If you’ve got an idea that works, it’s only natural that you’ll want to franchise your company and share the success. Growing a franchise from a successful small business feels like a wise move for shrewd entrepreneurs trying to get ahead. But franchising isn’t a simple operation, whether you’re opening a food service operation or a Chem-Dry Franchise. There are many different aspects to growing your business and trying to reach a new audience. You’ll need cash, a great team, and a vision to take you through the rough patches. Before you start making plans to expand your small business, it’s important to consider all the time, work, and money that goes into it. From reading up on legal requirements, franchise fees, and brand-building, you’ll need to do a deep-dive into what it takes to run a successful franchise. If you’re trying to build a franchise business model, here’s what you need to do first.
Refine Your Brand
As a small business catering to a local community, branding isn’t as important as great service and consistency. However, when you expand your local business into a franchise, your brand becomes the product you’re selling, not one individual storefront or product. Because of this, putting in the time to really develop and refine your brand identity will be just as important as clocking hours behind the counter or register. You’ll have to build a marketing team to talk about how you’re going to start exposing your business to a larger audience without diluting its core message. Before thinking about your marketing strategy, ask yourself one question: How does your business serve others? Does it make their life easier? Does it provide them with a necessary service? Does it allow them to indulge in a guilty pleasure for a competitive price? Whatever the core ideological function of your franchise, you’ll need to spin it into a brand campaign that shows people that you’re here to bring something to their lives that was previously lacking.
Go Location Scouting
Your franchise’s first location might have served a specific local community. In order to mimic the success of that first store, you’ll have to choose a second and third location that serves a similar purpose. When you’re in the beginning stages of building a franchise, location is extremely important for success. As you keep building and achieving recognition, where you build won’t be as important as staying consistent with your other locations and staying true to your brand image. But in the early stages of your franchise, your first few locations have the ability to give you a ton of new exposure or, on the flip side, to limit it in a way that hurts your business. Before deciding on a second or third location, do the necessary market research and choose the building that will get you noticed by a new yet similar set of clients.
Whether you seek out advice from friends, business contacts, or other franchisors, make sure you don’t feel like you could, or should, go it alone. Franchising is a huge responsibility and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Before you take the plunge, write up a set of questions and concerns that you have about your business and sit down with a friend or mentor to discuss them openly. Don’t be afraid to talk about your fears: Feeling trepidation is natural. As long as you take the time to ask for advice and help with difficult situations, you’ll have what you need to make the right move.
Hire a Lawyer
Perhaps the most important part of your franchise model will have to do with figuring out the legality of your business. That means drawing up a contract with your franchisee, figuring out when and how royalties will be paid and making sure you’re not crossing any legal boundaries. It’s not only crucial to go through all your important documents with a lawyer beforehand, you’ll need to find a lawyer you can trust to remain on staff to make sure everything stays fair and above board. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that everyone has your best interests at heart: Although it takes trust to start a franchise, remember that you’re still operating within the world of business.
Choose the Right Enterprise
If you know that you want to start a franchise, you’re probably operating under a set of preconceived notions about easy profitability and success. While choosing the right franchise could lead to long-term success, it could also very easily go the other way, especially if you make the mistake of choosing a business that’s wrong for you or doesn’t fit with your ideas or passions. Don’t be hasty when choosing a franchise: Take your time and get plenty of advice before making your final decision.