If there is one truism about franchising, it’s that it’s difficult. The regulations and business requirements around franchising are complicated, and for first time business owners can be labyrinthine and hard to navigate. Which is why when thinking about franchising your business, the first thing you should consider doing is hiring a franchise consultant, who will use their knowledge and experience to guide you through the process and avoid the most common pitfalls, setting you up for success.
Even in these troubled economic times, franchising is still proving to be an effective and profitable business model. It is suitable for businesses at all levels of scale, from large corporate entities to smaller traders.
There are many benefits to franchising, which include:
- Achieving high levels of brand awareness, scaling up to national, or even international levels
- Being able to scale into the market, and take advantage of opportunities faster, and with less capital needs.
- Bringing in additional revenue through streams that might not otherwise be available
But it’s not as simple as deciding to franchise your business. There are a number of key considerations that you have to take into account, including:
- Proving that your concept is viable
- Having a legitimate business plan
- Whether your business is feasible for the long term
Turning your business into a franchise also means that you have to be able to take your systems and processes, and be able to document them in a manner that is easy to follow and understand for anyone who will be taking on a franchise.
This also requires putting a robust training system in place to ensure that all people who will be working within franchisees businesses are held to the correct standards and able to effectively follow processes and uphold the standards of your brand.
When following these steps, there aren’t any shortcuts that can be taken, and they must also be complete and in place before you consider offering franchise options. Failing to do so can cause major issues, both in running of franchises and long term costs.
This is why it is vitally important to consider taking on a franchise consultant from day one. They will be able to assess your business, and tell you precisely how best to turn your business into a franchise, and whether your dream of franchising is even feasible.
How do franchise consultants help us?
Franchise consultants can help with all aspects of franchising, whether this is your first venture into franchising, or you’re a seasoned veteran looking for further expansion.
It’s also important that you’re careful when choosing your franchise consultant. Like all skilled professionals, each consultant will differ when it comes to experience, specialisation, personal skills and costs. When choosing your consultant, here’s what you should consider:
Are they a franchising specialist
Some consultants offer franchising services with little to no specific industry experience. Always ask for case studies and experience, and ensure that you hire a consultant with actual franchising knowledge.
Evidence and records:
Your consultant should be able to show you case studies on previous clients, and provide business advice based on your specific franchise and situation.
Direct sector experience:
If at all possible, you want your consultant to have worked in your business sector before. Each sector comes with its own specific challenges and industry specific knowledge and laws. It is better to deal with a professional who knows the specifics up front.
Ability to save you time:
One of the key reasons to hire a franchise consultant is to allow them to use their skills and expertise to save you time with documents and preparing all the necessary steps.
Following through on the entire process:
A good consultant will be able to take you from the first steps of your franchising journey, all the way through the final handover. They will be able to assist with creating your franchise proposition, putting together a package for potential franchisees, creating training and support programs, mapping territory and recruiting potential franchise owners.
Sharing network opportunities:
After the initial work is done, many consultants will be able to assist in long term networking, including network growth and recruitment. Your franchise consultant should also
have a wide ranging professional contact network, able to put you in touch with all the necessary skilled pros who can assist with documentation, marketing, recruitment, etc.
When discussing your project, it is important to be able to set a time frame for your expectations, as well as the amount of time that your consultant is offering as part of their package. Are they available for X amount of hours, for several days per week? Full time? Are they available on evenings and weekends for emergency calls?
Finally, all good consultants will be able to provide you with a list of previous client case studies and possible references, in order for you to make an informed decision over your hiring needs.
In terms of contract, there are several standard patterns for consultancy which you should discuss with any potential franchise consultants:
What might be thought of as the standard payment method, you pay for a specific deliverable from your consultant. Once
the project is complete, you part ways. This is better if you know precisely what you want from your consultant, and have the project at least partly planned.
Better for long term or in depth projects, a retainer entitles you to a certain level of service, (generally an hourly value) per month from your consultant. This is better if this is your first time working with a franchise consultant, or you have little knowledge of the process.
Choosing the right franchise consultant is a vital step to the short term ease and long term success of your business, so taking the time to research your options and make the correct choice is something that should always be done.
Because all businesses have different requirements, it is difficult to give a fixed answer as to what you as a franchise owner should be looking for when retaining a consultant. However, by using the above checklist to assess your own business, you will have a far greater understanding of your
needs, and can make a business decision based around it.
However, despite the differences in your business compared to others, one thing is certain. By using the services of a skilled franchise consultant, your journey into franchising will be simpler, less likely to run into the common pitfalls, and far more likely to be profitable and successful. The evidence is clear. If you are thinking of moving into franchising, hiring a franchise consultant should always be the first major step.