So you’ve got a business and it’s successful. You’ve grown it, nurtured it and even loved it. You’ve been through the ups and the downs and your learning curve was seriously steep. You understand what it takes to grow a business, right down to the smallest detail, from what you need to order each month to who you need to employ and when. You are ready to grow. So what are your options?
Options for growth
You could expand your business and increase your reach. You could even open another business location. But there is another option, franchising. Don’t forget that franchising is not limited to service stations, fast food, nail salons and printing businesses. It can include marketing firms, mortgage brokers, accountants and educational tutoring. To many, it can sound like an overwhelming option, but the good news is that there are specialists that not only walk you through the system, they can even undertake a feasibility study before you begin the process, and provide you with recommendations on it’s viability.
You could even begin your own research by looking at other business franchises and how they do business. What do they do well? What are their weakest points? When you analyse more than just the big picture, you can draw your own conclusions based on your findings and begin to develop your franchise framework.
So why franchise?
Franchising means that you have the ability to replicate your business on a large scale. The difference between opening another location and franchising is that ownership and responsibility lies with the franchisee. This results in a stronger business than appointing a manager who doesn’t have a vested interest in the growth and success of the business.
I chose to go down the franchise path for my business because I knew that there is nothing that comes close to owning your own business. I knew that employing a manager would not have the same profound effect on the business in terms of commitment and willingness to learn, absorb and apply the outcomes.
The franchisee is not only growing a business, they are growing their future. The franchise itself becomes a financial asset for themselves and their family. The more they put in, the more benefits they will reap, not just in monetary values but also in their own self worth. Part of my role is to nurture and grow the franchisees potential, whilst providing support and guidance.
How do you know if your business is franchise ready?
When you franchise, it is important that each facet of your business can be replicated. Think back to when you first started your business and document each part of your business from start to its position today, including as much detail as possible. Essentially, you need to be able to provide training and then pass over the reigns to the franchise owner.
The systems you setup will enable the franchisee to run their own race, without you needing to be assist them 24/7. Remember that knowledge is power and by empowering your franchisees, they will become the biggest and best assets to your brand.
It’s all in the detail
The most effective way to identify the types of information you need to include in your franchise documentation is to run through a typical working week, noting down everything you do. For example, this could include:
- Social media interaction
- Choosing a supplier
- Attending a meeting
- Following up with clients
- Taking potential client calls
- Bookkeeping and invoicing
When you record each of these items, take the time to put together some bullet points on how you actually undertake each of these tasks. It may sound tedious, but it means that your franchisees will get an understanding of exactly what running your business feels like. Plus they can tap into your knowledge base and advice easily.
To put it in perspective, think back to when you started the business and imagine that there was someone sitting next to you, giving you the advice you needed. How great would that be? This is what you can provide to your franchisees. And by freeing up your time in dealing with smaller issues, you can focus on support for your franchisees and building the brand that brings them quality leads.
Why support is a must
Say you decide to take the plunge and franchise, I did and although it can be a tough road, it also helps you to look at your business and determine the most important aspects that you need to communicate to your franchisees.
I have worked with national franchise brands and know that support and communication are the keys to the best franchises. Yes, you need to provide a fantastic framework complete with systems and processes, but ongoing, that support is invaluable. Your franchisees need to be able to turn to you and know that you have their back!
Don’t forget that you also need to work out how you are going to provide that support. Consider the mediums that you and your franchisees would be most comfortable with: email, telephone, Skype, Messenger, Facebook groups… the list goes on.
Let your vision go (just a little)
Let’s move past the space of wanting a franchise and say you’re there, you’ve franchised and someone else is now representing your (beloved) brand **gasp**. This is where things can get interesting. You need to be prepared for your franchisee to inject their unique spin and skillset into the business. Don’t get me wrong, it is still has to be based on your brand values, but they can put their own personality and vibe into the mix without destroying the brand that you have built.
It’s time to release your vision (just a little) to allow this to take place, as this is where the growth of your franchisees business will take flight and they really commit to pushing the boundaries!
Just do it
Remember these words from author Karen Lamb, “A year from now you may wish you had started today.” So if you think that your business has what it takes to franchise, just do it. Go and get a feasibility study completed or begin your own research.
I would love to hear about your franchise journey so drop me a line.