Ready to Franchise your Business?
By Michael J. Childs
Are you trying to decide if expanding your business through franchising will work for you? Or if your business concept is even a candidate for franchising?
Then this article is for you.
There’s a simple reason franchising is the number one method of business expansion in the U. S. It works.
Even large, company-owned chains are taking advantage of the franchise model, converting employee run locations to owner run franchises by selling to existing store managers.
Franchise owners, usually with their life savings on the line, are highly motivated to make sure that the store is kept clean, runs well, employees are operating up to system standards and the business makes a nice profit.
That's why with the same product, staff, décor and pricing, but with an owner now running the store instead of just an employee, sales, profits, and customer satisfaction increase significantly.
First Things First
Before we get into the advantages of expanding your business through franchising, have you got what it takes to be successful at franchising your business?
If your business model is unique and profitable, can be duplicated in other areas, and you have credibility in your local market, you have the must-haves to expand your business through franchising.
More about each one:
Different sells. The more your franchise offering stands out from the crowd, the easier it will be for you to sell franchises.
This can be a new/offbeat/quirky/fun/funky product or service, a smart marketing strategy, different target markets, the way you combine new or different ideas into one concept, even a unique way of pricing initial and ongoing franchise fees.
You don’t need all of these. The trick is to find a way to stand out.
Profit. It’s the number one reason people go into business for themselves.
The franchised business needs to produce enough of it (allowing for any continuing fees such as royalty) so that within about the first 6 - 8 months your new owner can start taking out a salary.
By year two or sooner, there should be enough profit left over that your franchisee can start paying off the initial investment.
To successfully franchise, your business model should be documented, systemized and teachable, and able to adapt to work in different markets. You will be cloning the concept in different locations, usually with some buildout options.
Our Franchise Development Package includes an in-depth Operating Manual your franchisees will use to set up and run their business. The manual will become the documentation for the franchise operation, and detail your systems and training. It can be updated as often as needed.
You gain credibility any number of ways.
Organization size, years in business, look of the prototype unit, publicity such as newspaper articles or videos, consumer awareness of the brand, strength of management, good public relations, and loyal customers.
An excellent sign that you are ready to franchise your business are customers asking if you are already a franchise or if you have other locations.
There’s more to creating an attractive, easy-to-sell, startup franchise opportunity than just having the must-haves above. But if you have those covered, you are an excellent candidate for expanding your business using the franchise model.
Advantage: Franchising - Speed, People, and Money
The advantages to you when growing your business through franchising are easy to remember. They are speed, people, and money.
More about each one:
Expanding your business through franchising is much faster than opening company locations. Your franchisees are managing the bulk of the process. They find the site, negotiate the lease, hire the contractor, oversee the buildout, hire and train the employees and so on.
All the things that you would typically do, or hire additional staff to do when expanding with company-owned locations. You will also be building your brand much faster.
Because of how quickly franchised locations can be opened, public awareness of your brand will increase rapidly. And this tends to snowball. The more public awareness you create, the faster you sell franchises, and the quicker the brand builds.
To fuel the brand-building efforts, you can require that franchisees pay into an advertising or brand building fund that you control. The size of the contribution and how the funds are spent is up to you.
Franchisees represent the best, long-term management there is. You won’t need to be involved in day-to-day operations or deal with the turnover associated with employee managed, company-owned locations.
Franchise owners, usually with their life savings invested, are highly motivated to make sure that the store is kept clean, runs well, employees are operating up to system standards and the business makes a nice profit.
They also become part of a different community and help promote the franchise and brand awareness in the local area.
Franchisees use their capital to open the site, making the cost to you when opening a franchised location a fraction of what you would spend opening company locations. You’ll take on much less risk as well.
You will be using other people’s money to grow your business. Since you won’t be investing your capital, your risk of losing money is reduced significantly. The franchisee signs the lease and takes on the financing and liability of the store or location.
Your profit comes from the franchise and any area development fees, continuing royalties, and any products you sell directly to or arrange to have sold directly to the franchisees.
Hold on Loosely
“If I franchise, won’t I lose control?” I get this question a lot.
You do lose the absolute control of firing someone on the spot, which comes with its own set of problems, but you’ll gain power in other ways.
There will be a binding contract (the Franchise Agreement) between you and your franchisees and a playbook they must follow (the Operating Manual). These legally enforceable rules and policies can be as strict as you want them to be, even to the point of micro-managing your franchisees. Although that is not something I suggest you do.
Think of it this way; most franchisees have their life savings invested in the new business. By not following the rules and policies or performing up to the standards you set, they don’t just risk losing a job, they risk losing their entire investment. That’s a pretty big stick.
So when is too much control too much control? It may seem counterintuitive, but ruling with an iron fist can easily result in less control of your franchise system, not more.
The goal is to find the sweet spot between over-management, which will make your compliance life crazy and can easily backfire including making it tough for you to sell franchises, and keeping enough protection and control of the franchise system and brand.
I can help you franchise your business for less. Call me anytime at 321.392.3000 X 1 or schedule a free call.