Make franchising work for you

Implementing your plan properly and at the right time can maximise your chances of achieving success as a franchisor for the long term. Tony Urwin looks at the key criteria for getting it right

What's in a name? It sounds obvious, but if your brand is well established and means something to the public, a franchisee will feel like they are buying into something safe. A well known brand with a reputable history gives you a head start in the market, and people will always want to invest in a brand they know they can trust.

However, national brands do not just appear overnight. They are grown over time with a lot of hard work. Even if your company has limited brand recognition, franchising can be the ideal way to establish your business before a wider audience. Many of my clients began franchising as small companies only known in their local area, but with a lot of hard work and determination have become nationally recognised.

Be Professional
It's a fact that modern life has raised our expectations across the board. In franchising terms, this means that you can expect more from your franchisees, with the calibre of prospective candidates improving all the time.

However, they in turn will expect more from you. They are keener to analyse what's on offer and are attracted to professionalism. The hint of anything less than meticulous in any area of your business could be the difference between a prospect investing in your franchise, or someone else's. All Trades, a franchise I worked with in 2005, has applied the principles of true professionalism throughout its business and I believe that this is one of the reasons for its runaway success.

A Secure Investment
A franchise, like savings or a good pension plan, should be an investment. But like any investment, people will only want to be involved if they feel that their money will be safe and secure. If they feel that their cheque is desperately needed to support a floundering concern, franchisees are unlikely to part with their cash. My franchisor clients with the highest levels of recruitment have been those with a demonstrably solid financial base, such as Pareto Law.

Permanent Personnel
It's a simple fact: people do business with people. There's nothing more disconcerting than calling a company and speaking to someone new each time. This kind of 'here today, gone tomorrow' style of recruitment does nothing to instil confidence in your business. If you can employ the right people from the outset and keep them motivated, this projects a sense of stability and security to the outside world and should help to create long term, productive relationships with your franchisees.

The Right Support
It's all very well recruiting your franchisees, but that's just the start. You need to be able to give them ongoing support to ensure their growth and development. After all, this has a direct effect on your own profitability. Investing in a sound support structure from the outset means that your franchisees will feel secure, and their businesses should grow and prosper.

Redefining Your Systems
For franchisees, the beauty of franchising is that they are buying into something they can already see working. Long term success comes from the replication of a tried and tested system but in the fast moving world of business, change often leads to growth.

Forward thinking franchisors often try out new ideas in company owned operations before rolling them out across the network. Franchisors who update their systems and offerings as they evolve demonstrate market know-how and expertise, which is attractive to potential franchisees.

Be the Best
Smaller or newer companies should not be put off franchising - there is always room for new businesses that can demonstrate commitment to innovation and success. Smaller companies can outshine better established franchisors, who may have become reticent in their provision of quality services.

Ology, the business coaching franchise, is an example of a previously relatively unknown company which has rapidly become recognised as a leader in its field.

In short, success does not happen by accident. Long term players recognise these criteria, do their groundwork, and are constantly striving to improve and deliver their best.

For more in formation on how you can use franchising to achieve your business ambitions call me today.