Is My Business Ready to Franchise?

Is My Business Ready to Franchise?

Franchising can seem like the perfect way to expand your business. In the franchise world, franchisees are the ones financially responsible for opening the locations and running them according to the franchisor’s regulations. Because franchisees make a big investment to get started, they are highly motivated to drive their businesses towards success. Sounds great, right?

Although it may sound like franchising your business would be an ideal plan, not all businesses are meant to be franchised. Here are four basic questions you can ask yourself before determining if your business is ready to be franchised:

1. Have you perfected your business model?

The first step to determining whether a business is ready for franchise is making sure the business model is both thorough and successful. You must be able to show and prove a successful business prototype that demonstrates a strong unit performance and consumer acceptance. Moreover, the business must be operated by an owner who shows great ability and leadership skills, ensuring that he or she will be able to take on the heavy responsibility entailed in any business expansion.

2. Can you sell it?

Not only does the business model need to work, it also must also be attractive to potential investors. Some of the typical factors that franchisees take into consideration before investing are business credibility, success rate, uniqueness, and how “hot” or innovative it will be in any given market.

3. Can you duplicate it?

One of the key factors in a franchisor’s success is being able to clone or replicate the business easily. If the original business only works because of an exceptional employee or a one of a kind location, franchising will not work. A franchise concept should be straightforward in order to guarantee it will work in different markets and will be simple to operate. When it comes to franchises, simpler is often better.

4. Can you provide franchisees with an adequate return?

Franchisees expect to get two kinds of returns: one, for the time they spend working at the actual business, and two, for the investment they made when they bought the franchise. So you need to ask yourself: will your business model be able to provide these kinds of returns to the franchisee while also providing you the royalty you’re supposed to collect as the franchisor? If your answer is “no,” you will have to go back to the drawing board. Research how you can improve your business model, so you can meet those returns. If you can’t, your business might be better off the way it is and not a great fit for a franchise.

Conclusion

Franchising your business can mean quick, lucrative expansion for your business, but not if your business isn’t fit to be a franchise. Ask yourself these questions to figure out if your business can fulfill these requirements.

The First 3 Questions You Should Ask Yourself to Determine if Franchising is Right For You

The First 3 Questions You Should Ask Yourself to Determine if Franchising is Right For You

So you’re interested in owning a business, but you don’t know if franchising is right for you. Franchises can be a great business to enter into because they operate under one successful trademark and can generally achieve more than what individual business people can. But the fact that franchises may have a better or quicker success rate than independent businesses is not the only factor you should consider when contemplating whether or not to buy into a franchise. Here’s a list of three key questions you should ask yourself before making your final decision:

1. Can you afford the franchise?

Before asking yourself any other question, ask yourself if you can realistically afford the startup costs of the franchise plus any further costs you accumulate before you hit profitability. Even though the franchisor can give you an idea of what the initial costs will be, actual costs always vary depending on the needs of the business. You need to have enough capital to not only open the franchise, but also run it until it is profitable and stable. For some businesses, this might take one year, for others more, and others less. So plan your finances as accurately as possible, ideally overestimating your expenses to limit your risk of under capitalization. This will greatly diminish your risk of failure.

2. Will you enjoy the franchise?

A lot of times, people may be interested in a franchise simply because of the potential capital they can generate. While a business’s success rate should be something you’re concerned with, it should not be the only reason you picked that franchise. Running a franchise is no easy task; it will undoubtedly pose many challenges, and you should anticipate working in it for the next 10-15 years (at least.) So if you’re planning on owning a franchise, make sure you’re interested in the industry and think you can enjoy the day-to-day work entailed in that specific business.

Aside from liking the particular industry, product, or service the franchise is involved in, also make sure you like the franchisor’s staff. These are the people you will be constantly contacting for support and advice, so make sure you feel comfortable working with them as you will be working with them for a long time. If the relationship sours, you could end up regretting your decision.

3. Does the franchisor and existing franchisees you are considering have a track record of success?

So you made sure you have the right amount of capital to invest in a franchise, and you picked out a franchise in an industry you are interested in, but did you research that particular franchise’s success rate? It is very important to do research, not only regarding the franchisor’s level of success, but also the individual franchisees record of success.

If the franchisor is successful but the franchisees seem to be going downhill, what does that mean? What if it’s the other way around? You want to make sure you invest in a franchise where the franchisor offers enough guidance and support to help your franchise soar. Obtaining this information can better help you project what your success rate will be and in the end, if your investment will be worth its value.

Conclusion

There are many other considerations that will go into your final decision, but these essential questions will help you determine if you’re ready to take the next steps towards becoming a franchisee.

How to Identify the Right Franchise Brand for You

How to Identify the Right Franchise Brand for YouWhen looking to buy a franchise, it’s important to properly educate yourself about every aspect of the business so that you can feel certain you’re entering into a brand that is both appropriate for you and reputable. This task can seem daunting when facing 100’s if not 1000’s of franchise options, and without enough information it can be all-to-easy to end up with a raw deal. However, with the right strategy and preparation, you can make informed decisions that will benefit you and your business today and down the line. Here are some tips on how to identify the right franchise opportunity for you.

 

Getting started

Before you even begin looking at what’s out there, educate yourself about the current landscape of franchising from a credible source, such as the British Franchise Association (BFA.) Whether you’re new to the concept or just need updates on recent legal changes and industry trends, BFA offers seminars and educational tools that can give you in-depth information, insights, and industry knowledge to help you make your decisions.

 

Speaking to prospects

An ethical franchisor should have no problem being transparent with you about the development of their business and the challenges they have both overcome and currently face. It’s perfectly normal for a franchisor to ask you to sign a confidentiality agreement first to protect crucial information about the company, and you should feel free (and encouraged) to get a legal advisor to evaluate the agreement before signing.

Things to look out for:

  1. Anyone telling you that their franchise is perfect, and they have made no mistakes
  2. Anyone telling you they can make you rich overnight

A few questions to keep in mind:

  1. How long have you been in franchising?
  2. How many franchised businesses are you running at the moment?
  3. What costs are associated with the franchise, including both opportunity cost and additional capital costs incurred by the franchisees?
  4. What’s included in the cost, and what kind of costs are franchisees expected to incur?
  5. What does their training and development program look like?
  6. How many franchisees have failed and why?
  7. How many franchises have opened in the past 12 months?
  8. What systems do you have for keeping franchisees in touch with you and each other?

 

Speaking to franchisees

In addition to speaking to franchisors, you should speak directly to the franchisees of the brand, as they can verify what the franchisor has told you as well as give you a better picture of the day-to-day experience of an individual location.

The franchisor should provide you with a complete list of all their franchisees and allow you to choose which ones you want to speak to. If they don’t, this could be a red flag.

When choosing who to speak with, aim for as wide a variety as possible to get a more complete picture. Choose both top and bottom performers. Choose some who have just started and some who have been with the franchise for a long time. To understand the full cycle of how the business is run, you need to look into performance at every point.

A few questions to keep in mind:

  1. Why did you choose this franchise?
  2. What support did you receive when you first got started?
  3. Have you received continued support? How so?
  4. How involved is the franchisor at this point? Does he/she visit often?
  5. Did the outcome of your business meet the expectations that were set for you when you initially got involved?
  6. If you had the chance, would you do it all over again?

If the franchisor and franchisee agree to it, you may also want to shadow a franchisee for a day to see the business in action for yourself.

 

Get some expert advice

There are many financial and legal aspects that you’ll need an expert for. Projections can be discussed with a dedicated franchise department at one of the several major banks that support franchising. You will also need legal advice from a solicitor who specializes in franchising. If you’re not sure who to look to for help, check for specialists who have been accredited by the BFA.

 

Making the final decision

Once you feel you have a firm grasp of the operational, financial, and legal aspects of the brand, make sure you revisit the most important part of your decision: is it right for you? Something can be a sound business investment and still not be exactly what you’re looking for.

A few questions to keep in mind:

  1. Is the projected outcome of this deal in line with your professional goals?
  2. How does this business fit in with your personal goals?
  3. Does the reality of the business allow you the hours, work-life balance, and flexibility that your personal life requires?

 

Use everything you’ve learned as a resource for your final decision. Once you know you’re prospect is an ethical, reputable brand with a financially bright future, the final call has to ultimately come from how you feel about it.

Why Franchisors and Franchisees Have Trouble Seeing Eye to Eye

FranchisingBuying a franchise is a great way to acquire an instant customer base, proven business model, and polished operational support. But as many franchise owners soon discover, this great purchase can also come with a downside: disgruntled franchisees.

Life is full of conflict, and the franchise industry is no different. But franchisor/franchisee disputes specifically arise out of the inherent nature of the franchise model. Why? Because franchises motivate each party towards different goals. When it comes down to it, franchisees and franchisors just want different things because they make their money in different ways. This obviously creates a vulnerable spot in the franchisor/franchisee relationship, where conflict is more likely to arise.

So how do we fix it? There will probably never be a way of eliminating all franchisor/franchisee conflict entirely (wouldn’t that be a dream?), but recognizing and understanding the factors at play is the best way to avoid either creating or escalating disagreements between parties, especially to the point where litigation becomes necessary.

To understand where this inherent conflict comes from, let’s start with the basics of what franchising is: franchising is a business arrangement in which one party (the franchisor) rents a business model and brand to another party (the franchisee), who uses it to sell products/services to a customer base. The amount the franchisee pays is usually calculated as a percentage of their gross sales, meaning the franchisors profits increase with franchisee sales. This means a franchisors priorities and day-to-day concerns are usually focused on adopting policies and enacting strategic business decisions that maximize sales at each franchisee location.

Franchisees, however, make their money a little differently. They make money by generating revenue that exceed their costs, which means a franchisee is going to prioritize policies and pricing that maximize profits at their locations.

This is the part where conflict arises: policies that maximize outlet-level sales aren’t the ones that maximize outlet-level profits.

Need an example? Let’s look at buy-one-get-one-free discounts. Successful buy-one-get-one-free promotions bring in more customers and boost sales. This is great for the franchisor whose earnings are linked to outlet-level sales. But for the franchisee, this successful promotion doesn’t necessary boost their profits. If the size of the average customer purchase doesn’t increase, the franchisee could actually be worse off. The buy-one-get-one-free promotion raises the franchisee’s costs (by the amount of the free item) while potentially (and often in reality) failing to boost revenues.

These kinds of conflicts aren’t rooted in ill will or pettiness. It stems from the basic structure of the business model. What’s good for the franchisor is not necessarily good for the franchisee. If enough money is compromised, the end result could very well be a lawsuit.

Here’s a real world example: a few years ago Burger King wanted its franchisees to stay open late to sell more fast food to those seeking it at off hours. If franchisees sell more food due to being open during off hours, Burger King brings in more royalties, boosting its bottom line. This was a great plan from the franchisors point of view, but staying open late ultimately caused the franchisees to lose money. They had to pay employees for the additional hours even though their late-hour revenues were less than those wages. Its franchisees ended up in court over the disagreement.

Another common point of contention is the opening of new locations. When an additional location is opened up, often times it takes away from sales at an existing outlet. Franchisors are still better off because the new establishment inevitably increases system-wide sales, but this doesn’t help the franchisee that was around first. Their cost of operation remains the same, and they end up with lower sales.

It’s important for both franchisors and franchisees to be aware of how the other party is motivated in order to create a more understanding and effective dialogue. When they work together from a place of mutual respect and understanding, they can enact policies and business strategies that are involve more compromise and mutual benefit. One party may benefit more from a particular policy, promotion, or opening, but working together can insure minimal risk to the other, and create a lasting positive relationship for all.