Youíve finally achieved your goal of building a growing and stable business; great service with loyal customers. Youíve made a mark with your specialty product. Just when you feel you can take a break, you find a new company competing in the same market for the same customers. How can you expand your reach, putting yourself in the position of not just being a player in your field but an untouchable leader?
Franchising may be the answer.
For a growing company, franchising is a good way to continue to gain brand recognition and market dominance. The question is? Is your company ready to make the move from sole ownership to sharing that ownership with others? Franchising is more than getting others to invest in your ideas or business. Itís finding a way to maintain the original elements that made your business a success in the first place. If youíre able to make that transition, franchising can be a very good business decision.
Here are a few things to bear in mind when considering franchising your business:
Franchising gives you less control of the everyday running of the business. Turning over a part of your company to new owners is risky, especially if they do not adhere to the over-all company concept. Consider putting together a training or accountability system for your franchisees as a part of the package that they purchase. Keep the focus on creating a seamless brand and image from location to location. One way to do this is to hold quarterly conferences where you meet face to face with the new owners. Do more than sell a package, build a relationship. If you treat the owners as partners, they will strive to work with the vision of the company instead of against it.
Be selective in your selling process. Only accept those who are in agreement to the company focus, philosophy and mission statement.
Grow slow. As with any new project it takes time to learn the ropes. Youíve created a successful business, now itís time to put a good structure in place to make sure the new owners are just as successful.
If an existing franchising model does not work for your business, create your own. Look at your specific needs, goals and concerns and create a franchising system that will insure that everyone involved gets the best possible opportunity to excel.
Consider having ďpartnersĒ instead of owners. Give your partners more incentives and benefits than those of a store manager and maintain leadership and company direction.
If you jump into the franchising sea and donít like itÖget out Do what you can to keep the franchises that you have going well, but donít add any new ones.
Start slow, allowing time for fine-tuning and course correction.
Get someone to partner with you. Find a mentor who has had experience as a franchiser and learn from their successes and challenges. Donít go it alone if you donít have to. Itís o.k. to ask for help.
As with any business or project the most important key to success in franchising is to have a plan and a goal. If youíve already built one good company, you can do it again, and again and again!