Connect with us

Researching a Franchise

Debunking Franchise Ownership Myths

Forget the hype and stake your claim to all the rewards franchising has to offer.





As a 25-year veteran of the franchise industry and a multi-brand franchisor, I’ve seen tremendous growth in the popularity of franchising. However, a number of misconceptions about franchise ownership still exist, and if you accept them at face value, there’s a good chance you’ll be robbing yourself of an opportunity that can be not only financially rewarding, but also personally satisfying. Before you make up your mind, it helps to know the facts.

Here are eight franchise myths that will help you realistically evaluate whether buying a franchise is right for you:

1I’ll only be successful if I find the right business

Many of us define ‘right’ as what we’re already good at. But don’t limit yourself. Define your transferable skills from the corporate world: delegation, management, marketing, etc.

If you had them in one type of business, you can easily use them in another.

2I’ll instantly know the right opportunity when I see it

Many people want to fall in love with their business at first sight. That’s an emotional decision, not a career choice. You have to take the time to learn about the details and nuances of an opportunity to understand its potential. You simply can’t do that when you make a determination based only on what you feel today.

3I can’t be in a business I know nothing about

Of course you can. It’s natural to want to stay in your comfort zone and stick to areas you have experience in. But as a franchise owner, your job is running and growing your business, no matter what it is. Remember, you have transferable skills. That’s your strength. You can hire people who know the details. Your road to success is buying into and learning the franchise system – which is already a positive working model – and then using your talents to make it grow.

4There’s no freedom in a franchise – corporate dictates everything

This is one of the most pervasive myths about franchise ownership. In actuality, there’s tons of room for individuality. The franchisor ‘dictates’ only one thing: the basic system – the framework, if you will – that’s already proven successful. Beyond that, you’re in charge. You’re managing your business. You decide who to hire and fire, how to market your location and how to promote it regionally. Keep in mind that the franchisor wants you to succeed, because if you don’t, they don’t. It’s a win-win situation.

5Franchises stifle creativity

Again, this is patently untrue. The only limitations you have are those that have already been proven to generate income. This might include signage, uniforms, formulas, protocol, and so on – the basics that allow you to represent the brand and your own location as professionally as possible.

But it’s completely up to you to think up new ideas and make suggestions to corporate. In fact, most franchise parent companies encourage suggestions, because it’s where they get many of their best ideas. McDonald’s corporate, for example, didn’t come up with the inspiration to start selling breakfast. The concept of the Egg McMuffin was developed by a franchisee.

6I can’t afford a franchise

Sure you can, if you look at it for what it is: an investment in your future. Most franchises can be established for well under R400 000, and some can be started for as little as R48 000. Your only payments to the parent company are a one-time franchise fee and weekly or monthly royalties, which are usually determined on a case-by-case basis.

Beyond that, your out-of-pocket expenses are the same as they’d be for any business – salaries, local advertising, etc. The difference is you have the support and training of the franchisor, which will help you ramp up to full speed far more quickly than you could on your own.

7I’ll have to quit my job to become a franchisee

Many franchise concepts are specifically designed for people who are working other jobs. In fact, a large percentage of franchise owners are passive rather than full-time investors.

8I can only be successful doing something I love

Believe it or not, businesses based on an owner’s background have the highest failure rate. Your franchise business is a vehicle to the lifestyle you’re seeking. If you limit your choices to what you’re familiar with or good at, you’re placing yourself at a major disadvantage by ignoring a huge number of possibilities that are outside your realm of past business experience.

Can franchises still fail? Sure they can. But the vast majority of the time this is due to the owner deviating from the system and cutting corners by using inferior materials or altering formulas. The key to making it as a franchisee is consistency. If you don’t adhere to the groundwork – which, once again, is in place because it works – your chances of success will drop dramatically. You want to leave the habits from the corporate world where they are and bring along your marketable and transferable skills.

Entrepreneur Magazine is South Africa's top read business publication with the highest readership per month according to AMPS. The title has won seven major publishing excellence awards since it's launch in 2006. Entrepreneur Magazine is the "how-to" handbook for growing companies. Find us on Google+ here.


Researching a Franchise

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.

Diana Albertyn




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.”

Related: As Consumers’ Tastes Change Can Your Franchise Keep Up?

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.

Related: Key Franchising Trends To Consider For 2018

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.

Continue Reading

Researching a Franchise

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.

Diana Albertyn




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.

Related: Driving Your Business Growth Towards More Customers

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.

Related: 5 Techniques To Leave Customers Grinning And Vowing To Return

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.

Continue Reading

Researching a Franchise

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.

Diana Albertyn




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.

Related: Why Your Business’ Social Media Marketing Strategy Is Probably Wrong

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.

Continue Reading



Recent Posts

Follow Us

We respect your privacy. 
* indicates required.


FREE E-BOOK: How to Build an Entrepreneurial Mindset

Sign up now for Entrepreneur's Daily Newsletters to Download​​