How to choose the right franchise for you!
How to choose the right franchise for you!
Stan Gordon, CEO of Franchised Food Company, is a passionate franchisor. With so many franchises available to buy, Stan knows all too well the ups and downs that come with owning a business, as well as all the questions potential franchisees have – or should have - when buying a franchise.
Here, Stan offers his insights and knowledge into how best to select the right franchise for you, the important factors to consider, and the personal attributes you’ll need to have to ensure your business is a success.
It’s so important to do your research on the franchise brand you are looking to purchase. Find out how big or small the company behind it is, and be realistic about what you are expecting. Does the franchise business model match your ideal business model? Do they offer marketing support? Are they available for ongoing assistance or only when it suits them? Do they offer social media or marketing assistance? Can you choose your own store location or is it given to you?
Smaller franchise systems often won’t have the range of support, nor access to wider services, but they are often more readily available to answer your questions. Large franchises obviously have a successful and proven franchise model, but you need to be aware that some with very large franchise systems you sometimes risk being counted as just a number. How do you combat the above? Do your research! Contact other franchisees. Look into all aspects of the brand and do your due diligence. Remember, you get what you pay for… and you don’t know if you don’t ask!
You also need to make sure you are passionate about the brand you are joining. Do you have the same aims and business goals? Do you ‘get’ the brand? Is there enough support to assist you in ‘getting’ the brand? To ensure your values are in line with the franchisor’s culture you must understand what factors are important to the franchise, and check to see that they match your own priorities and values. If they don’t match then there is every chance your ideologies will clash, and you should look into another opportunity.
Unfortunately, not many people are lucky enough to find happiness simply by looking to make money. Although a profitable business is very important, our most successful franchisees are the ones who love the brand, and sell our products to consumers because they love them. Financials are of course important, but it is a lot harder getting out of bed in the morning when you don’t love what you do.
Be happy with your business, what it stands for and the products and services you are offering; they are of the utmost importance. You have to be true to yourself to be a good business owner! After all, you spend a huge portion of your day in your business. If you’re looking to be your own boss, but perhaps lack in some areas, a franchise is a good option that offers you a proven framework for success. Doing it alone can be very difficult. No one has all the expertise and resources required for a successful business. You can’t be the marketing, financial, legal, and operations expert alone, all at once.
Starting a business is hard enough; so take advantage of the experience and expertise of others, which a franchise opportunity offers. Think about the different possibilities and pathways you could take to execute your business venture, and understand that you do have options.
Recognise your strengths and weaknesses…and capitalise on your strengths and get help with the weaknesses. Be aware of the opportunities and threats. (That’s not just jargon, but reality). Becoming part of a franchise system means assistance is provided where and when it’s needed. Your franchisor wants you to succeed, so never be afraid to ask for help or advice.
Asking for help is often warranted, but if you are not going to put the hard yards into your business, maybe owning a franchise is not for you! Just like any small, medium or large company, a franchise is a business, and that means hard work! Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that the work is done for you! You need to roll up your sleeves and get right in!
Even in a franchise, your reputation on the line. You need to be the face of your business, which includes knowing the ins and outs of your offering. If a customer turned to you to ask for advice on the product you are selling, would you be confident in helping them? If you didn’t have the answers, how would you find out about them? Does your franchisor offer training? Learn about the best ways to equip yourself with the right tools to be able to run your business.
You need to develop a strong knowledge of the franchise and the industry you are buying into. You also need to understand that this will determine not only your workload, but the areas of your business that require the most attention from you. If you have a strong marketing background, you may need help with the legal side of things. A social media whizz? Find out whether your franchise can have its own local, store-based platforms, or whether they are controlled by head office only.
If possible, do research into the history of the franchise system, such as business revenue and years of operation. Research is critical! As the owner of the business, it is very important that you are comfortable and willing to work within it. You need to be able to be on the ground, speaking with customers, making sure that your staff and processes reflect the franchise benchmarks, but also your own standards of service. Have you developed a positive working environment? Do you and your staff have enough knowledge of the product? Know about trends in the industry and how they can help leverage further business.
Before you commit, it’s a smart idea to get insights from other business and franchise owner’s experiences. Hearing about their key learnings can help drive your businesses success. There will be hard times, like anything you do in life! Getting advice and hearing about the negative times from others can help you minimise the negative impact on your business. Asking these questions is also a great opportunity to bond with your fellow franchisees. You are all in this together, so networking with people in your business can help you build a better business.
Again, research, research, and research. Look into other businesses in your area. Do you think you have enough of a customer base and a strong product to break through the market, or is it too crowded? Do you think that one fixed site is for you, or do you want the flexibility of a movable business?
Some franchises have this offering, like our Pretzel World Tuk-Tuks. The business is on wheels, which means they are able to move to wherever the customer base is. On the flip side, this may also mean that because your business can move, the customer base may need to be built from scratch each time. Remember that many things impact a business. Is your offering seasonal? Is your location seasonal – for example, a beach side suburb or on a snowy mountain? Do people need your product out of necessity or want? Do you have a strong customer service base? Does your product sell itself? Consider whether your offering is a trend or something that is always ‘wanted’ or ‘needed’ by the public.
Find your niche in the market; look for areas that your target audience might frequent, and set out to offer the best product and service possible. You are the face of your own franchise. Any franchisor wants you to be proud of the product you represent. Make sure your choice is the right choice for YOU! Most important to us, is the motto we live by, Make Money and Have Fun!
Stan Gordon is the founder and CEO of Melbourne-based Franchised Food Company, the umbrella organisation incorporating the brands Cold Rock Ice Creamery, Trampoline Gelato, Mr Whippy, Pretzel World, Healthy Habits, Nutshack and Europa Coffee drive thru.