Building a growing franchise means always planning for the future

sbChange is the only constant in business and franchising. The ability to meet the challenges posed by change and keeping a franchise growing requires all franchisees to acquire planning and goal setting skills.

Fortunately, franchisees are able to lean on the expertise available from franchisors and also obtain information and assistance from their financial advisor when they need it, says Simone Cooper, Head of Franchising and Enterprise Development at Standard Bank.

“However, there is no substitute for local knowledge. It is a franchisee’s knowledge that puts him or her in the best position to identify what strategies should be considered when planning for future growth,” says Ms. Cooper.

Planning for a prosperous future requires three growth strategies to be considered:

  • Setting growth targets:

Setting short-term and medium-term growth targets for the enterprise. Setting targets that are achievable involves:

  • Reviewing your current business and what has been achieved in the previous year.
  • Speaking to your franchisor about the projected growth for your brand in your area for the next year.

This will give you a good starting point for setting a target. Once this target is set, you will then have to:

  • Decide how you are going to reach the target.
  • What you need to do to achieve your objective, which could include strategies like upselling or cross-selling (see more below).
  • Reviewing your skills, those of your manager and staff and deciding what additional product or service training could be required.
  • Make sure that plans are practical, achievable and measurable.
  • Continually review your performance and targets to ensure that they are aligned.

“Upselling is a valuable sales technique. It involves making sales more profitable by getting the customer to buy more expensive items, upgrades, or add-ons. The customer can also be given other options that were perhaps not considered.”

“Cross-selling occurs when a person tries to sell something else, or add an additional service or product to what the customer is purchasing. Care must be taken when using these techniques to avoid being ‘too pushy’ as this can annoy the customer. The focus should be on strengthening the customer relationship by helping them add value to their purchases,” says Ms. Cooper.

  • Skills development:

Training should be on-going in a franchise outlet. Many franchisors regularly provide training programmes when new products or services are being introduced. This, however, should not be the beginning and end of training. If training is available from the franchisor it should be used. It is advisable to:

  • Monitor the performance of staff and identify those who need further training so that they can meet performance objectives.
  • Consider introducing training so that key members of staff can become multi-skilled and competent at more than just one job.
  • Identifying staff that can grow their roles and getting them trained.

“Bigger franchisors often assist with training by sending out field consultants to observe staff, see where skills are lacking and then recommend training. This can then be carried out on-site by training managers, or at the franchisor’s training centre.

  • Implementing marketing geared towards growth:

The basis of all marketing lies in knowing exactly where your customers are, and which marketing segment (income, education and personal preferences) they represent. Once you have this information you should:

  • Liaise with your franchisor and identify what you want to achieve with your marketing.
  • Identify marketing campaigns that will support what you want to achieve.
  • Find out exactly what support and materials the franchisor can offer.
  • Identify which events (Mothers’ Day; Valentine’s Day) you can use to strengthen your sales.
  • Look at how you can attract people to your outlet during traditional ‘quiet times’ (e.g. Monday evenings) and quiet trading months.
  • Make sure that whatever you do is measured so that it can be used again, modified or even replaced if need be.

“It is vital that your plan is aligned with what the franchisor is driving. Therefore, working together from the beginning is essential. Marketing that cannot be measured should be avoided. It is important that every rand you spend can be compared to the sales that the business has achieved.

“Effective marketing also relies on delivery. Always ensure that you can back up the promises that you have made in your marketing campaign. If customers are happy, they will return for more and the business will grow,” says Ms Cooper.

Press release by Magna-Carta.

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