Franchising has weathered many storms. I’ve been through a number of them in my 20-year career at the British Franchise Association. From recessions to the unprecedented rise of the digital age, the industry has continued to evolve and thrive in times of uncertainty. But, as always, franchising is pushing through it and, according to the 2018 bfa NatWest Franchise Survey statistics, it’s looking in a very healthy and happy state.
For the last two decades, franchising has seen the failure rate stay below 5% for SME business owners. This is an incredible beacon of hope for those who are looking to start a business venture and strive to be their own boss. Not only is the failure rate low but the satisfaction is also high, with 95% of franchisees satisfied with their franchisor. Some people may believe that entering a franchise agreement means that you’re essentially working for the franchisor and not really being your own boss or having any creative freedom. This is a misconception”as the franchisor is there to provide you with the how-to manual on how to successfully run their business in a territory of your own. You will also receive valuable knowhow and advice on hand, something that you would not get if you started your own business from the ground up.”
Richard Dancy, marketing manager for Barking Mad, a dog sitting service, explains that once you join a franchise, it’s important for the franchisor to keep up communication to achieve happiness and full potential in franchisees. He explains: “We know from years of experience and feedback that the key to a successful franchise network is good and regular communication. It is essential that face-to-face meetings are part of our everyday communications mix as there is no replacement for building and sustaining good relationships. We ensure that we meet our franchisees, from Fife to Cornwall, at regular intervals throughout the year.”
Networking is imperative to maintaining dialogue in the network with conferences and forums a regular amongst franchise networks. Barking Mad are no different, holding key events such as their National Conference, individual Business Development Reviews, monthly webinars, and an internal Facebook group. Having easy access to head office allows franchisees to feel listened to and have a voice in the business.”
“We do find that our structure allows for conversation and ideas to flow between us all with the creativity and energy at its best when we create the forum and let it happen,” Dancy continues. “Our franchisees grow as a result not least by demonstrating that if an individual in a similar position to another can achieve, then there is no reason why another can’t do the same.
Some franchisees might be performing better than others in the network. This could come down to a number of factors, but at the end of the day, it’s an opportunity than can be seized upon by the franchisor. By connecting the network and keeping up communication, franchisors can allow the better-performing franchisees a platform to share their experiences, lessons and secrets to success with the other franchisees to build network-wide success and it gives the franchisees a chance to learn. Barking Mad has taken on this strategy, with Dancy saying that it has helped the business and network to become stronger, stating: “We regularly provide a platform for high achievers in different categories to be able to share their experiences, which has resulted in many more across the network taking on those strategies. It is the very best demonstration of what franchising and a franchise network can achieve and we love to see it.”
It’s fantastic to see the franchising industry become more involved with the people in their network, realising that the franchisees are at the forefront of the business. This brings another level of innovation and creativity to brands and it really shows. I hope this trend continues into 2019, bringing together the wealth of talent in the network and using it to build a stronger brand and community.”