International Mapping Made Easy
International Mapping Made Easy
Many Australian franchisors are expanding internationally with their already well-established systems and require up-to-date and relevant information to base their decisions on.
For their Australian network, they have invested heavily in the criteria for their site selection and mapping their territories properly, but may have been ‘led’ into a different approach overseas. This should not and does not need to happen!
All countries which I shall broadly describe as “first world” and “second world” countries, inevitably have mapping and demographic information that can be used to understand the markets you are leaping into. Many countries such as the USA, Canada and the main countries in the EU have mapping and information on par (if not better) than what we have in Australia. Also, basically all Commonwealth countries have good data and mapping (including India), as the British historically placed a high level of importance on Census data, and this has continued across these countries.
There are companies in Australia who can set up the mapping so you can have a clear picture of what is going on. This allows you to then establish rules for things like distance between sites, where are the major competitors, formation of territories (different sizes in different markets), and having a very good understanding of how many people live or work in any specific area.
We recommend using a GIS (Geographic Information System) such as Pitney Bowes MapInfo to organise the relevant data for the country in question, and combining the rules that have been established with the mapping and the data to map the sites or the territories required.
Your competitors can also be mapped. A job we had recently was to map for a client 7,400 competitors across the USA. They wanted to see where their two main competitor’s sites are compared to theirs, and use that in the process of territory formation.
Once the mapping has been set up, you can then use a simple, commercial web based system to upload the maps and files into. This allows you to then view the data / territories or sites anywhere across the world via the web. The ongoing licence for an intermediate version of this type of worldwide interface is around $300 per month to make your data visible in ways that best suit your business operations, including giving various levels of access to different people and potential franchisees.
Other companies may have different solutions; however this has worked in cutting thousands of territories across the USA, to creating just three territories in Botswana recently.
Jade Winter, the CEO of Studio Pilates International says, “Having our studios and territories available worldwide has given us huge impetus in offering our services into the US, England and China. I now feel confident I can give a territory based on realistic size and population in all the countries I want to take our franchise to.”
If you are undertaking international expansion, being able to map your sites and competitors, and build territories so you can say they offer similar potential, can now be done internationally. If you use this as a sales tool to secure Australian franchisees, would you not want to be seen as offering a similar level of security or understanding in the territories you offer internationally?
Everyone will tell you it is “different” in their country, but having a standard approach to information, site selection and territory planning should give your system an advantage over the less informed competition.
If you are heading out internationally, do not be misled to think you cannot find or afford to have a reliable system to show mapping, information and territories, so you have control over the international expansion of your brand.
Peter Buckingham CFE is the Managing Director of Spectrum Analysis Australia Pty Ltd, a demographic, mapping, franchise network planning and statistical analysis consultancy. Peter is the ‘go-to’ person regarding how and where to establish sites and territories in Australia and now worldwide.
To contact Peter directly:
We have been using a combination of a GIS system and Mango Maps for our global expansion, and find this to be a cost effective system we can use, as we now operate in over 40 different countries world wide with 1,100+ franchises. We can grant a territory we know meets our criteria, and can keep an up to date record and mapping as the new sites are opened. Highly recommended if you want to keep control of your world-wide expansion. Luke Armstrong, Global Sales Director, F45 Training.