In this industry, we have a saying: “With franchising, you’re in business for yourself, not by yourself.” What does that mean exactly? It means when you become your own boss through franchise ownership, you’ll always be able to count on a two-way support system—from both the corporate brand and your fellow franchisees.
During this blog edition, we’re going to discuss the different kinds of available support, so you’ll have an idea of what to expect if and when you decide to go franchising. Keep in mind, that with thousands of franchise concepts on the market, the kind of support you’ll receive is spelled out in the franchise agreement. But your due diligence will probably allow you to get the best reading of franchisor and franchisee support levels.
If your franchise operation requires a storefront, you can usually expect support with site selection and lease negotiations. Some brands have requirements—others have preferences. These extend beyond the physical location to include other elements such as layout, design, and interior décor.
Many franchisors operate their own “universities”, a campus-style training regimen to teach you the ins and outs of business operations and procedures. If extra staff is required, this training often extends to how you’ll train your employees. Brands tend to take training very seriously, as it is your chance to prove you have a firm grasp on business operations. Training may sometimes extend through the first months of your franchise ownership, or can come in the form of numerous progress check-ins.
Marketing, Advertising & Promotion
After your grand opening, you’ll have to follow the brand’s directives on advertising, marketing, and promotional programs. This may occur on an individual basis, per location, or you may have to pay into a collective fund for the entire group of franchisees to have these services handled by corporate. In keeping with brand standards, it’s inadvisable to come up with your own ideas. At least without prior presentation and approval.
As any new franchise owner, what’s most important in getting advice and having questions answered and they’ll tell you validation. Validation is the process of relying on your fellow franchisees in the system to guide you through the early months of operation. This is invaluable because your other franchisees have typically already conquered these same obstacles and challenges themselves. Validation is sometimes a formal operation, with pre-set times to discuss, share and present problems. Other times, it’s an informal pick-up-the-phone and ask setup.
One of the greatest elements of a good support system is the Franchise Advisory Council (FAC). Typically organized by the franchisor, these advisory councils are designed to meet the needs of the brand and its family of franchisees. This is accomplished by creating franchise advisory councils to address issues, challenges, and obstacles that individually—or collectively—apply to the operation of the business model. Franchise advisory councils are usually comprised of individual franchise owners and operators with a lot of experience and success. But an invitation to join should never be declined!
Hopefully, you have a more defined idea of the different kinds of support you may receive from your franchise brand owners, and fellow franchisees. Support is one of the key advantages to choosing franchising as your vehicle to business ownership. It’s a perk you may not get if you start your own business from scratch or buy an existing operation.