Many people assume that owning and operating a franchise is easy – because they’re buying in to a brand that already exists. However, the truth is not quite that simple. Even where a successful brand does already exist and a franchise owner is able to work with it, business success is not guaranteed and the risk of survival all sits with that individual.
There’s no one approach to franchise business management that works for all, but there are some simple steps that can be taken to help improve your chances. Every franchise works in a different way and the process can be complex and time-consuming, so being as prepared as possible before you embark on your franchise journey is critical.
Many of us ‘like’ lots of brands that operate under franchises, but just using a business occasionally and being a fan of them isn’t enough to justify making the business your whole life. While it’s definitely possible to successfully run a company and not be all that excited about or buy it, it’s much easier to do if you really care and have an emotional investment in it.
Passion in a business shows, and customers and end users will be able to tell how much a business owner cares. Sure, you need to work hard at inventory and investments; but it’s the likes of true love and faith in a brand that will spur you on to work impossibly long days and through even the most difficult of unexpected circumstances as they’re thrown up in your face through your business journey.
At Refresh Renovations, we see Franchise Business as a collaboration, and it is so important to us that are Franchisees are as invested in the Refresh ethos as we are!
Many people assume that a franchise will succeed just because the brand name is already well known. However, this could not be further from the truth. A huge degree of due diligence should be done in advance (it’s not uncommon for franchising documents and guidelines to read like full books and be hundreds of pages long!) but it’s also important that you complete market research in the geographic area in which you intend to operate.
Do people in the area want and/or need your product or service? Is the brand priced at an appropriate level for the socio-economic group locally? Are there many competitors in the area? Ask around and find out before any decisions are made.
Businesses always need start-up costs capital but in the case of franchises, fuller budgets must usually be produced upon initiation.
Post-coronavirus pandemic, some franchisors have lowered their operating costs and fees in order to encourage franchisees to ‘buy in’ but this shouldn’t be considered alone. Having additional budget and capital in place is key to ensure success and will mean that you’re able to move quickly to resolve any issues that may arise – after all, no matter how much the franchise owner can guide you, they can’t predict everything.
Hiring your team is a critical piece of the business puzzle and can make or break a business… after all, you can’t do everything by yourself.
In hiring your start-up staff you have the power to create and nurture a company culture. Experienced, trustworthy and creative workers will help start your franchise on the right foot and ensure you’re offering the tip top service you intend to right from the off. Don’t leave hiring too late, however – all staff will need to receive initial training in advance of opening in order to promote consistency throughout your franchise and the wider brand.
Businesses should put their customers at the heart of everything they do, and should all swear by the Tesco adage: every little helps. The finishing touches and small gestures in customer service go a long way and will help nurture your franchise’s reputation and perception in the local area.
While a franchise is impacted by the image of its parent brand, this works the other way around too. Franchisees who are most successful are therefore those who work on their own reputation through providing the best possible customer service time and time again. Working hard on creating an unforgettable brand experience for those who do patron the firm will give the business the best possible chance of survival. Customer reviews online relating to the specific franchise location will help boost reputation – both with potential customers in the area and with the parent brand.
Just because a franchise is using a brand name that’s probably already fairly well recognised doesn’t mean that they don’t need to any marketing of their own!
Many franchises reinforce the parent brand’s marketing with their own; setting aside a budget for social media advertising, direct marketing and other promotional activities. While there may be a degree of passing business (for example, at a roadside McDonalds), customers won’t visit your business if they don’t know it exists – and if the parent brand isn’t world renowned, this becomes even more important.
It is always cheaper to retain customers than it is to recruit them, and so keeping a happy and loyal customer base is key to not just franchise success but all business success.
If your franchise isn’t a one-stop-shop for single purchases and nothing else, then building up a good following of customers is key. Even within franchise guidelines, loyalty programmes can be set up and customer contact made, as well as referral schemes put into place. Franchises that aren’t necessarily household names already can benefit hugely from building up a database of contacts and promoting themselves not just through proactive marketing but also through existing customers.
Franchise models can be complicated and so require a great deal of dedication and hard work to progress. Only the most determined will survive in the franchise game, but in covering all bases and not just relying entirely on your parent company, success will be found. Viva la franchise!
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“A really forward thinking, innovative company”
Dave Georgetti, Franchise Owner