Finding the ‘WHY’

As franchisors do you really understanding why people are thinking about becoming a franchisee?

Finding the ‘WHY’

As franchisors do you really understanding why people are thinking about becoming a franchisee? What drives them to look at you, and are you answering their questions adequately? In his column, Paul Clegg from Coconut offers his advice.

With people in the UK facing difficulties thanks to the rising cost of living, many of those looking for a change in career may be hesitating more than they would have done a year or so ago. They may need a little more convincing, if they’re going to leave the stability of the current work they have – even if they hate it!

In marketing, it used to be a case of knowing what your target audience’s pain points were, and talking to them about how your franchise offering can “take away” the pain. However, in today’s climate there’s no hiding from the fact many people are feeling the pressure, and are not as likely to start their own business. Trying to ignore or gloss over it won’t do you any favours with your target audience. So, it’s best to acknowledge their fears are real, and walk with them through a journey until they feel more confident about changing their career.

In July, conducted a survey to discover what prospective franchise buyers think of the UK franchise market. They found:

  • 49% of those currently looking, are fully committed to buying a franchise at the moment, compared to 51% who aren’t.
  • Of those who aren’t fully committed, their apprehension was down to:

    • Finding the right franchise 
    • Territory availability 
    • Economic conditions 
    • Funding

So you can see just how large a distraction financial considerations are in people’s hesitation to make any big changes to their lives – even though they may be looking at franchising, currently.

I’ve spoken with people who like the idea of running their own business, and are attracted by the prospects franchising offers them, as I’m sure you have too. But, they’ve also been nervous about the economic situation, and whether this is really the right time for them to leave what feels somewhat safe, even if they’re not completely happy there. As many of you working in franchise recruitment can attest to.

Be real

Use your marketing during these turbulent months to highlight the reality of the success in your franchise, using real people, real data, and real examples. You won’t convert someone until they’re ready, but you can be a reminder of how even during times of recession and economic challenges, your franchisees are still doing well. Hit the real-life issues many of those watching your brand will be facing and talk about the positive ways in which you’re supporting franchisees through.

Although, as Businesses for Sale discovered, the usual things which attract people into our franchises, like the freedom of running their own business, having access to an established customer base and brand, and support and training, as well as a future-proof business model are still the biggest appeal. So, it’s still worth you talking about these elements of your franchise offering.

It’s not all doom and gloom

It may seem as though everything is on pause – a very long pause, after the pandemic and economic challenges of the last couple of years. But, we do expect a change to occur as people feel more confident about stepping out into new things.

You may be aware of the new terminology which has sprung up over the last few months: “Quiet Quitting”. People in certain industries are tired and frustrated. Whereas we all have people in our franchise networks, or know of people who used this to push them to start something for themselves, today, people are quietly quitting the rat race, and doing things on their own terms within their current employment.

How does this look in practice?

  • Turning up to work & doing the minimum required of them – but to the best of their ability
  • No longer over-extending themselves for their employers
  • Cutting back on overtime
  • Refusing to let work worries take over personal life
  • See there’s more to who they are than the work they’re employed to do

It might seem as though these people wouldn’t make great franchisees – but the focus of how they’re feeling is knowing the future benefit of their “extra mile” goes to their employers, rather than for themselves. So, they are pulling back. They’re feeling the weight of the last few years, and – like some of you reading this – are trying to focus on their wellbeing, as well as their future careers.

We know from franchising, and speaking to franchisees who felt like this, when they start building their own business, the focus is different because they’re building for their own future rather than someone else’s. This should now become one of the keys to your marketing message, so people can see how to align their personal values with your brand.

Showcase the stories within your network of those franchisees who felt overwhelmed in the rat race, and how they were able to escape, and focus more on themselves, their families and their futures. When people connect with others, they are more likely to look to implement the same decisions in their own lives, having been inspired by what they hear and see.

Don’t give up!

Franchise recruitment isn’t easy at the moment. Things will improve – though none of us can work out when, yet. But, as the Businesses For Sale survey showed, people are still looking and of those looking at your brand, around half of them are fully committed to investing in the right brand for them. Whilst they’re more cautious, and taking longer to make a decision, you can allay their concerns by being real about how your franchisees are currently faring. In time… your franchise will grow.

If we at Coconut can help in anyway, then don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Whether it’s about your marketing strategy, or dealing with the pressures of being a franchisor. We understand franchising, and love to support our franchising friends. We truly are in this together.

Paul Clegg
Paul Clegg