Top tips on franchising

Neil Black, a Development Agent responsible for the growth of Subway Stores and franchise owner of six locations, sets out his top tips for operating a successful franchise

A SUBWAY® franchise is perfect for anyone keen to run their own business while, at the same time, benefitting from working with a leading global brand, with great training and support for aspects such as site selection, leasing, purchasing, marketing and more.

Contributing to the success of SUBWAY® Restaurants is the fact it keeps the start up costs low, the concept and operations simple and it seeks ambitious franchise owners who embrace the entrepreneurial spirit.

Is franchising for you?

SUBWAY® Restaurants owes much of its success to the strong support systems it has in place for franchise owners, allowing each individual to operate within a tried-and-tested system with excellent training and a solid support structure. This support has been very successful and the fact that over 70 per cent of all new SUBWAY® franchises sold worldwide are sold to existing owners, speaks volumes.

There will always be room to improve and adapt certain aspects, but if you see yourself as a pioneering ‘entrepreneur’ then perhaps franchising isn’t for you. Successful franchise owners are those that truly understand both the business potential of their franchise and any limitations.

Have you got what it takes?

To run a successful franchise it’s important you know your business inside out and are prepared to ‘work the line’, which for us means working behind the counter as a Sandwich Artist. This experience can prove invaluable, allowing you to master all aspects of your business from serving customers to managing the everyday running of the store.

Do your research

The next step is always to thoroughly research the franchise. Most franchised companies have websites full of information for potential franchise owners, including seminars, training guides and background information. Make sure you read the franchise press and attend any local franchise owner exhibitions, armed with questions to pose to others attending.

It’s also important to look at the competition, research market trends and the franchise’s historical performance – are there any potential threats which may affect your success in the future, and what plans are in place to address these? Look into any awards or accolades that the franchise has received in the past – these are a good indicator that the franchise provides a successful business model. Investing in a franchise can be a life-changing business choice, so it is vital to make an informed decision.

Make the most of existing contacts

Networking can be an effective way of working successfully within your community. Attending local events and getting to know surrounding businesses can boost your support network and may result in possible partnerships and cross-promotional opportunities.

Try to attend any conferences and meetings, which the franchisor organises. These are fantastic opportunities to share best practice, discuss relevant issues and learn from other franchise owners. Throughout the year SUBWAY® Restaurants organise meetings worldwide, where the SUBWAY® community can come together to take part in seminars and brainstorming sessions, laid on for their benefit.

Manage your money

Once your business is up and running and is becoming established in the local area, it may be tempting for franchise owners to start to spend their profits. At SUBWAY® Restaurants we caution our franchise owners to temper this inclination, to look after the money that is coming in and think ahead to any possible drains on these resources.

Good business people will be thinking three to six months ahead and have the ability to anticipate the ebbs and flows of cash-flow, putting a strategy in place to address these potential pitfalls. Remember to evaluate any risks, taking an informed and disciplined view.