The most successful franchise owners are passionate about what they do. Don’t choose a franchise that offers services you wouldn’t personally want to do, even if it’s a lucrative franchise.
With thousands of business opportunities to choose from, the hardest question is not, ‘Where do I start?’ but rather, ‘Which is right for me?’ We are faced with new business opportunities every day, and not all are the right fit.
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If you are considering starting a franchise location, here are the questions you should ask yourself:
1. What are my conditions of satisfaction?
I have three conditions of satisfaction. If a business opportunity doesn’t meet at least two of the three, I won’t do it. For me, I need to have fun, to learn and to build wealth. I also need to apply these criteria to picking the right franchise opportunity.
Having a clear understanding of your conditions of satisfaction allows you to quickly say yay or nay to any business opportunity that comes your way.
If you’re not going to have fun, what’s the point? And speaking for myself, if it’s not going to make me money, I’m out.
2. What is my end goal?
Because my conditions are so defined at the start, I know that with any business opportunity I am going to have fun, learn and build wealth. But I also need to define what my end goals will be.
Is your own end goal to provide for your children? Then accept or turn away any business opportunity based on the answer it provides you to that question.
Are you in it for the fame? Then you need to make business decisions that increase your exposure at, first, a local level, then a regional one, then a national one and so forth. In my book, Think Big, Act Bigger, I mention how entrepreneurs need to find a bigger pond to take their businesses to if they’ve outgrown the pond they’re currently in.
I had a great measure of success in my home city of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, so the whole state became my ‘bigger pond’. Then I realised I had 49 other states out there in which to get even bigger.
That became my end goal, and it should be yours, too.
Every business decision you make, from the time you take to select a franchise, to the day you leave it, should be aimed toward obtaining your end goals.
3. What will I not do?
After you’ve determined what your conditions of satisfactions and goals are, the next question is what will you not do? Does the idea of flipping burgers turn your stomach? What about pest control? If there are things you know you won’t do, or won’t enjoy doing, chances are you won’t want to own a business that offers that service, even if it makes really good money.
At the same time, if you’re a small business owner, or an entrepreneur getting your business off the ground, you may have to do things that you didn’t have to do in your cushy C-suite office. I’ve had to clean my own bathroom, for instance. Did I want to do that? Not particularly, but it still had to get done.
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Don’t expect your employees to do the things you want them to do if you’re not willing to do them yourself. Doing the things you normally wouldn’t have to do isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It just gives you a different perspective that will come in handy when your business takes off.
4. What are my passions?
If you thrive on helping people, then your focus on finding the right franchise should include that. If you love animals, consider starting your search with franchises that deal daily with pets.
With hundreds of options out there, it’s important to keep your list of passions short, sweet and to the point, otherwise you will bombard yourself with information.
Along the way, remember that your ‘job’ should stop being a job. Being passionate will take your franchise far, because you love what you do.
5. How involved am I going to be?
If you’re thinking that owning a franchise is simple, and you can work a few hours here or there, you’re sadly mistaken.
Owning a franchise is a lot like having children — you have to feed it money, time and people. You also have to clothe it by maintaining and caring for your property.
You’ll have people to manage and bills to pay, too, so to assume that you can buy into and then walk away from your new business is asking for trouble.
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Yes, there are some opportunities like this that exist, but those are the exception, not the rule. Be truly honest with yourself, because if you’re not, you could be throwing your money down the drain.
With hundreds of choices in franchises to get into, your future will thank you if you do your homework. There are plenty of resources available online. Start with Franchisezone.co.za to learn about great opportunities.
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.”
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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.
Selling Your First Franchise? Consider These Key Pointers
You’re ready to franchise your business, but who do you sell to and how? Your first few franchisees may be the hardest to acquire, but the process will be smoother if you get some basics right.
Business experience gained running your independent brand will come in handy, but looking for franchisees is a different ballgame. “We have to attract the right people in enough numbers to make the difference; and, the key to more leads is to have a multi-prong strategy to marketing,” says franchise strategist and expansion expert Lizette Pirtle.
Using media (social, or otherwise), trained experts in franchise sales, and keeping in mind that whoever you sell to will become an extension of your brand, are important considerations before selling your to first franchisee:
1. Use (all) media wisely
Website marketing, print advertising and social media are just some of the many different ways to attract potential owners to your franchise. But the most cost-effect of the three may be a ‘tweet’ or ‘post’ away, says former Director of Marketing at the International Franchise Association and owner of Burris Branding and Marketing, Jack Burris.
“Three out of four people using the Internet are either on Facebook or LinkedIn or Twitter or all of them. Take advantage of social media,” he says.
“There’s typically no cost to play in the space except for the time that you need to invest to build your brand with a social media presence.”
2. Seek out franchise coaches or brokers
While this is a more traditional method of making reliable franchise sales, it’s a great way to form lasting associations that will take you beyond your first few sales. “Using broker networks is a great way to supplement your own efforts. However, you must spend time developing relationships with these people if you want to get results,” advises Pirtle. “Don’t think that just listing your opportunity with them is sufficient.”
Franchise coaches and brokers have multiple options for potential franchisees, so to put yourself high on their list of consideration when prospects enquire, you have to form memorable relationships.
3. Always consider the bigger picture
Out of all the people your marketing efforts attract, always keep in mind that few will check all the boxes and compromising could cost you in the long run.
“The franchise relationship is a long-term one. If you’re going to be successful as a franchisor, you should start with the attitude that every franchisee will be someone who you’ll have to live with for years to come. And nowhere is this philosophy more important than when awarding your first franchise,” says Mark Siebert, CEO of the iFranchise Group, a franchise consulting organisation.
3 Factors To Focus On When Opening Your First Franchise
To become a successful franchisee, there’s lots more to learn. Take notes and this will be an adventure still with its challenges, but less stress.
Experts and those who’ve gone through the launching, managing and successful running of a franchise will tell you that owning a franchise can be just as risky as owning an independent small business – and it doesn’t get easier after signing on the dotted line. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth giving franchising a shot.
“The hardest part of being a franchisee is learning and adopting all the processes that exist in the brand you’re buying into. But it’s important that a customer can walk into any franchisee’s property across the country and have the exact same experience,” says Jeff Chew, Pizza Factory franchisee.
With that in mind, remember the financial, emotional and physical investment you’ve made in this new venture and let it fuel your success, from before you even serve your first customer
1. Financial and intellectual wealth
Don’t buy into a franchise where you might be undercapitalised, advises Paul Durant, a Junk King franchisee.
Keep in mind that running a new business isn’t challenging only mentally strenuous, but financially too, because you’re not always immediately profitable. Ensure you have enough runway for a few years at a loss or minimal profit.
“I did not do a thorough job in my initial research and discovery calls. I used a lot of my own assumptions and luckily they were fairly close,” recalls Durant.
“I would, however, suggest that you ask very detailed questions during the discovery process and listen carefully to the responses. Often what is not said is equally as important as what is said.”
2. Remember the purpose of the manual
The point of buying into the concept you’ve chosen is to ensure success based on a roadmap that’s already been drawn out for you. Straying from this plan unnecessarily is a shortcut to failure. This doesn’t mean you cannot make changes, but always ensure your growth is where it needs to be by following the system completely.
Franchisee Mark Arduino thought he was taking the advice he’d been given countless times: Just follow the system. But he quickly realised he wasn’t when all the franchise-specific training he’d been through was forgotten in favour of easier shortcuts.
“Then I realised my mistake. I came to see that it’s very user friendly. I’m sorry I didn’t use it from the start!” he says.
If you think you have a better way of doing something detailed in the franchisee manual, do your research. Your decision should follow a discussion with your franchisor, then align to the business plan.
3. Learn at every opportunity
It’s great that you have previous experience in business. It’s a huge bonus that could put you ahead of other franchisees in your network. But, always be willing to learn and put your hand up or open a book if you’re not sure. A vast business background doesn’t guarantee automatic success as a franchisee, so be open to learning from others.
“I have learned more from two of the franchisees in my area than I could ever have imagined and I owe my early success in large part to their willingness to help,” says Jeff Steele, a CMIT Solutions franchisee.
It may sometimes seem like you can do it all on your own, but even when you feel you can do anything, you cannot do everything. That’s why you joined a franchise that (hopefully) offers good support structure.
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