How to generate business as a new franchisee quickly!
Ready, set, go! It’s an exciting time to be a business owner in Australia and even more exciting working within a proven franchise system.
Whilst many franchisors provide a range of services and templates to assist in setting up your business, this article will explore three key areas to hone in on and get you generating revenue, quicker!
1. Before you begin, understand your territory like the back of your hand and focus in on your target market.
This is potentially one of the most overlooked steps when starting a business. Depending on the product or service you are selling, it makes sense to unlock the information about your territory. You may receive this information from your franchisor also. Using data is key here and websites such as the ABS (www.abs.gov.au), Inivio Landscape (www.inivio.com.au/landscape) and Residex (www.residex.com.au) provide a profile and snapshot of your audience. For example, if you are starting an accounting franchise, you can use the ABS website to find out how many small businesses are in your territory. If it’s a coffee franchise, what type of demographic base will you be selling coffee to? The data will also demonstrate where and how to spend your time in prospecting for new business. There are also companies which provide foot traffic data which should assist in making your decision on the location of your franchise, this may be more appropriate for a fast food franchise.
Once you understand the territory, it’s time to pick your niche(s) and be an expert. Instead of being all things to all people, let’s find and target your high value market/s is where you will shine. For many food franchises, this may not be as appropriate but for many products and services, this is important for your business and marketing planning.
Some popular niches to get you thinking:
• Geographic (as a franchisee this is generally standard). This could be your local area (i.e. postcodes or a 10km radius) but should also be coupled with another niche.
• Cultural. Examples of these could be the Chinese, Indian, Nepalese or other cultural markets. If you are also from a similar cultural background you should be immediately able to communicate clearly your value proposition. This works particularly well for professional services (i.e. finance brokers, real estate agents etc).
• Industry or Sector. If you focus on industries which are higher value for targeted marketing campaigns, you could be digging where you find the most gold. Examples include the Navy (or military more broadly), teachers, doctors or physios. If your product or service can be aligned to an industry and you can relate to it, give it a shot!
• Demographic. A lot of people jump at this one first and choose the age group in which they are in (i.e. Gen X, family groups), however, you may also see higher value in seeking niches with growing spending power and disposable income (i.e Gen Y or millennials).
• Community and Social Groups. These could include church groups, knitting clubs, dance halls, LGBT hangouts or specific publications.
• Club or Special Interests. Some of these could include golf, cars, hockey, football clubs. By becoming the chosen supplier of your selected club (potentially even sponsoring it) – you will be the first point of call for your services.
• Specialist or product knowledge. Play to your strengths by aligning your skillset on a certain product (i.e. an expert on first home buyers, tax for small business, drones for wedding photographers, nutrition for gyms etc). Remember – pick 1-2 niches and keep digging in the one spot to find more gold!
2. Seek Referral Partners and Alliances – the lifeblood of your ongoing success!
When you open the doors (or open your laptop) chances are that on day one, a deal is not going to fall from the sky. In order to ‘hunt’ for your own business as well as receiving leads from your franchisor, use referral partners where allowed to boost the first few months of business.
Referral partners are those in aligned businesses to yours which you may be able to send clients back to. Remember, it’s a two way street. Connecting with small business owners in your local community could be the best time spent in the first three months of operating.
Examples of referral partners include:
- Finance broker with real estate agent / accountant
- Gym with health food stores and cafes
- Embroidery company with football clubs
- Coffee franchise with local small businesses
- Drones with real estate agents, farmers or wedding photographers
- Dog wash with pet stores
- Electrician with plumber.
Exceptional referral partners may evolve over a longer period than the first few months. Just keep in mind that it’s “no not now”, not “no forever”. Diarise to follow up.
Outside of referral partners, you can also form alliances with investment clubs, property clubs, service clubs, retirement groups, schools, sports groups, conferences or religious groups. When pitching your business to a new referral partner or alliance, make sure you understand what’s in it for them too – and align your pitch accordingly. When preparing your pitch also remember that there are detail people, dot point people, story people, process people and fun people – tailor your pitch accordingly.
3. Use your circle of influence – friends & family – pull out that address book!
Most franchisors will provide you with some marketing collateral and a set up package. This should include a step by step guide in how to market your services to those around you. If they don’t, think about the easiest way to harness your contacts.
Firstly, ask your family and friends for support by helping you spread the word far and wide, ensure they understand your value proposition and why people would want to come see you over your competitors.
Next, ask yourself – how many email addresses do you have? Email marketing is still the lowest cost ‘touchpoint’ for a prospect. Programs such as www.mailchimp.com.au can have an email in all of your contacts inbox within an hour telling them all about your new business.
Social media is also an easy channel to get your new business out to the masses. Use your LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to let people know that you’re now open for business! Once you have started seeing clients don’t be afraid to ask them for referrals and testimonials. This not only provides a stream of ongoing business but it also keeps you focussed on providing a great customer experience.
Finally, it’s important to work smart. How hard you work and how much you make are not always related. Go out there and make 2017 your best year ever!
Matt Mitchener (Founder of Evocity Consulting) works with businesses within the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG), financial services, franchising and real estate industries helping them to grow via marketing, strategy, distribution, technology and partnerships. He is passionate about assisting small businesses develop and prosper. Matt enjoys running, craft beer and travel. He also holds an MBA and an undergraduate in International Business / Marketing.
Contact Matt at: