A franchise provides a great opportunity for many people to become their own boss. Buying into an established brand, with proven processes, tried and tested systems and a clearly identified target customer helps many owners to avoid many of the pitfalls associated with start-ups. In addition, there are the support, training and development opportunities that are provided by the franchisor and team of other franchisees and advantages associated with economies of scale.
Although you need to find a lump sum in order to buy into a franchise, the existing financial forecasts remove some of the uncertainty around when you are likely to break even, become profitable and start making a decent salary. You have information at your fingertips to reassure and reduce the perceived risks of giving up the day job to go it alone.
The success rate for franchisees is far higher than for start-ups and each year a growing number of businesses are opting to franchise their operations. This leads to an ever increasing number of opportunities, in a growing range of industries.
Challenges of Franchise Ownership
Before you start typing your resignation letter, there are a number of important facts to consider. Firstly, the success of your business will be down to you alone. Whilst you will be provided with a comprehensive package that will help you get up and running and keep you on track, there is no one else to shoulder the blame if things don’t work out. You have to be driven, determined, focused and hard working. You’ll need to dedicate long hours and deal with all aspects of the business.
A cavalier approach doesn’t sit well in a franchise. Having committed years to building a strong brand and a good reputation, the franchisor is taking a gamble when they decide to allow others to use their brand. The biggest risk to them is someone else not working to their standards and ruining the reputation, as this could completely devalue their business overnight.
In a bid to retain the high standards, a consistent product and service along with the positive reputation, the franchisor typically places tight restrictions on every operational detail. You simply have to follow the centrally managed system. This is the most likely route to success, but it also offers little opportunity to implement fresh ideas or to personalise your franchise.
A clear example of the problems with centralised control is the franchise website. These days the majority of companies rely on internet marketing as an effective means of lead generation. Web pages are regularly updates with fresh, topical blogs, locally optimised pages, video and a variety of other unique content in order to stand out from the crowd, get listed by Google and attract visitors.
On a typical franchise website, the vast majority of content is controlled centrally and part of your payment will be put into optimising this site. Each franchisee has a page on the website, which highlights the geographical area covered, may include pictures of the team and a short personalised description, everything else is generic.
The search engines don’t favour generic content and with little scope to personalise the online presence, the opportunity for attracting new leads is limited. For this reason, there can be the need to embrace other marketing tools to help build awareness of your presence and gain an ever growing customer base.
LeadsFlow is a franchise email marketing tool that has been specifically designed to serve this purpose. Not only does LeadsFlow provide a comprehensive database that makes it easier to securely collate customer contact information, it is also supported by a marketing team, who can help you gain the most from email marketing.
Regular emails will help to build brand recognition and they also provide a chance to communicate geographically specific information and personalised content. You can find out more about franchise email marketing with LeadsFlow here.
Operate Within Your Boundaries
Another restriction is on the geographical area that you cover. Your franchise will cover a designated territory and you are limited to finding customers within that boundary. You may have strong relationships with friends and colleagues who live elsewhere and would happily recommend your services and help you to build contacts, but you need to pass their business to the franchisee in that region.
By operating within the boundaries and fully committing to the franchise, you will be in a strong position to be guided towards business success. However, if you know you will struggle with the restrictions, then a franchise might not be the best option for you to realise your potential.