So that’s how Facebook makes money… Franchise trends… Sydney parking more expensive than NY… Selling a plane on eBay…

So that’s how Facebook makes money…

Facebook has doubled the price it charges businesses to sponsor a group on the booming social network site, according to Silicon Valley gossip sheet Valleywag.

Apparently a three-month sponsorship of a Facebook group now costs a cool $US300,000, up from the $US150,000 it had charged until recently. That buys advertising space around pages associated with particular groups, such as graduates of a particular university or fans of a particular TV show, or the opportunity to have sponsored text included in the news feed that pops up on the home page of a Facebook user when they login.

Valleywag says the increased price is accompanied by an increase in the number of sponsored stories and homepage links the buyer gets, something Facebook can deliver because of the incredibly rapid growth of its user base.

Franchise trends – who’s shopping for a franchise

The top two motivating factors for Australians planning to buy a franchise before 2010 are the potential to earn and the enhanced lifestyle offered by the change of career path, a recent survey has found.

Franchised mortgage brokers Mortgage Choice commissioned a survey of people aged 25 to 55 earning more than $60,000 and year. It found the top reason for running their own franchise was ‘income potential’. However, ‘improved lifestyle’ came a very close second.

Gen-Ys interested in franchising are more motivated to improve their lifestyle and control their work time, than make money. By contrast, baby boomers interested in franchising want to make money first, and make the most of their experience second. ‘Improved lifestyle’ came fifth for them.

But is this realistic? Franchising is hard work. And are these ‘lifestyle franchisees’ good for the growth of the industry?

But overall, the top reasons for respondents planning to run their own franchise business were:

  1. Income potential, chosen by 47.3% of respondents.
  2. Improved lifestyle (45.3%).
  3. Flexibility with the ability to control your own time/movements/etc (44.5%).
  4. Looking for stimulation, challenge and personal achievement (45.0%).
  5. Security of being your own boss (40.03%).
  6. Channel your experience into your own business (26.7%).
  7. More time for family (25.0%).

Respondents chose between six personalities to describe their current career position and almost a third described themselves as Aspirants, the biggest ‘go-getters’ on the personality list. The results were:

1. 30.2% – Aspirant. Striving to make a big change in their working career, from employee to employer or across industries in order to make a bigger splash and earn more money. They really want to make their mark.

2. 29.1% – Lifestyle Seeker. Already a high income earner, they want to continue earning big dollars but are searching for the right kind of lifestyle that comes with running their own show, whether that is from a ‘home office by the ocean’ or a multi franchise operation with outlets in each state. For them, it is all about work life balance.

3. 22.9% – Flexible. Looking for the flexibility that working from a home (or relatively small) office provides. They typically have a young family, a partner in full employment or other interests they want to pursue alongside a running a business that allows their to work their chosen hours.

4. 8.7% – Money Bags. Cashed up from previous ventures and want to hit the ground running, already having the knowledge and skills to buy or start a business that will grow quickly. They aim to have their operation running under management a short time after commencing and are considering owning more than one outlet.

5. 7.6% – Rising Star. Existing business owners who plan to seize the opportunity to operate multiple businesses/franchises of the same type. They are aiming for high revenue streams from multiple outlets and will reach for the stars in order to get there.

6. 1.4% – Other.

What kind of franchise is most popular?

  1. Retail – food, restaurants and cafès (chosen by 47.81%) – except for the 51–55 year olds who want Business & Professional Services.
  2. Business & professional services, 27.2%.
  3. Health, beauty & personal services, 21.2%.
  4. Domestic services, 19.2%.
  5. Education & training services, 19.0%.
  6. Financial services, 18.6%

More than a third spend six months or more researching franchises before making a choice between six or more franchise systems. Half take longer than a year to decide.

A third have no experience in the industry they want to buy a franchise in. They are looking for a big brand, an established business model and a strong level of support from the franchisor.

The survey also found:

  • 56.3% will buy a new franchise vs. 43.7% an existing franchise.
  • 54.8% will buy with a spouse/partner vs 24.5% buying alone.
  • 21.2% will spend up to $100,000 on buying and setting up vs 7.6% spending $400,000-plus.
  • The biggest barrier to entering a franchise system is cost to purchase (58.4%).
  • Top three advice sources are: internet, professional advisors and franchise expos.

Sydney parking more expensive than NY

Corporate parking in the Sydney CBD is close to the most expensive in the world, according to the Colliers International Parking Rate Survey, reported in today’s Australian Financial Review.

A monthly Sydney CBD park costs $US688, not far behind the $US702 you would pay for a month of parking in downtown Tokyo and ahead of Hong Kong, Paris and New York. Well and truly in first place, however, is London City, where a month’s parking will set you back $US1198, not to mention the congestion charge you have to pay just to drive in the CBD in the first place.

In Australia, after Sydney the most expensive prime financial district parking is in Perth, where parking fees have increased 50% in recent years to $676 a month; Brisbane is close behind on $664 per month. The cheapest capital city parking is in Adelaide, where a monthly park costs a modest $317.50.

Selling a plane on eBay

An Albury man who put a rare aeroplane up for sale on eBay for $150,000 and later tried to back out, is likely to be forced to sell to the highest bidder. In a landmark court case on the binding nature of eBay deals, the NSW Supreme Court acting judge Nigel Rein said he was inclined to rule against eBay seller Vin Thomas. His final decision is due later today.

Quote of the Day

It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers.
– James Thurber


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