Here are five tips for maximizing the success of franchise opportunities when opening a franchise business.
Passion, drive and an entrepreneurial spirit are critical for the success of any business. Although franchising provides a unique opportunity to jump into business ownership with the support of an established brand and a proven business model, success is not guaranteed. If you’re thinking of opening a franchise business, consider these tips for maximizing franchise success.
Find the Right Franchise
One of the most common mistakes made when opening a franchise business is committing to a brand before thoroughly investigating the business. Franchise opportunities come in all shapes and sizes and there’s no shortage to choose from, making it imperative to conduct extensive research to find the right fit for you.
Start by considering your skills, interests and what motivates you. Determine what you want to accomplish with the business, and of course calculate the amount of financial resources you have available. Then, use portals like Entrepreneur and FranchiseGator to browse franchise opportunities that align with your needs. Each listing provides a business overview that includes helpful information like franchise benefits, testimonials, startup costs and funding options. To help determine if the franchise is worth the investment and get a better idea of what ownership is really like, talk to existing franchisees.
Stick to the System
Franchise opportunities rely on by-the-book execution of a business plan, adherence to proven systems of operation and a willingness to follow direction. To get the most out of the franchise business model, resist the urge to innovate and make changes to the business. Not only does it violate the franchise agreement, but it could jeopardize the brand reputation and put your investment and that of your fellow franchisees at risk.
Take advantage of every training opportunity. Learning the business, including the company’s best practices, can pay huge dividends in the form of happy customers. Strive to execute the franchisor’s systems as precisely as possible. Then review and evaluate your performance on a regular basis to ensure those best practices become the standard of operation for your franchise.
Network with Other Franchisees
Networking with other franchisees is a great way to learn from one another. Look for a franchise system that fosters collaboration and camaraderie. The group of franchise owners should feel like a family rather than competitors, and enjoy seeing each other succeed. Your fellow franchisees can be some of your best supporters and an excellent resource when you have questions or just need to talk with someone who understands. Seek out and follow the advice of others to take advantage of what they’ve found does and doesn’t work.
Be sure to stay in communication with the franchisor as well to take advantage of their ongoing support and guidance via newsletters, emails, phone calls, training classes, regional meetings, conferences and conventions.
Build a Strong Team and Deliver Excellent Customer Service
The quality of your team will determine the success of your business. Good help is hard to find - great help is essential. When opening a franchise business, it’s important to take the time to find the best possible candidate for each position and use a hands-on approach to provide training and support. Train and retrain regularly and ensure every employee’s performance is on par. Lead by example. If you willingly do whatever it takes to get the job done, with an enthusiastic attitude, employees will often follow suit.
Your staff is the primary link to your customers. They are the front line that creates the customer’s perception of your business. Treat your employees well, invest in their training and provide strong leadership with plenty of motivation and they will treat your customers well. The day-to-day work of your employees, their commitment to the business and level of customer service they provide are all critical to the success of your franchise.
Get Involved with the Community
Giving back to the community your franchise serves can take many forms, such as sponsoring a Little League team, supporting a youth or civic group or activities to improve the quality of life for those less fortunate. While community involvement is an end in itself, it also builds goodwill and loyalty, engages and attracts customers and ultimately helps grow the brand. Customers like to patronize businesses they feel support them.
Some franchisors feel so strongly about community involvement that giving back is part of their culture. When looking for opportunities to get involved, think about the kinds of causes that are important to your customers. Join organizations that support those causes and watch for opportunities to volunteer while creating visibility for your business. Check community calendars for upcoming events; most will want sponsors. There could also be an opportunity to provide promotional items (pens, t-shirts, water bottles, etc.) that will be given to participants. Watch for “in-kind” opportunities that allow you to donate your products or services and also keep an eye out for trade shows or expositions to attend.