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Franchisors

Call in the Experts

Choosing the right experts during your early franchising phase can translate into long-term success.

Mark Siebert

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For those about to enter the world of franchising, the leap may seem daunting. After all, you are about to enter into an entirely new business – the business of selling and servicing franchises. And, just like the franchisees you are hoping to sell to, you will be going in blind – not knowing what you do not know. But not to worry. Just as your future franchisees can turn to you for advice on how to run their new businesses, there is a cadre of experts who can help you with the various aspects of becoming a franchisor.

The First Steps Toward Franchising

The first advisor you may want to consider hiring is the franchise consultant. Franchise consultants can play a vital role both in your decision to franchise and in your ultimate franchise plan. The first and most important role of the franchise consultant should be to provide you with objective advice about the franchisability of your business, an assessment of whether franchising is the best option for you in particular and an understanding of the process involved in franchising, so you can make an informed decision on whether franchising makes sense for you.

Should you decide to franchise, good franchise consultants will be able to help you with a wide array of your initial franchise needs, ranging from the development of your strategic plan, quality control tools and marketing strategies and materials. Strategic planning is perhaps the most important role of the consultant. Many of the key decisions you make in the initial phase – territory, support, royalties and fees – will have a profound impact on the long-term health of your franchise organisation. To get you the best answers to these questions, franchise consultants will complete competitive analysis, examine industry best practices, develop structural and staffing recommendations and subject all your decisions to sophisticated financial analysis. Bear in mind that a 1% error in your royalty structure can easily translate to millions in lost profits, so these are not decisions you should take lightly.

Another key to successful franchising involves quality control. A well-rounded consultant will be able to help you develop the tools necessary to maintain the brand: operations manuals, site selection manuals, field consultant manuals, training programmes and even training videos should be a part of your quality control arsenal, and the more aggressively you are growing, the more of these tools you are likely to need.
Of course, you cannot be a franchisor without selling franchises. That means your consultant should be able to advise you on the best methods for generating franchise sales leads.

Some consultants will also be able to offer their expertise in implementing your franchise marketing – developing marketing plans, brochures, Internet sites and videos on your behalf. Again, the difference of just one incremental franchise sale is likely to mean hundreds of thousands of rands over the years, so if your consultant can help you sell more aggressively, it is money well spent.
In evaluating potential franchise consultants, you should look for two things: integrity and expertise. Be very cautious of any consultant who says you should franchise before thoroughly evaluating your business, your goals and your resources. Franchising is not right for everybody, and those who would tell you that it is may be more concerned with their own welfare than yours.

In evaluating any potential advisor, be sure you understand the qualifications of every individual who will be working on your account. If you are a start-up franchisor, you are well advised to work with people who have built businesses from the ground up. Many franchise consultants may have spent their entire careers working in large franchise organisations, which might be a great match for larger franchisors, but a poor match for the new franchisor. And don’t rely on client lists alone – if you are working with a rookie employed by an experienced firm, you are still working with a rookie. Be sure you examine each individual consultant’s bio.

You should also look for breadth of expertise. The franchise consultant will be providing you with advice on a wide array of issues. The more brains the firm has to put on your engagement, and the more areas of expertise, the more value you will get. While sole practitioners may have a good deal of experience, if you go in that direction, be careful to work with someone who is committed to consulting as a career, not someone filling time between jobs.

Franchise Attorneys and Other Professionals

An equally important decision for the new franchisor is the choice of a franchise attorney. As a new franchisor, you need an attorney to draft your franchise agreement and offering circular, apply for trademarks and prepare your state registrations.

In making your choice of a franchise lawyer, it is again vital to find someone with the right experience. When it comes to franchise law, having franchise experience is not the same as specialising in franchise law. Many lawyers who claim to have franchise experience may simply have worked for franchisees in evaluating franchise agreements. Franchise law is a highly specialised field that is constantly evolving based on changes in legislation. You need an expert who works with franchisors for a career – not as a sideline.

While your franchise consultant can recommend good franchise lawyers, beware of consultants who want to do the legal work on your behalf. First of all, these ‘consultants’ will require you to hire a second attorney to review their work, in an attempt to avoid charges of the unauthorised practice of law. Aside from the fact that you now have to pay for your legal documents twice, there are significant problems with this approach.
The issue here is one of conflict of interest. When you hire an attorney, the attorney is obligated to represent you. When you use a consultant’s attorney, the attorney represents the consulting firm. If the consultant tells the attorney to push through as many documents as fast as possible in an effort to increase their profit margin, then that is the attorney’s responsibility. If the consultant will also sell franchises on your behalf, another conflict arises. The easiest way to sell franchises may be to draft a watered-down agreement that may not be in the franchisor’s best interest.

An attorney who represents you directly will have no such conflicts. Equally important, often the best and most experienced lawyers will gravitate toward working in an independent practice or for a law firm, as this will allow them to build equity in their practice. Consultants who provide legal work may attract entry level attorneys new to franchising – so if you are thinking of going this route, be sure to ask the attorney who will be drafting your contract the tough questions about how long they personally have been practising franchise law. Franchise law is simply too complex to trust the development of your franchise legal documents to an inexperienced attorney.

Other Professionals Who Can Play a Role

As you get ready to implement your franchise programme, there are a number of other professionals who can help. Depending on how aggressively you choose to franchise, the management recruiter specialising in franchising may be one of your first calls.

For companies looking to grow aggressively, one of the best ways to do so is to bring on management talent with franchise specific expertise.
As a new franchisor, it is unlikely that you can identify, let alone enlist, this level of talent without the assistance of a recruiter. These recruiters (who seem to know everyone in franchising, especially those who are looking for a change) can often find the perfect person and help convince them to join your young franchise team. At the same time, they can be an invaluable resource to you in helping you gauge proposed compensation packages and personnel needs.

Another invaluable resource is a PR firm specialising in franchising. Few things will propel your company to the top as fast as favourable publicity. Others who will be part of your early network of advisors will focus on sales and lead generation. There are currently over 70 websites that act as franchise advertising and lead generation portals. There are networks of franchise brokers who will also assist with franchise lead generation. And the latest trend is hiring franchise sales outsourcing organisations that can provide you with a professional alternative to the traditional in-house franchise sales organisation.

As a new franchisor, you will be meeting many and perhaps all of these experts – but be cautious. To some extent, you will be putting the future of your business in the hands of these professionals. Just as you would advise your prospective franchisees, be sure you choose wisely. Experts are not created equal, but with the help of well-chosen professionals, you do not have to go it alone.

As a franchise consultant since 1985, Mark Siebert founded the iFranchise Group, a franchise consulting firm, in 1999. During his career, Mark has personally assisted more than 30 Fortune 1000 companies and over 200 startup franchisors. He regularly conducts workshops and seminars on franchising around the world. For more than a decade, Mark also has been actively involved in assisting U.S. franchisors in expanding abroad. In 2001, he co-founded Franchise Investors Inc., an investment firm specializing in franchise companies. He's on the board of directors of the American Association of Franchisees and Dealers and the board of advisors to Connections for Community Ownership, which encourages minority business and job development through franchising.

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Company Posts

Muscle And Grill Is Your Daily Chef. We Provide Fresh, Nutritional Food At Affordable Prices

It isn’t always easy to stay in tune with both body and mind. We do all the prepping for you so that you can keep up your pursuit of greatness.

Muscle and Grill

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Muscle and Grill is a healthy fast food establishment based in South Africa. In the face of modern South Africa, lives spent on the go require a fuel to match their aspirations while maintaining a delicious, fast and fresh service.

As our lives swirl into life’s vast depths of opportunity, our bodies are often the product of poor health habits, while trying to keep on the move to achieve our goals. Muscle and Grill challenges this. We want to be able to support the South Africa of tomorrow by offering the food your body needs to keep reaching new heights – to keep pushing the boundaries of accomplishment with health food convenience.

At Muscle and Grill we’ve got you covered. We provide nutritional fast food that is fresh and affordable. We have your health at heart. You could start your day off with some free-range scrambled eggs or fresh oats – for lunch a mixed bowl of rice, protein and fresh vegetables – or to round off your day, replenish your mind and body with a hearty health-infused burger and all its wholesome goodness. We have not forgotten that home constitutes a hungry family who have all been active, so grab a lean beef pasta salad with some greens on the side to go.

Related: SA Fast Food Franchising On The Rise

It isn’t always easy to stay in tune with both body and mind. We do all the prepping for you so that you can keep up your pursuit of greatness.

About us

It was once said that great ideas are born from ones’ frustrations. That is exactly how Muscle and Grill came about. Having no real on-the-go option to stay healthy, or having the time to prepare to be healthy, became a huge frustration for us. We struggled to find enough hours in the day to keep up with a busy lifestyle and still eat healthy while on the move. Our work came first and our lifestyles suffered.

The vision for Muscle and Grill is to make it possible to stay healthy on the go. We want healthy food to be easily accessible for all walks of life.

Our mission is to provide quality, healthy fast-food. The food we provide is delicious and will keep you coming back for more.

Concept

muscle-and-grill

Muscle and Grill works on an almost self-service basis. The point of sale system is customer operated where you can select what meal you would like to have. Once payment has been processed electronically the kitchen staff will receive the order and prepare it to spec. Muscle and Grill will be a completely cashless business, making it super-efficient for consumers and business owners.

Related: 3 Crucial Considerations For New Multi-unit Franchisees

The concept of Muscle and Grill is partnered with Puré Frooty. Puré Frooty is a self-service smoothie bar which prepares smoothies for you at the touch of a button. You can have a store with or without a machine – the choice is yours. Both concepts look to promote the idea of healthy living on the go.

We’ve looked to compliment our values by looking after that which grounds us. Our packaging and utensils are all eco-friendly, as we believe ‘going-green’ is not just a choice of eating but of the environment too.

So, when you are ready to join the next revolution in the fast food industry contact Muscle and Grill at info@muscleandgrill.co.za or visit the website at www.muscleandgrill.co.za to inquire on our franchise options today. Achieve your goals, stay on the move and look after yourself through Muscle and Grill.

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Company Posts

Nando’s Is Firing Up The East

Carlos Duarte has been part of the Nando’s brand since inception. When his brother Fernando co-founded the flamed grilled chicken brand in 1987, Carlos soon participated in its success and today owns four highly successful franchises in Johannesburg — three in the east and one in the south. Here’s how it all began.

Nedbank

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  • Player: Carlos Duarte
  • Franchise: Nando’s
  • Position: Franchisee
  • Visit: www.nandos.co.za

What were you doing before becoming a franchisee?

I was in the audio visual technology field, as an employee. Then I joined Nando’s as an assistant manager in the Savoy and Rosettenville corporate stores. Franchising was my first experience of entrepreneurship.

Why did you decide to become a franchisee?

When my brother, Fernando Duarte, launched Nando’s in 1987, I noticed its quick growth and wanted in on the action. Being assistant store manager prepared me for when the opportunity to run my own store came along soon after.

What prompted you to partner with Nando’s?

I joined Nando’s in 1991 as a joint venture partner. At the time, Nando’s hadn’t yet franchised its operations, and the JV partnership meant the brand owned 51% of the business, while I owned 49%. My first franchise store was in Edenglen in 2001.

Related: (Watch) Why Nando’s Is Clucking Its Way To The Top

Describe some of the challenges of running not one, but four franchise locations

At the Edenglen store, we initially battled with sales and getting feet into the store. To be honest, I think the area was overtraded at the time, so it wasn’t the best location. Since acquiring the store in Lambton, Germiston, another in Greenstone and a third in Comaro, I’ve learnt to be cleverer in how I do things — and how I handle some of the same challenges — and learn every day from the brand itself.

Name some of the benefits you’ve experienced as a Nando’s franchisee

Nando’s is 31 years old this year. We’re in 30-odd countries worldwide with thousands of stores across the globe. As franchisees, we leverage off the dynamism of an operational business that’s known for its marketing — customers talk about our ads and they love our food.

What kind of support do you receive from Nando’s as a multi-unit franchisee?

Besides the popular marketing campaigns that attract customers, Nando’s has an extensive training manual along with a skills development training consultant who comes to the store for two days to help staff understand and implement it. The training is really effective — it has to be as this industry involves a very high turnover of staff and new skills need to be taught often.

Why is it important for a franchisee to have a good banking partner?

As a franchisee, your bank should understand your business — from operating costs, to overdraft needs and revamping expenses — so it has cash available for loans that can be approved quickly, with minimal hassle. On the technical side, a reliable mPOS device is imperative, especially for us, because 30% of our sales volumes are from home and office deliveries. It’s a fundamental method of payment every bank should provide its customers of a similar nature.


What advice do you have for budding franchisees on seeking out a good franchise brand and banking partner for their business?

  • Do your research to ensure you’re partnering with a brand that is established, well-known and expect to pay a fair price for that franchise.
  • Be aware of how the franchise brand is perceived in the market and what location opportunities are available to you as a franchisee.
  • Choose a banking facility that always has the funds available to grow your business.
  • Ensure the bank understands the brand’s business model and where you’re falling short.

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Franchisors

Make Your Business A Good Neighbour

Take your business from invisible and struggling to a thriving neighbourhood landmark.

Richard Mukheibir

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Is your business invisible to your customers? You may have fewer customers than you would like because your business does not seem relevant to those in your neighbourhood. This is an even bigger mistake than not being able to reach beyond your direct trading area.

To appeal to people – customers – you should also present your business as a group of people who help other people. This can be helping supply them with goods they need to buy, helping provide them with loans or simply being a reassuring and consistent presence in your neighbourhood.

As our Local Area Marketing Manager, Juan Botha, tells Cash Converters’ franchisees, this is about blending and fitting in like a neighbour. It is about give and take. And all of that adds up to community engagement.

Related: Effective Ways To Bring Customers To Your Door

Here are six of his top tips:

  1. Introduce the family: Cultivate a friendly, welcoming atmosphere in your shop or office. Introduce new staff to regular customers. Make sure that new customers can get to know staff through your in-store welcome boards and name badges.
  2. Find your partners: Identify the gatekeepers in your community and create partnerships with them. Think about approaching sports clubs, schools, church groups, sewing circles and book clubs.
  3. Snatch some selfies: If you have local celebrities as customers, take a selfie and post it on your social media: “Guess who came to say hello today . . .” Build relationships with local heroes and you will be able to call on them to host your in-house fun day or charity drive.
  4. Give back to business: Be involved in local business chambers and groupings as more than a participant. Show you are a good business neighbour by facilitating speed networking, hosting a speaker or sponsoring a sound system or catering for the next meeting.
  5. Adopt a cause: Identify a local charity and rally support for it.
  6. Help the community: Launch or participate in a community project – anything from an area clean-up or helping repaint school classrooms to planting trees or a community vegetable garden.

Building relationships helps you build your business’s reputation. That is because you can make people start to feel a certain way about your business and influence them positively towards you. Then, when they need something that you supply, you will be top of mind.

That neighbourhood warmth creates a sense of ownership. These prospective customers will already know how you can benefit their lives and so are more likely to become your regular customers.

They will be acting on the fact that people remember you for the experience you give them. As top American writer Maya Angelou said, their memories will be shaped by how you make them feel – not how or what you make them think. Relationships may be intangible but they can bring real value to your business.

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