Archive for category Franchisees

Choosing the right franchise for you

Franchise opportunities abound, but choosing the right franchise requires careful thought and considered research.

Combing through franchise businesses for sale notices should be less daunting if you implement a well thought-out research strategy. Using online research, industry publications, news clippings and other methods is a great starting point.

When identifying franchise opportunities, consider what will complement your lifestyle, business goals and your skill set. Some aspects to consider are outlined below.

Brand strength? Behind every successful business is a strong brand, bolstered by an enviable reputation. Read widely about how the franchise brand is perceived by the industry, customers and business partners. Part of what you’re buying is the company’s brand equity. What do you estimate the brand’s equity to be?

Finding out about financial health How open and transparent is the organisation about its financial health? A company’s balance sheet can provide valuable insights about how well placed the franchise business is to harness future growth.

Expenses today and in the future Before you buy a franchise, you’ll need to know what set-up costs are involved. There could also be ongoing costs, such as marketing or advertising levies.

Strategic marketing, PR and advertising expertise? Dig deeper into the company’s marketing strategy. What level of investment and support is offered nationally and locally? What marketing and branding expertise does the company offer? How well resourced is the organisation to fund public relations programs?

Systems for success? Systems are essential ingredients in any successful franchise network. How efficient are the franchise’s systems and processes – do they help or hinder your ability to operate the business?

Investigate the level of support on the ground Do they have a dedicated operational and field support team to assist you? Investigate the ratio of franchisees to field support infrastructure.

Consider the commercial environment Determine the competitive dynamics that are likely to impact the brand. Do they have a well-defined understanding of their competitors, future opportunities, trends and issues?

Create a shortlist of franchise business opportunities? Once you’ve created your wish list, shortlist your most suitable franchise opportunities. Map out what works for you and what doesn’t, including the business must-haves e.g. IT and marketing support, costs (one-off and ongoing) and other forms of critical infrastructure.

Talk to franchise owners at the coalface Franchise owners are valuable resources. They can often provide you with the ‘inside story’ about a potential franchise business opportunity.

 

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On the edge…

When tough times strike my heart goes out to those businesses on the edge, and of course instead of talking about daily things that can trip up a marginal business, we are now talking about bigger fundamental global meltdown type trip ups.

So when the going gets tough how many of the businesses on the edge have a debt reserve fund, or a plan b, or an innovative structure, system, marketing plan etc to get them out of the jam? probably too few. Then on the business front, if they are a “want” type of business do they have their fingers in the pie of a “needs based” business to be able to handle the changing spend patterns of consumers… probably not.

Here’s 8 quick points to give you the edge in tough times.

  1. Have a plan A, then have a plan B, just in case!
  2. Have some reserves, stuff happens so be ready for downturns.
  3. Needs based V’s Want based, if you sell gifts for example, you might want to look at developing a needs based business to complement it, this way you cover your butt when customers walk away from the niceties. Consider diversifying into an online business of some kind that is easy to manage from your want based business, get busy while it’s quiet.
  4. Keep marketing, but make sure it’s making you money, don’t throw money out and get NOTHING back, measure it carefully, get smart about how it works.
  5. Keep the team informed, fear can run deep and fast, let them know what you are doing or plan to do to weather the storm. Batten down the hatches but make sure they know where the exits are…
  6. Lead, now more than ever the team needs you, teach them GREAT customer service, if people get picky  you need to have the BEST people upfront, with the BEST service, now more than ever. Get out on the floor and look for gaps, are they smiling, are they happy, do they know the products and or services inside and out? No? train them…
  7. Be nimble, change is a given so learn to love it, zig when the others lag or zag. This way you can be there when the others have fallen by the wayside.
  8. Improve your systems, now is a great time to tighten up on how things tick over, ask hard questions like “Are we doing things the best way?” “How can I jump start and or utilise my peoples collective intelligence to give us a lasting edge?”

You get the idea, make a difference, a poisitive difference so your business can take on the challenges tough times provide and see it through successfully. So jump up to the whiteboard and make a start NOW!

It’s risky, get over it and move on…

I have seen a range of TV current affairs shows recently pointing out businesses (reasonable sized ones on occasions), going under and taking investors with them. If you invest in a business it is risky, any sort of business (and I don’t care what glossy brochure or figures they show you…)

So there are risks involved and you can lose money, you can also gain $$ to, and of course that’s generally the aim for an investment. Look I feel sorry, deeply sorry for anyone that loses hard earned cash in a business deal of some kind, and perhaps there should be a leaflet that people have to hand out in any transaction that may involve risk to explain there may be a risk.

The thing is let the buyer beware (Caveat Emptor) but also understand that people are losing day in day out, and the opposite is also true! In a capitalist society like ours the aim therefore is to have more wins than loses.

So guys, harden up, the road ahead is loaded with potholes and challenges, don’t get angry, get smart and find better ways of evaluating a deal or investment in terms you can understand.

Who’s responsible?

In the “topsy turvy” world of franchise contracts, agreements etc, (which many franchisees have little understanding of) it’s painfully obvious that many of these documents ask the franchisee to jump through hoops, but how about working things the other way?

Over time the franchisor will build a “watertight contract” and expect the franchisee to know a lot of things about business and how to get results, but if the result in the business for the franchisee is less than spectacular, where is the “Duty Of Care” by the franchisor in all of this. It’s far too easy for them to throw their hands in the air and say things like “You knew what you were getting into” or “You had the disclosure documents…” “You had the info” and a whole list of other statements/excuses.

When a franchisee is experiencing challenges (not enough customers, not enough turnover, not enough full stop!) then the franchisor says “Well ask us for help” So some do, they drop their pride and call for help. Often the answers given relate to “Put more into your local area marketing” Hello! if I am down the “tubes” and have less cash, how can I put in to make things “better”.

I figure the franchisor should establish a “Duty Of Care” policy and or procedure for the good of the franchise, and the good of the franchise industry. In fact the duty of care policy should state. (For example) That a franchisee must keep a reserve float of emergency cash (in a bank account) that ensures they are able to pull out some extra to make things go “voom”, and over time add to that so it grows to cope with inflation etc.

I also figure they should be held accountable for the marketing… If they put an advert in a publication, was it designed by a marketing expert or the copy room at the local paper…? Then making sure the results are clearly and effectively measured so you can know how well the marketing $$ are spent and you are definitely getting a respectable return on the investment.

If the franchisor is working at building a robust organisation that can provide an effective system for the franchisee, then they need to make sure the people investing in the business are developing their business and financial accumen as well. Okay some have an annual conference, the people go and have a great time, but how many put the information into action? Is their “area supervisor” following up on that? Are their business plans reflecting that development? In many cases no.

Watch out for more “Duty of Care” observations, as they arise and franchisees become savvy to the idea and franchisors get caught out.

So far it’s a one way street with the contracts, but a savvy organisation will ensure they provide avenues to ensure a franchisees ongoing success and what a selling point that will be.

Did you have enough cash?

When you got started in business you probably didn’t figure on how much it would cost to get started, I guess no one really knows until they have done it. and for so many people in business they find they just don’t have enough to really cover their marketing costs to get a decent response.

There is an old saying that I think came out of the dot com crash… “Want to make a cool million in IT? Start with 2 million and wait 12 months…”

But seriously if you want your business to have its best chance of being seen, being heard, or just plain known…  then learn more about marketing so your business idea can reach more people than just  your family and friends. Want to know more about how to do just that, then chat to your friendly branding expert.

When it gets quiet… you???

So what do you do when things get quiet in the business?

Do you…

– Wonder why?
– Start to do all the little things that you mean to do when you are busy?
– Start marketing?
– Sack some staff!?
– Sit and wait…
– Check how things were this time last year?
– Ask what’s happening?
– PANIC!
– Change things?
– Go back to the business plan?

Or a combo of the above…

Whatever you do when things go quiet make sure you do SOMETHING other than panic, as that usually leads nowhere fast.

Do you want business success?

Getting started in business is one thing, gaining success is another. Many of us will have seen and heard of people who have failed in business even though they felt they had a great business idea and the finances to put behind it to get started… So what went so wrong that it failed?

Lets look firstly at one possible factor, it is said that about 10% of society is motivated to achieve, and of that about 3 % are probably the ones with enough active risk taking motivation or drive to actually get started and see the business through to fruition.

So if you take 100 people and only 3% have the drive or motivation to be able to pull it off, then what happens next?

Out of that possible 3% there may be those that blindly go forth and try being in business and will flog it like a dead horse to try and get a result, even when all the money is gone or vanishing fast.

I guess it’s a time when the emotion of going into business takes over from the logic of it, and before long if there is no “balancer” the person starting the business can run off the rails with ease. Indeed the balancer may well be a person that “holds the purse strings”, figures out the budgets and projects forward when money can be spent.

The “business achiever” on the other hand will still come up with ideas and use their energy and enthusiasm to forge forward, but now within some reasonable constraints.

I figure without the emotional side being constrained by the logical side, all hell can break loose.

So here’s to better business, know your limitations, and balance things out, your long term success might well count on it!

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