Rebecca Newenham explains how to scale your franchise business to achieve your growth ambitions.
Most franchise owners want to grow their businesses and achieve greater returns each year. But it can be hard to break out of the mould and move your franchise forward with pace. With the right mindset and a few key actions, you can make your growth dreams a reality and transform the size of your franchise business
Start with your vision
Everyone has a different vision for what they want to achieve, and yours will be unique to you. Take some time to put down on paper or screen what your ambitions are. Be truly honest with yourself. Do you want to be the next Steven Bartlett? Or do you want to work flexibly around your children? Now is the time to discard other people’s views or expectations and focus on yourself and the future you want. Articulate your vision in whatever way works for you – a vision board or a simple description of the business you want to create. Getting the vision out of your head and into words and pictures gives you something you can define, reflect on, and share with others.
Build your business around you
Once you have established your vision, work out how you will get there. Just as everyone’s vision is different, everyone’s path to achieving their vision will be too. It’s essential to build a business that works for you. Think about how you want to scale your business and reach those growth dreams. Do you want to buy another territory of your existing franchise and become a multi-unit operator? Do you want to run a different franchise alongside your current franchise and become a multi-brand business? How will you manage the staff to do that? Do you want to be a manager and grow an in-house team? Or do you want to buy in skills when you need them through a freelancer model?
Historically, growing your business usually meant taking on new staff. But there are significant cost implications of this – not just their salary but pension and national insurance contributions, holiday and sick pay. That’s before you even consider training and career progression. Today, some businesses find using freelancers more effective, allowing them to remain agile and keep fixed costs low by buying the skills they need as and when they need them. At Get Ahead, our entire business model is built on outsourcing, enabling us to adapt quickly to both new opportunities and business risks, like COVID.
Establish big-business ways of working
Processes often hold businesses back from achieving their growth potential. The way you did things when you ran your business alone or as a small team won’t work if you’re managing a team of 50 across multiple sites or areas. Rewrite your processes for the scaled-up business you want, not the business you have now. Think like a big business. How would you do this if your business was at the size and scale you want it to be? The sooner you start running your business that way, the more likely your vision is to become a reality.
Training manuals, recruitment and onboarding processes, invoicing and reporting processes may all need some reinvention. For example, I have completely redesigned how I communicate with my franchisees and provide them with marketing materials in the last year. I now have a much more professional marketing plan in place, giving my franchisees greater value and consistency. This new plan can easily be replicated as I grow from 9 to 90 franchisees.
Take advice from your current team when redesigning these processes and ways of working but don’t be ruled by them. Remember, it’s about creating your business vision, not theirs.
Communicate, communicate, communicate
Communication is massive when growing your business. We’ve all heard of growing pains, and history has many examples of very successful startups that failed to transition to big business. Once you have articulated your vision, share it with those around you. This could be staff but also suppliers, freelancers, and financial backers. Understanding what you are trying to achieve gives them a choice to become part of your future or not. Share your vision with your franchisor as well. They may be able to connect you with other franchisees who have made similar transitions.
Communication should be a two-way process, so work individually with your employees and critical suppliers to discuss their vision. What do they want, and how does that fit your plans? Finding ways to align your goals is likely to boost your growth rate. Conversely, if you find that your goals simply don’t align, don’t be afraid to have a difficult conversation and part company. If you’re serious about achieving your vision, you’ll need to make some tough decisions and surround yourself with people who can help you achieve your dream, not hinder it.
I decided to part company with my accountant just over five years ago. Though the transition was complex, I just knew that the person I was working with didn’t see the same future for my business that I did. It was definitely the right decision, and I now have the financial support that genuinely understands my growth ambitions and is proactively helping me achieve them.
Franchising is a fantastic industry, offering massive potential for ambitious business owners. Your business future lies in your hands, so don’t let anything hold you back. Get started on scaling your franchise business and achieving your vision today.