, while there is a free trial, the platform is also more expensive than others, some of which are free. The professional version starts at $99 per month.

Vimeo Live

Vimeo Live provides professional live streaming for business events and to announce other news a business may want to share live. Vimeo Live offers full HD broadcasts of events in up to 1080p. What’s more, viewers aren’t potentially put off by being interrupted by adverts before, after or during a business’s live stream.

Vimeo’s cloud transcoding means businesses can have peace of mind viewers will be watching the highest of quality videos across all devices. But again there’s a cost — starting at $75 per month — for the service.

Facebook Live

Businesses can use their Facebook channel to share live content with their followers and others who are interested in their brand for free. Attendees of the live broadcast can join the event from their mobile device so there’s no excuse for missing a brand’s livestreaming events.

With the Facebook Live tool, businesses can even select their audience and receive feedback live from viewers in the comment section. They can also measure how many viewers the livestreaming session attracted.

Busker

Busker is a platform that allows businesses and other users to broadcast live content and engage with viewers — with a twist. This interactive livestreaming tool encourages the audience to join in and comment during the live streaming event, thus helping small businesses engage with viewers and build rapport with customers.

But also unique is that Busker lets your audience financially support and even buy products  through Busker. The app can be broadcast over both iOS and Android devices.

Instagram Live Video

Instagram is becoming an increasingly important social media platform for businesses. The popular social media channel offers an Instagram Live Video feature which businesses can use to share live content with their followers in real-time.

The Live Video interface shows the number of viewers viewing the video and any comments that have been made. For accounts that are public, anyone can view a business’s live video content on Instagram.

Periscope Producer

In 2016, Twitter unveiled Periscope Producer, designed to allow businesses and live video creators to share high-quality video, produced live, on Twitter and Periscope.

Periscope Producer enables the creators of live videos to stream top-quality broadcasts from external sources, including streaming software and professional cameras, available on the latest Periscope Android, iOS and web.

YouTube Live

YouTube has long been a must-use forum for small businesses striving to maximize their online presence and showcase their products and services to a global audience. But YouTube now also offers a live feature which users can access by clicking ‘live events’.

Businesses simply need to verify their account, set up their webcam and engage with their target audience in real-time. For businesses wanting to go the extra mile with YouTube Live, professional controls are available to use with the broadcast, which enable businesses to monetize their videos with advertisements.

Livestream

Livestream is a service designed for businesses that are determined to optimize the quality and appeal of their live video content. Livestream provides three packages for business — all pay though there is a free trial.

The Basic package is designed to help beginners in video broadcasting, the Premium packages are for small business use and the Enterprise package is for larger organizations with specific and advanced live streaming requirements. The lowest priced package starts at $75 per month.

Bambuser

It is Bambuser’s mission to provide the easiest and most superior solutions for real-time mobile video sharing. By using a system of hashtags and apps, Bambuser provides a livestreaming tool that helps businesses bring their live broadcasts to the masses, thus generating maximum exposure.

There is a free version of Bambuser, which has limited editing functions. There are also paid options with more advanced features and tools, which start at $45 a month.

Video Selfie Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "10 Top Livestreaming Tools for Small Businesses" was first published on Small Business Trends

15 Child Care Franchise Business Opportunities to Consider

Working parents will always require help with child care. In fact, it’s hardly surprising that child care is a $47.8 billion a year industry, that’s growing. For this reason, child care presents a sought-after opportunity for entrepreneurs looking for a rewarding and stable business venture to become involved in.

Child Care Franchise List

If you’re thinking about starting your own child care business, take a look at the following 15 child care franchise business opportunities that provide the perfect route into this thriving and rewarding industry.

Children’s Lighthouse

Children’s Lighthouse offers child care services for children from six weeks old up to 12 years. The company was founded in Texas in the 1990s and started franchising in 1999. This child care organization has more than 40 franchises in the United States and is seeking new units.

An initial investment of $635,500 to $4,511,000 is required. Franchisees are provided with comprehensive home office training, as well as ongoing training and field support. The company also provides strong marketing and advertising programs to help franchisees build enrollment and retain customers.

All About Kids

All About Kids are childcare and learning centers that operate in various locations in Kentucky and Ohio. It is one of the fastest-growing childcare franchises in the area. Franchisees benefit from joining an experienced team, which has a successful business model in place. Suitable applicants don’t need to be experienced in child care, just a good business sense and the ambition to succeed.

An initial franchise investment with All About Kids is between $2,677,500 to $3,372,500.

Primrose School Franchising Co.

Primrose Schools provide child care programs for young children, from six weeks to six years old. The organization offers Quality Assurance Programs and is committed to continuing educations for teachers.

Primrose School Franchising Co. has been franchising since 1989. It currently has around 350 franchises and is seeking new units throughout the US. An initial investment of between $716,680 to $5,829,078 is required and a liquid cash requirement of $480,562 to $699,489. Franchisees benefit from a road map and support system, designed to help them navigate the challenges of site selection and school development.

Discovery Point

Discovery Point is a leading child care business located in the south-eastern region of the United States. The company offers the opportunity for people interested in child care and child development, the chance to pursue a rewarding career in early childhood care and education.

Discovery Point has been franchising since 1990 and has more than 40 franchises throughout south-eastern US. An initial franchise fee of $75,000 to $75,000 is required, as well as an ongoing royalty fee of $5.4K per monthly. Discovery Point’s turnkey business model enables franchisees to begin providing quality child care without delay.

Kiddie Academy

Kiddie Academy was founded in 1981 and has been franchising since 1992. The organization has getting on for 200 franchises throughout the US and is looking to open new units that are led talented individuals from diverse backgrounds.

A liquid capital requirement of $200,000 if leasing is required and $500,000 if purchasing. Franchisees do not need a child care background to be successful with Kiddie Academy’s franchise opportunity, just commitment to follow the company’s proven systems.

KLA Schools

KLA Schools franchises are continuing to grow nationwide. The company is looking for qualified franchisees who are passionate about the care and education of young children. The schools originated in 2008 and opened the KLA Schools Franchise Program in 2010.

An upfront cash investment of $90,000 is required. Potential earnings depend on the size of the school. Applicants must have a background in education. Franchisees can decide how involved in the school’s daily operations they would like to be.

Goddard School Franchise

Goddard School offers child year programs all year round for children from six weeks to six years old, including summer programs and after-school enrichment. The company started franchising in 1988 and has more than 460 locations nationwide.

The minimum investment required is $704,800 to $764,600 and a minimum cash injection of $150,000. The Goddard School’s leadership team comprises of experience professionals in franchising, education and child card, and provide franchisees with the help and support required to develop their business.

Rainbow Station

Rainbow Station has 25 years of building successful franchise operations. The organization’s franchise model ensures a franchisee’s mission for providing children with quality care and education will be met.

An initial investment of $3,546,150 to $6,473,700 is required to become a Rainbow Station business owner and benefit from a system that encourages teacher and administration ownership, innovation and collaboration.

Genius Kids

Genius Kids is an independent accelerated learning center and franchise, which is driven by an ethos that every child is a ‘genius.’ There are around 34 Genius Kids child care centers around the US.

The organization offers franchise opportunities for interested individuals to own their own thriving Genius Kids business. An initial investment of $239,900 to $619,500 is required. Franchisees receive ongoing support and training to help them run a successful Genius Kids franchise.

Creative World School

Creative World School was established in 1970 in Missouri. Today, more than 5,000 families choose a Creative World School to care for and educate their children. Creative World offers franchise opportunities from initial investments of between $2,435,300 to $5,206,000. Franchisees are provided with all the necessary tools and training to build a business that contributes to developing communities and building children’s futures.

Lightbridge Academy

Franchises with Lightbridge Academy provide programs for children aged six weeks to six years. These programs include summer camps and after-school enrichment. The company currently has almost 30 franchise units across several states.

An initial investment of $525,728 to $728,635 is required to run a Lightbridge Academy Franchise. Successful franchisees must embody Lightbridge Academy’s core values and a mutual appreciation of integrity, leadership and the ability to provide the highest quality of care to youngsters.

Seeking Sitters

Seeking Sitters provides low-cost and efficient babysitting, child care and nanny services around the US. The company’s professionally-designed online programs provide time management systems to help franchisees successfully run their own babysitting franchise. The initial investment is between $59,200 and $91,000.

Adventure Kids Playcare

For anyone with a passion for kids and the desire to run their own business, starting an Adventure Kids franchise could be the best move. Qualified applicants must have a positive personality, be energetic, and love being around children.

The organization has around nine franchises around the United States. An initial investment fee of $344,250 to $589,000 is required.

The Learning Experience Academy of Early Education

Franchises with the Learning Experience Academy of Early Education are available at sites across the United States. The Learning Experience has been providing childcare services, centered on an educational aspect, for more than 30 years.

An initial financial investment of $493,549 to $3,585,549 is required. Franchisees benefit from comprehensive training, operational support and proven enrichment programs, systems and technology in the classrooms.

Kids R Kids

Kids R Kids offer those with a passion for caring for children the opportunity to provide a much-needed service to their community. The organization has more than 30 years’ franchising experience and uses a proven operating system. Kids R Kids utilizes a quality real estate system, full real estate brokerage services and a comprehensive start-up process with string owner communication and involvement.

Interested parties should contact Kids R Kids to find out more about investment fees and requirements.

Pilot Aviator Kid Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "15 Child Care Business Franchises to Consider" was first published on Small Business Trends