If you’re interested in starting a franchise, you have a lot of company. With many franchisors for franchisees to choose from, how do you stand out from the crowd? How do you create a unique selling proposition (USP) that will allow you to compete?
Finding Your Small Pond
When facing the task of creating this USP, you should start by understanding that every buyer’s universe is different. No franchise buyer would ever attempt to analyse the thousands of franchisors in the marketplace.
Some will start by choosing a specific industry segment in which they are interested or that capitalises on their skills or experience. They may narrow the list based on how they examine the marketplace – using brokers, trade shows, franchise directories or the Internet.
Some will be interested only in established franchisors, while others will be looking to get in on the ‘ground floor’ of a franchise poised for explosive growth. Many will eliminate franchisors quickly, based on size of investment and their available capital. In short, every buyer’s process will be both different and smaller than the universe of all available franchise concepts.
For you, as a new franchisor, this is good news. Although most franchise buyers are not fishing in your pond, the buyers that are, will be fishing in a much smaller body of water. That means an understanding of your specific pond, and what fish are in it, should be the first order of business.
Armed with this knowledge, you must then narrow your buyer profile as much as possible.
Part of this process can be intuitive, but more often the only way to obtain this understanding is research – talking to either your own franchisees or those of your closest competitors for insight into buyer motivation, media and the specific message that will sell to your audience.
The Many Sales of Franchising
The savvy franchisor also instinctively understands that there is not simply one sale to make, but rather four separate sales that each franchise sales person must undertake. Prospects are likely to ask themselves four basic questions:
- Should I go into business for myself?
- Should I go into the widget business?
- Should I go it alone or buy a franchise?
- Should I buy your widget franchise?
The answer to the first question, of course, is a mainstay of any franchise sales presentation. But this answer will be similar for most franchisors.
The answer to the second question will need to be woven into your sales and marketing strategies. To answer it, you need to understand and develop the selling proposition for the widget industry, but chances are it is not ‘unique’ but a shared message promulgated by all your closest direct competitors. Only when you’re in the enviable position of being the only player in a market segment can this question yield a true USP.
The third question offers little room for uniqueness. Do you offer any support services not offered by other franchises? Do you provide guarantees? For most franchise concepts, while the question is integral to franchise sales, the answer will be similar across many franchises.
So the core of the USP lies not in differentiating a concept from the vast herd of franchisors, but in differentiating it from your closest direct competitors.
Putting the ‘U’ in USP
A behemoth now, the McDonald’s juggernaut started with a single location. Before they captured the American consumer’s ‘mind share’ for fast-food burgers, they had dozens of competitors.
So why was Burger King successful while so many others failed? The main factor can be boiled down to a single sentence: “Have it your way.” Burger King positioned itself to be different from McDonald’s, not just a ‘me-too’ operation. It was positioned in such a way that McDonald’s could not respond competitively – because in order to do so, McDonald’s would have had to revisit its entire kitchen operations.
Finding Your Differentiator
There are a number of ways in which a company can differentiate itself. For those who are first to enter a new industry or niche, the most dominant position to seek is that of market leader. To achieve that status, a company must grow rapidly enough to achieve brand recognition.
For the rest of us, we need to become the best at something – either the biggest, cheapest, fastest, easiest or hottest. A company can try to be two of these things at once, but those that try to be ‘all things to all people’ quickly find they only succeed at being mediocre at everything – a guarantee of long-term failure.
Aside from the concept itself, you can also differentiate yourself by size of the initial investment, target market, geography, quality of services provided to franchisees and franchise structure. A cautionary note: those taking the cheapest route should focus on minimising the franchisee’s investment, not the royalty structure.
Regardless of where this differentiation occurs, “stake out” the areas where you want to excel, develop a USP around those areas and acknowledge the areas in which you’ll allow competition.
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.
- Brand: Muscle and Grill
- Established: 2018
- Website: www.muscleandgrill.co.za
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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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.
- 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.
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.
Make Your Business A Good Neighbour
Take your business from invisible and struggling to a thriving neighbourhood landmark.
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.
Here are six of his top tips:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Adopt a cause: Identify a local charity and rally support for it.
- 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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