The problem is that scaling a concept into a successful franchise involves a lot more than an uphill climb. Building a franchise is more like trying to summit Everest, and too many entrepreneurs start the journey without being fully prepared.
1. Having a scattered or unclear brand
You’d think that clearly defining your brand would be the easiest step of franchising, but it’s often the objective where most entrepreneurs miss the mark. Entrepreneurs are ‘big idea’ people, and sometimes it’s hard to contain those ideas in a single, streamlined, clear, meaningful brand.
A lot of entrepreneurs think other people just don’t ‘get it’, but a great concept is always simple enough to understand.
Here’s the ultimate test: If you can define your brand in six words or less and complete strangers understand immediately, you’re good to go.
2. Relying on bad legal advice
Most people dread dealing with legal issues, but if you’re going to develop a franchise, having quality legal counsel (and being prepared to foot the bill) is non-negotiable. We all want to invest in resources that will nourish the business, but business owners tend to balk at legal fees.
Entrepreneurs looking to franchise should never cut corners on legal advice, especially in the growth stages when every legal decision is crucial. Don’t think of top-notch legal counsel as money down the drain — think of it instead as a fundamental requirement for building your business on a sturdy foundation.
3. Not sharing the ‘secret sauce’ with franchisees
Entrepreneurs are charismatic, and when they’ve built a successful business and start considering franchising, they often severely underestimate how much of their personal touch makes that business thrive. To win on a massive scale, a franchised company has to be duplicable, but you can’t replicate yourself.
Franchisees have to feel connected to the spirit of the brand, and the best way to do that is through great educational resources. Offer franchisees immediate, easy access to a full suite of educational tools that will show them the recipe for your secret sauce so it can be recreated in every unit.
4. Being inflexible when change is necessary
Lots of entrepreneurs refer to their business as their baby, and with good reason. Companies need constant attention and care, and that kind of effort can only be delivered when we’re deeply passionate about a concept.
However, passion can lead to tunnel vision, which makes it hard to listen to advice when something about a brand needs to change. It’s hard to know when to stick to your original idea and when to accept that something needs to be tweaked, but it’s also important to listen.
5. Failing to define a territory
Franchises are designed to be big, but it’s healthier to build strength according to a plan than to try to lift 100kg on your first visit to the gym. Instead of trying to conquer the whole country (or the globe) in one stroke, break the goal into manageable pieces and learn to delegate.
Savvy franchises are broken into territories that are managed by regional developers who can recruit new franchisees and support developing units.
Dividing growth into territories also helps the business gain better insight into regional and local demographics that lead to tighter sales initiatives and more refined marketing and messaging.
6. Listening to bad sales advice
Franchising has created a whole new arena of sales theory and tactics. There are so many layers to selling a franchise, and it’s hard for most franchises to keep up. From bringing on new franchisees to catching a customer’s attention, keeping them interested, and maintaining relationships over time, there is a lot to oversee.
Working with vetted franchise sales consultants takes a lot of the pain and strain out of every facet of franchise sales, and just like partnering with great attorneys, it is well worth the investment.