First hand franchise experience

Gary Rigby explains how his experience as a franchisor has proved invaluable in his present role as Franchise Consultant.

Prior to joining FDS Southern in 2005, I spent 15 years as Recruitment and Franchise Manager for a well-known franchise brand in the food-manufacturing sector, where I successfully developed the concept into a network of franchise owners across the UK and Ireland.

During this time I gained valuable ‘coal face’ experience of all aspects of franchising including recruitment, marketing, and the management of a large network, as well as being involved with the merger of the original business to a German parent company, which has subsidiaries throughout Europe.

Managing and running a highly successful franchise opportunity, combined with my prestigious consultancy work over the past six years, has given me a unique insight into the creation of professional franchise documentation and the successful marketing and development of a brand.
I take great pride in not only working with potential franchisors in the initial development period but also offering a guidance service during the development phase through to the maturity of a fully developed franchise network.

Once all the necessary professional franchise documentation – such as a detailed Franchise Prospectus, Franchise Information Memorandum, associated legal documents and an Operations Manual – has been produced we are then ready to market the franchise opportunity through various media channels.

The practical experience gained by successfully managing a franchise network has been utilised with many of our existing clients.

Among the many principles developed are:

  • The successful implementation of a proven franchise owner recruitment procedure and the development of professional marketing material, including the prospectus and a precise recruitment methodology, which is designed specifically not to give too much away at the early stages. As negotiations progress, detailed Disclosure Documents assist the franchisor to appoint quality franchise owners.
  • It must be remembered that franchise owners will be investing time, money and effort in the business. This is a relationship of co-equals, sharing knowledge, systems and best practices. For example, when major trading changes to a mature franchise network are required, how do you successfully communicate these? This could involve negotiation of sensitive financial information or new operational require- ments that may become necessary as the years progress with the franchise. To communicate successfully with 200+ franchise owners at a conference is not an easy task. Ideally this is best achieved by creating what is known as development teams within the network. These can be tasked with specific subjects such as marketing, sales, logistics or indeed any subject relevant to the franchise opportunity. We help and guide our existing clients to set up these teams and effectively manage the franchise network.
  • Part of the support services provided to the franchise owner also has key deliverables. One of these may be a professional annual conference. To this end we can educate clients in how to manage a conference, including surveying the franchise owners to find out what they specifically need and require and developing certain key aspects of the franchise opportunity through workshops. It can also be advantageous to have, for example, the key suppliers to the franchise network available to exhibit at the conference during the break-up periods, or even invite a number of them to be key speakers. In essence, creating a conference, which is both informative, instructive, and an enjoyable event for franchise owners to attend. It is also advantageous to reward and acknowledge the franchise owners who have contributed significantly to the network. This could be achieved by inviting specific franchise owners to present to their peers at the conference, thus giving the subject credibility.