Entering into a franchise agreement does not mean you are purchasing the ‘yellow brick road’ to profitability. Being a part of a franchise also does not relieve you of your duties as an entrepreneur. After all, a franchise is still a business, and all businesses require work to be successful.
Some people think that going the franchise route will make their job easy. I mean, the franchise does everything for you, right? Wrong! There are many mistaken beliefs people have when considering being a franchisee.
Related: Franchise Or Start-Up?
Here are three of the biggest franchise misconceptions I have come across in my career.
1. No need for additional marketing and advertising
One of the benefits of being a franchisee is the advertising. Most established franchises do advertising campaigns to help attract customers to your business. All you do is pay your royalties each month, and a percentage of those — as spelled out in your franchise agreement — go to running print, television and radio ads.
While this seems like a great benefit to you, it actually does more for the franchise branding than it does for you as a franchisee.
You are unlikely to have a say in any of the advertising campaigns. This means that anything you are doing on the local level will not be highlighted, unless you put forth your own advertising campaign.
You also need to take into consideration local targeting, such as social media marketing and website marketing. The franchisor probably has its own website, but what about you? Their Facebook page is going to be full of information about the company, but have little (if anything) about your store.
When considering a franchise, always budget for additional advertising and marketing outside of what is listed in the franchise agreement. This is extremely important when you are in an area saturated with similar franchises, as you want to make your location the one people want to visit.
2. Success is guaranteed
A franchise is an established brand, and as such, people think they will automatically be successful as a franchisee. This is a huge misconception and can cause you to have unrealistic expectations. Franchise locations close all the time, the majority of which do so because of non-profitability.
A franchise may also not be as established as you think. If that is the case, your expectations (and what is stated in the franchise agreement) will not be met. This is why it is important to research a franchise thoroughly before entering into an agreement.
The worst place to do your research is on the company’s own website. The best place to look is with current and previous owners of the same franchise.
Just because you buy an established brand does not mean you are ‘buying profitability’. It takes hard work on the part of the franchisee, as well as the franchisor living up to their end of the agreement, in order to make it successful. Ultimately, success lies with the franchisee.
3. Leaving a franchise is easy
Closing up a business is more difficult than you think. And when it comes to franchising, there is a little bit extra that you need to consider. If you do decide to close up shop, simply walking away is not an option. Under most franchise agreements, you are still liable to pay royalties to the franchisor.
Related: How Risky Is That Franchise?
Don’t think because you aren’t making money that you won’t have to pay your percentage of revenue. Many franchise agreements require a minimum royalty payment regardless of revenue. So even if you close up shop, you are still obligated to pay the franchisor for the length of the agreement.
While going the franchise route may seem like a good route, you must consider that it is still a business. There are benefits and drawbacks to owning a franchise just like there are with starting your own business from scratch. You know the saying: If it was so easy, everyone would be doing it. And obviously not everyone is doing it.
The Future Of Franchising Looks Smaller (And Fancier)
Franchises are adding smaller locations and reduced menu options, as niche markets emerge, to attract the customer of the future.
As the owner of a thriving franchise, you’re well aware of the fact that fluctuations in the world economy has both negative and positive effects on business. When it comes to your successful franchise, tough times could mean adopting new trends or seizing gaps, potentially resulting in a new franchise concept you wouldn’t have otherwise thought of.
“The buzz word in global franchising is ‘flexibility and adaptability’,” according to the Franchise Association of South Africa (FASA). “Whether a result of a need to inject some life into stagnant franchise brands or as a result of the new world order brought about by the recession, franchising is embracing alternative and options in a big way.”
You can do this by either devising innovative areas to franchise or allowing more flexible ways for franchisees to operate to help with their bottom line. FASA has earmarked these as some of the biggest franchising trends in 2018 and beyond:
Smaller, more cost-effective franchise models
When franchisees don’t have high franchise fees and start-up costs to worry about, they can focus more on what customers want, and deliver. The added benefit of smaller spaces include having fewer employees and reasonable rental.
Among the new frontiers in franchising are the food court losing its legacy as the preferred setting for food franchises, as service stations increase in popularity in the industry. A number of brands – like Steers, Debonairs and Mugg & Bean On-the-Go outlets – are co-locating with major fuel retailers to create fully-integrated accessible centres.
Niche markets are offering one-of-a-kind franchises
“The opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a new franchise trend is also on the rise,” notes FASA. This could be offering a unique gourmet food experience in your outlets or a ‘green’ space of energy saving technology in your operations.
“Consumers have gained control of what they want,” says Morné Cronjé, head of franchising at FNB Business. “It is no longer about what you have on the menu, but how your product or service can be tailor-made to what a customer really wants.”
Founded just five years ago (2013), RocoMamas boasts over 60 franchise outlets, clearly responding to the essence of this trend –allowing consumers to build their own burgers without having to pay for items they’d rather leave out.
Stay ahead of the game
For long-term success, franchisors who want to expand their business should start exploring beyond present circumstances and current predictions.
“2018 will no doubt bring its challenges, however for every challenge there is a window of opportunity to explore. We are advising franchisors to scrutinise these trends carefully, it can definitely give them a boost for 2018,” says Cronjé.
As Consumers’ Tastes Change Can Your Franchise Keep Up?
More of your customers are eating in, and if you’re not packaging, portioning and pricing your food accordingly, they’re heading to a retailer that does.
It’s generally believed that it’s cheaper to cook your own breakfast, lunch or supper than to go out and pay a much higher price for the same food in your fridge at home. But today’s consumer’s live fast-paced lifestyles – so food is becoming more about convenience.
31% of 6 022 middle-to-high income South African earners surveyed by BusinessTech, put eating out and entertainment at the top of their list of things they’re most willing to cut their spending on in 2018 to save money. Research by supermarket giant Pick n Pay correlates, reporting an increase in customers buying quality convenience food, not just to entertain at home, but for dining at home.
Consumers are empowered by variety
You’ve heard about the ‘fast casual generation’, aka Millennials? They are demanding healthy, affordable eating experiences. But do you know how this affects the future of the food industry, and your business in particular – because they’re not the only ones adapting their lifestyles.
An increasing number of food brands and chefs are compelled to create complete ranges of new, convenient meal options that are not only packaged, portioned and precooked attractively, but affordable too.
The fastest growing sector of retail foodservice for the past four years has been the convenience store sector. Non-traditional avenues of distribution are growing, gobbling market share while establishing new patterns of consumption, price points, and customer loyalty.
Shoppers are becoming value-focused
A savvy franchise would acknowledge that although pre-packaged and pre-cooked convenience food isn’t a new trend among consumers and supermarkets, it is gaining popularity. “Some of the most notable trends in 2017 were an increasing shift to convenience foods as customers looked for both value and convenience,” says Pick ‘n Pay’s Head of Marketing, John Bradshaw.
Value for money and healthier food choices will continue to be top of the convenience food list for consumer in 2018, as more shoppers cut down on luxuries.
“We’ve seen significant growth in the number of customers looking for an easy way to enjoy a good meal without the cost of eating out,” says Bradshaw.
But he cautions that South African shoppers have always been value-focused, and while the most significant shift Pick ‘n Pay has seen is how all its shoppers, no matter what their income levels, are watching their budgets.
Maximise Your Social Media Reach This Holiday Season
Quick and cost-effective, social media is your best tool to reach target markets when it matters most – during the holidays.
It’s not just the end of the year that can be lucrative for businesses. School holidays and other major breaks during the year present consumers with more time to spend shopping. Why not ensure money is spent at your franchise by capitalising on the minimal cost and maximum exposure of social media?
You don’t have to create entirely new deals or promotions from what you may already have running on your store, but find a way to make it special for your social media followers, suggests Kelly Mason, marketer at Customer Paradigm.
Holiday campaigns on Twitter, benefitting from popular hashtags, streaming live content, and receiving information instead of just distributing it via social media are just some of the ways to stay ahead of the competition.
Know your customers well
The first step to attracting customers and getting them to complete a sale is understanding their customer journey.
“Being able to document where they spend their time online, which social channels they use most, and what they’re reading or watching on those channels is a huge plus. Finding that crucial information is fairly easy to do, thanks to modern-day marketing tools and resources,” advises Paul Herman, VP: Product and Solutions Enablement Group, at Sprinklr, a unified customer experience management platform for enterprises.
The better you understand your customers, the easier it is to reach them through a campaign optimised for their interests.
Master social listening
You could be using social media all wrong in the run up to all your holiday campaigns. Perhaps it’s time you used this platform to listen to your customers?
“Through social listening, marketers can identify major trends and product keywords in their industries,” says Herman. “For instance, knowing those keywords can help marketers identify which social platforms are more popular for a target audience. With that information, they can make smarter decisions about where to spend their money and which products or services to promote on each platform.”
Related: 10 Laws Of Social Media Marketing
Use the information gathered to determine what customers like about your product, what they dislike about it, and how you can improve upon it so they can buy more of it. The more of this data you collect, the better and more effective your interactions with customers will be.
Try something new
50% of consumers look for a video of the product they want to buy before going to an ecommerce store to buy it, according to a 2016 Google survey. “Video can be an extremely effective way to get your customers to take action – in this case, to make a purchase with your store,” adds Mason.
Video adverts are often used as an experimental tool in social marketing and switching it up on platforms such as Facebook Live, Instagram Live, Instagram Stories, or Snapchat – depending on your brand’s activity and your audiences’ interests – can help attract customers during seasonal periods.
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