Finding your perfect fit in franchising

A franchise partnership is unlikely to prosper unless each party knows each other inside-out

Finding your perfect fit in franchising

Having met the founder of one of the pioneering franchises in my sector this week, I am acutely aware of how much competition has arisen in performing arts in recent years. It’s something that our forefathers in the late 1980s and 1990s did not have to worry about.

At Little Voices, this increased competition means it’s never been more crucial for us to be seen above the crowd. That’s why each individual child’s vocal and dramatic development remains at the heart of all that we do and every decision that we make. We have to be the best.

It’s a similar case for franchisees when it comes to picking a franchise. Not only do they need to find the franchisor that’s best for them but they also need to prove themselves as the best person to represent the franchisor’s brand.

Certainly, with so many franchises to choose from nowadays, it can be incredibly hard to differentiate between them all. It is not necessarily that franchises are good, bad or indifferent. Sometimes the franchisor and the franchisee just aren’t suited to each other. As a result, there’s as much due diligence demanded on the franchisee’s part as on the franchisor’s.

Diligent recruitment processes

I would be very wary of a franchisor that is keen to sell you a franchise. At Little Voices, we are very happy to turn people away if they are not right for us; a prospective franchisee needs to meet our high expectations. My top tip for anyone thinking of franchising their business would be not to rush the recruitment process as you will live to regret it.

From the franchisee’s point of view, it is very much about being chosen rather than choosing. I am equally sceptical of a potential franchisee who quickly makes a decision to apply for a franchise; this is a life-changing decision and it needs to be considered in full and over time.

Remember it all hinges on you

I am very clear with prospective franchisees that they may be joining an award-winning franchise with a superb business model and outstanding support but its effectiveness and success depends on them. They will not just get pounds flooding into their bank accounts because they have stuck a Little Voices sign over the door and done a bit of marketing. An individual needs to be focused, dedicated, committed, highly organised and determined to succeed. They need to have a hunger for continuously learning. This entails having a big vision, a plan and a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly set of targets.

Talk to current franchisees

You wouldn’t buy a car without test driving it first and you certainly wouldn’t buy a house without having a survey. The people that will be able to tell you the truth about the business model, the support on offer and the franchisor are the franchisees in the network. They are living and breathing the franchise and are fundamental in your decision process. I would also look to see if the particular company has any awards to their name and who they were received from.

On the other hand, franchisors need to be really open and upfront about their franchisees being happy to chat with potentials. Often the network makes a better interviewer than the franchisor themselves.

Ask about the failures

Any company – both in franchising or otherwise – will have had unhappy customers or issues with their products and services. Anyone that professes otherwise is probably lying. Try to ensure that you have satisfactory explanations and reasons behind historic issues of failure or dissatisfied customers so that you have a sense of what could go wrong. If you have the full picture you know what to look out for and the pitfalls to avoid.

Go with your gut

The franchisor can do all the due diligence in the world but going with your gut remains a part of my decision process when recruiting franchisees. Listen to that voice inside or that niggle. Equally, a franchisee needs to go with what feels right and the people that they think they can learn most from and work best with. There are hundreds of franchise opportunities out there, so listen to your instincts.

Jane Maudsley
Jane Maudsley