Five things to look for in a quality franchise system
For many, buying a franchise business is the fulfilment of a lifelong dream.
It is also one of the most important personal and financial decisions you are likely to make in your lifetime.
If you have the desire, commitment, passion, resources and support required, you must take the time required to find the best franchise system for you.
When you are ‘shopping’ for a franchise system, there are five key areas that you need to investigate in each potential system. If the system is doing all these things, and doing them well, then you can be fairly confident that you are dealing with a quality system.
THE FIVE KEY AREAS
- A Proven System
- Training and Support
- Documented Manuals and Systems
- Public Relations and Marketing/Brand Awareness
A proven system
Is the system you are interested in a healthy, growing system?
A proven system is the first key area that attracts a new franchisee. Everything flows on from there – business support, training, systems and procedures, leadership, financial management, marketing and public relations (PR) and of course brand awareness. The franchisor that runs a successful business model provides all the training and support that the franchisee requires, assists with financial and business management, provides local area marketing resources and public relations to support the franchisee and provides the leadership and mentoring to ensure he or she has all the tools to succeed.
A proven system provides franchisees with the processes, methods and opportunities to operate a business using the name and trademark of the company. In addition, they usually get access to product, storefronts, staff training, marketing strategies and more.
Training and support
What level of training and support does the franchisor offer?
It makes sense for franchisors to invest heavily in their training programs for franchisees. Motivated individuals helps achieve business success. People development, in the areas of OHS and risk management, recruitment, performance and management skills, is vital for the successful growth of a business.
Excessive staff turnover can cost companies dearly. But by focussing on staff engagement and providing staff with the training and tools to engage and empower them, retention rates are able to be increased.
Does the franchise system you are interested in employ field service personnel such as franchise support managers (FSMs) to ensure franchisees are staying on track with their business plan and receiving all the training and support they need?
A quality franchise system should be continually looking at different ways for franchisees and staff to increase their performance in a measurable way. Individual profiling is often the first step that should be taken by both managers and their staff to understand people’s natural preferences of what they like to do in the work place, and help them understand the way they like to approach work. The implementation of TMP (Team Management Profiling) recommendations results in increased performance of staff, which increases the success of the franchise system.
Find out if the system you are interested in offers Team Management Profiling or a similar profiling mechanism to assist with achieving optimum staffing requirements to help drive your business forward.
Documented manuals & systems
What does a franchisor actually own if there are no documented standards and procedures?
Compliance with operational standards and procedures usually forms a key part of the Franchise Agreement. It would be very difficult for a new franchisee to succeed in their business without proven standards and procedures. A quality system will have a comprehensive, well written set of Operations Manuals for its franchise network. Operations Manuals contain the details of the proper procedures and provide an invaluable support mechanism for franchisee education at all levels.
As training tools, effective Operations Manuals promote consistency and quality throughout the franchise network. They help franchisees run their businesses more successfully.
When properly drafted, Operations Manuals can serve as one of the strongest selling tools for the franchise program as they demonstrate best practice in franchising to current and potential franchisees.
Potential franchisees should be confident that the system’s Operations Manuals are up to date, reflecting new products, services, changes in market trends, technologies and competitive forces.
Pr & Marketing/Brand awareness
Does the franchisor communicate effectively with franchisees and the wider community?Does the franchise have a positive media profile?
Building and maintaining brand awareness is vital to a franchise system’s growth and positioning in the marketplace.
A sustained PR, Marketing and Communications program will assist businesses’ growth and success through targeted and tailored brand building solutions including advertising, media relations, local area marketing, and internal and external communications strategies.
Potential franchisees should be looking at what the system they are interested in does in relation to targeted PR and marketing solutions and if their internal and external communication strategies, local area marketing and advertising campaigns, have been proven to demonstrate measurable results from increased sales figures, and media coverage.
Does your franchisor lead the way? Is the franchisor a brand ambassador?
In the majority of businesses, leaders spend their time strategising with their office door closed. They don’t spend the time thinking about their business, they waste their valuable time being a ‘doer’ in the business. Business leaders of proven franchise systems have ‘taken back control’ and can spend that time thinking about ways to grow their business, how to sell more, how to get into new markets and how to get the best people they can into their organisation to take the next step and become an industry leader. Strong leaders with purpose possess courage; the courage to make the best decisions for the betterment of the group as a whole at all times. Brands in their lifetime will confront challenges, remove obstacles and create an opportunity from the potential diversity - this is expected from the franchisor as they lead and protect the brand.
All highly successful franchisors are leaders who promote respect and integrity within their teams and throughout the brand. They set the path; share the end destination and make the best decision at the right time with the best information. This is leadership. They have taken on the responsibility to grow a business, to expand the product or service offering, to increase market share and to increase brand awareness. Successful franchisors are not shy in sharing their plans with the team members who choose to live and breathe their vision.
The level of leadership differs amongst the franchise network; some franchisees require the detail, the how, when and where; others require just the overall perspective and are committed to the cause. The franchisor’s responsibility is to deliver all these needs and continue to share the message in all available learning and development forums on a regular basis throughout the network.
Now it’s up to you!
Having conducted your due diligence, including the five key areas above, selected your franchise and started on your new pathway, the satisfaction of being a franchisee can be exhilarating.
If you are prepared to work hard, committed to following the system that you have invested in, embrace the training, support and mentoring available, and if you manage your back office (financials) in a professional manner, then you will give yourself every opportunity to succeed and grow.
Like any business, it will be demanding, however, knowing you have the ongoing support of the franchisor, together with their internal knowledge and experience, as well as many supportive franchisees that are on the same life journey, franchising can be extremely satisfying.
Corina Vucic is the Director of FC Business Solutions. Corina, the FCA’s 2012 Woman in Franchising for Victoria/ Tasmania, has been involved in the franchising industry for more than 15 years and is dedicated to the growth and development of the systems she works with.
Corina is a great believer in the professional and personal benefits of lifelong learning and her academic achievements include a Bachelor of Arts and Commerce and Masters in Human Resources.
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