In our last article, we looked at our top tips on finding and deciding on the right franchise. Today we look at the next steps, running a franchise.
So you have found your perfect franchise, you like the people and believe in the product and ethos. You are nearly there right? Well, yes and also no. Yes, in the fact that from here you should have a great team to guide you and you will not be alone, no, in the fact that this is where the real hard work begins.
Running a franchise is very much like running any other type of business, albeit with a great deal of help, support and guidance. A franchisor will (or certainly should) provide you with the tools you need to create a business based on his/her current model. BUT what a franchisor can’t do is the hard work for you.
Franchises are great. They have a much higher chance of succeeding than a start-up business. However, that does not mean it is any less hard work. Here are our top tips for the next stage in your franchise journey and how to sustain the enthusiasm and hard work through to profitability.
That’s right, remember that while you should have a great team supporting, training and guiding you, they cannot do the hard work for you; stay ahead, ask questions, give it your all, ask more questions, read everything you can on your new business, accounting, motivation, business advice.
Understand exactly where you stand and what you can do, for example some companies allow you to do your own marketing, others have templates and their own standard brand images for you to use.
Again, however great the company you are franchising with YOU have to put in the work and the hours. It is an exciting time starting a business, but many underestimate the hard work, dedication and long hours it takes.
While you may have certain business leads coming in through your franchisor and business assistance, don’t rest on your laurels! Get out and spread the word about your new business! Deliver leaflets, knock on doors, pick up the phone, notify the newsagents, the post office, the hair dresser; all the people who chat daily to your potential customers!
Depending on the franchise you choose your marketing may be completely supported, somewhat supported, or totally down to you. Usually it is somewhat supported. With a Just Shutters franchise, your marketing launch is covered in the initial fee. This will launch your business and be a great marketing platform, generating good leads for you to establish your business upon. You will, after the first couple of months, be expected to contribute, while still having a great marketing support system and budget within your franchise fee.
However, a lot of people undervalue their own personal efforts. When they see leads coming in it can be easy to just coast along on these. But if you want to build your own business, think of it as you would a start-up, use your own word of mouth, PR, relationships and skills to grow your business in every way you can.
This is hugely important and will keep your marketing costs down and additional orders high. Furthermore, customers are your best mouthpiece, they will show off your product or service, attract their friends and family and buy from you again themselves if you have done a great job. Also in the digital age, now more than ever, reputation matters! It is very important that when researching your company, the public can see your happy customer testimonials. It only takes a few bad reviews to put off potential customers.
There will come hard times, whether it is an unhappy customer, a business relationship or other hurdle, you will come across difficulties, even in the most fruitful of business. This is another time when being a franchisee can be a huge benefit. Use the experience of your franchisor, allow them to aid you in solving the problem. No doubt they will have experienced similar and know how to overcome the hurdles. The support at hard times can be invaluable, and in some cases the difference between breakdown and breakthrough.
Form partnerships with like-minded trades can be of huge benefit long term. If you are a wedding shoe company for example befriend florists, cake decorators, boutiques, if you are a shutter company like us then introduce yourself to interior designers, estate agents, hotel chains. Do deals, offer commission, incentives or even recommendations back. Additionally, building the right partners means you can have a steady stream of customers you don’t have to spend lots of money marketing to.
When you are ready to grow your business, take on extra staff, vehicles, office or showroom space (depending on your chosen franchise), you should have the support of your franchisor. They will have lots of helpful tips and advice (as well as some dos and don’t in their operation manual).
Growth and long term plans and overall expectations should be discussed with your franchisor at the start of the process. You should get a real sense of whether your goals fit with your franchisors and whether your expectations can be achieved with them. We always encourage these conversations and welcome anyone looking for a franchise to come and meet with us to discuss in detail.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our tips on running a franchise. If you are interested in knowing more about our franchise opportunities please call us on 01202 233744. Alternatively you can fill in the form on this page and we will call you back.