You were probably attracted to franchising because of the benefits that come along with the business model. You invest in a recognisable brand with proven strategies and can rely on the support of the franchisor whenever you need help. But few franchisees succeed in their venture without first asking themselves how to build a franchise business.
Once you’ve completed your franchisee training with ambitions of becoming one of the biggest franchises around, it’s down to you to make it happen.
The franchise model can give entrepreneurs a lot of security when it comes to running your own business, and you should get plenty of support and advice from your franchise. But it’s important to remember that you’re ultimately responsible for bringing your business to profitability.
How to grow a franchise
Whether you’re just starting out as a franchisee or you’re an experienced entrepreneur, these tips and tricks will be helpful to those who need to know how to make a franchise successful.
1. Know your competition. This is vital, whether you’re operating as a franchisee or not. Carry out some competitor analysis by listing all potential business rivals and identifying their strengths and weaknesses. The more information you have about your competitors, the better. If you can, find out where exactly they base their business, what they sell, how expensive their products are, how they market the business and what their values are.
Once you have developed a clear picture of your competitors, you can compare and contrast them against your own venture. Then, you’ll be able to work out what aspects of the business you need to work on if you’re to gain some of their customers. Perhaps you need to add a certain product to your offering or somehow capitalise on a current industry trend?
If you want to discover some of the biggest franchises in certain industries, use our menu to browse by franchise sectors.
2. Write a business plan. This is another tip that is relevant for every business, but it’s an essential step that should be completed as soon as possible. If you’re already running a franchise, think about how you can update your plan to help grow the business.
A business plan should outline your expectations for the franchise unit and prompt you to think about and prepare for any challenges you may face. It should also include your marketing strategy. The franchisor may control the national marketing activity but, to become one of the biggest franchises in your area, you should document the local marketing activity you plan, along with the objective and cost of each campaign.
This brings us onto the other essential component of the business plan; financial projections. If you’re yet to launch your business, this is vital. It will help you work out how far your budget will stretch and how long it will take you to reach your break-even point. Your franchisor should be able to provide previous financial statements from other similar franchise units to help you with your calculations.
3. Take advantage of training opportunities. The franchisor you’ll work underneath will have built a successful business and learnt from mistakes they’ve made along the way. The initial and ongoing training offered as part of the franchise package should be a huge source of valuable information, so make the most of it – even if you think you already have adequate industry experience.
While it might be tempting to become a franchisee in a business with a low franchise fee, the training you receive may be less thorough as a consequence. Therefore, don’t be put off by a franchise with a significant initial fee, as long as you can comfortably afford it.
4. Make friends with the local press. Regional newspapers and radio stations are always on the lookout for news stories, so get in touch if you have a scoop. Share your franchise ideas through interviews, promote your business in adverts and invite press representatives along to any events that you organise.
This is a great way to raise awareness of your brand locally at no cost to your business. With any luck, customers will read about your business and be tempted to visit you to make a purchase or browse your online site.
5. Network with fellow franchisees. One of the biggest benefits of investing in a franchise is that you become one of a large team of franchisees. After forging relationships with them, you can access help and advice whenever you need it. Use annual conferences and other industry events to exchange ideas and discuss any challenges you’re facing. Chances are, someone in the network will have experienced what you’re going through and will be able to provide some guidance.
6. Get involved in the local community. Getting to know the people in your local area is a great way to spread awareness of your business and discover other entrepreneurs to network with. Depending on the type of franchise you run, you could volunteer as part of a group or committee that have a similar objective or share the same values as you. You could also help out local charities or volunteer at events in your area. The more you interact with your community, the more likely it is that local people will become your customers.
7. Reward loyal customers. The most profitable franchises understand that it’s more cost effective to retain the customers you have than to acquire new customers. You should still consider developing special promotions to attract new customers. However, developing a rewards programme for existing customers may be less expensive to implement and have a more significant impact on your revenue.
Just remember to make sure there aren’t any pricing restrictions in your franchise agreement before you launch any unit-specific incentives.
8. Use social media. Creating business profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn is a cost-effective way to get word out about your franchise unit. Social media also enables you to compete with the biggest franchises, as turnover and reputation are irrelevant here.
You can even use social media to raise awareness of other local companies – and, hopefully, those businesses will repay your kindness by doing the same thing. Also, you’ll develop a reputation for being helpful and well-connected, which is one of the best ways to increase brand awareness without a big marketing budget.
9. Encourage good reviews. You can make sure your franchise unit gains popularity by encouraging verbal recommendations and online reviews among customers. You’re more likely to generate sales if prospective customers can see that other people have been satisfied. Make a point of asking for feedback from happy customers and respond quickly and professionally to any bad reviews. Building a good reputation is key to your success, so take action regularly to ensure this happens.
10. Add more units. Many franchisees build their first franchise business and are still hungry for more, so they become a multi-unit franchisee by opening more units. If you’ve made a success of one franchise and you have the right skills and traits to run multiple franchise businesses, this could be the right move for you.
If you’re already running a franchise that’s turning a decent profit, the franchisor may offer incentives to encourage you to add more units to your portfolio. You should also make the most of any extra support or advice offered, as it could be invaluable later on.
Growing your franchise unit
Every ambitious franchisee is interested in increasing their sales and growing their business. But remember even though you’re enjoying the benefits of the franchise model, boosting your profitability will take hard work, commitment and dedication – just like in any business. Only when you invest time and effort into growing your franchise will you start to reap the rewards.
If you follow our 10 top tips, you should be well on the way to increasing your profitability without wasting time and effort on tasks that won’t bring about significant change in the long run. By focussing your efforts on analysing the competition, writing a business plan, creating social media profiles and undertaking training sessions, you can make sure you have the best chance at business growth.
And remember, extra tasks that will pay off over time include alerting the press to changes in your unit, rewarding customers and encouraging good reviews. Finally, don’t underestimate the importance of networking not only at franchise conferences but at local community events too.
Source: Point Franchise – https://www.pointfranchise.co.uk/