If you think it’s time to expand your brand and become a franchise business, the next steps can be confusing and challenging. Offering your business to investors as a franchise opportunity requires careful planning and a commitment to supporting your franchise partners to ensure long-term success.
Our franchise consultants have put together this 10-step guide to converting your business into a franchise system in order to help you get on your way.
The first step in building a successful franchise is to know what your short- and long-term goals are for your brand. Take some time to clarify how and why you want to branch out, and what you want your franchise business to look like down the road.
Selecting a franchise consultant is the most important decision in franchising your business. Franchising is only learned through experience and when selecting a franchise consultant you must make sure to select one that has operated his/her own franchise system. Operating a franchise system successfully is the best way to learn about franchising. Your franchise consultant will refer you to a few franchise attorneys who with inputs from the franchise consultant draft the legal documents known as Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) for your franchise system.
Franchise development isn’t just about what you want. It’s also about what you have to offer to prospective entrepreneurs buying a franchise. Working with your franchise consultant, you will develop a plan on how to position your offering so that it is easily expandable. Your consultant will review your business operation and recommend ways for effectively delivering various services (i.e. their weekly inventory) for franchisee’s operations.
Many would-be franchise starters are so excited about the opportunity to spread their brand that they rush ahead with anyone who shows interest. This is an ill-advised move. Rather, you need to set clear standards for your prospective franchisees up front, including liquid assets, experience, completion of training programs, etc. It will look far worse for your brand if you have franchises popping up and fizzling out repeatedly than if you take your time and expand slowly.
You don’t want to begin expanding all over the place. Your best expansion strategy is to begin in your local market first and then to the adjacent city and outwards from there to adjacent states and on and on. You don’t want your new locations to encroach on your existing market, and you definitely don’t want your franchisees encroaching on one another. Look at a map and set up buffer zones between prospective markets. Then consider which neighborhoods you do and don’t want your franchise to be located in. This will ultimately determine how consumers perceive your brand. Setting minimum standards for the quality of shopping centers or strip mall locations is an important barrier to entry.
Now that you have all the planning done, it’s time to make the big leap. Your first franchise location will really put your business model to the test and determine if you need to do more work. Once you’ve chosen your first partner, you should put him in touch with a commercial realtor in order to find a location that suits both your needs. Then begin the build-out. As the location is being prepared you should also be working on training your franchisee up to your expectations for customer service and product knowledge. The more information they are armed with, the better their location will be.
Once the doors open at your first franchise location, make sure that you are available to offer support and guidance. Even the most well-prepared grand opening will still suffer from some unexpected setbacks. You need to be available to answer questions, handle IT issues and offer guidance. As the first few weeks and months pass, plan on continuing training and updating your process as you discover gaps in your plan. Be open to learning throughout the process as you learn how to start a franchise.
The launch of the first franchise will provide you with a wealth of knowledge and is very exciting to see your business grow into another location without investing any of your money or time. This is why after it is open and operating smoothly you may be tempted to pick up another right away. Don’t take on too much at once as you will still need to provide adequate support to your first franchise as well as your home location.
There are many steps involved in franchising your business. The majority of your time and effort should go into finding the right franchise consultant that has the experience and the expertise for this task.
Once you reach the point of actually choosing a franchisee and a new location, all of your energy will go into supporting them through the earliest stages of launching the business. The more support you can offer, the more successful the launch will be, and the easier it will be to plan your next franchise.
Whatever you do, make sure that you maintain your screening standards as you progress through the process to ensure that your partners are also up for the challenge.
To learn more, contact franchise consultants at Franchise Creator today and see how we can help you build a bulletproof franchise business.