Not all franchises are made the same

Entrepreneur and franchise consultant Rebecca Newenham talks about how you can make your franchise unique

Not all franchises are made the same

What comes to mind when you hear the word’ franchising? For some people, it will be hugely positive, reminding them of the best decision they ever made – either to franchise their business or to buy a franchise. For others, it will conjure up mixed emotions — perhaps an image of a greedy franchisor who takes the money and provides little support.

The reality of your business franchise is up to you.

A poor perception can put some people off franchising. You might think being a franchisor is not the kind of business leader you want to be or that it doesn’t suit the business you have worked so hard to build up. But delve a little deeper, and you’ll find that franchising is incredibly flexible. If you choose to franchise your business, you can franchise it your way. Yes, there is common ground between franchises – accepted ways of doing things that generally work for most people. But if they don’t work for you and your business, that’s okay. You can find a way to franchise that works for you.

What type of franchise do you want to run?

There are several different styles to choose from. In a management franchise, franchisees run the business but get other people to deliver the business services. It’s great for people with general management and leadership skills, as opposed to something more specialist, like taking on an accountancy franchise where you have to deliver the accountancy service. Management franchises often suit franchises that sell to other businesses. Retail franchises, where franchisees are required to open and operate a retail store to sell the franchisor’s products or services tend to suit more consumer-facing businesses.

Direct or single-unit franchises are very specific, enabling franchises to operate from one location. This potentially gives you a lot of control as a franchisor, but it can also limit the opportunity for the franchisee. Multi-unit franchises allow the franchisee to operate from several locations, which could boost their revenue and your return.

Make territories as big or small as you want

Each territory has to be big enough to offer sufficient business potential, but they don’t have to be massive. For example, if you’re offering a home cleaning franchise, your urban territories might be relatively small, as the area is so densely populated. If, however, you’re appealing to small businesses, you may stretch the net wider to maximise the potential for your franchisees.

To centralise or regionalise?

When it comes to business processes, most franchisors give franchisees a fair amount of autonomy to run their business how they want: to choose what type of business (Sole trader, Limited company, etc), to select which software to use, etc. However, don’t be afraid to do things differently if that doesn’t work for you and your business. Some franchisees centralise many functions as they genuinely believe in their industry it it more efficient, enabling franchisees to focus on running and growing their businesses.

A cheerleader by their side

Think about what kind of franchisor you want to be. You can be a hands-on mentor, working alongside your franchisees to support them every step of the way. You can also step away and empower them to find their own path if the people side of the business isn’t quite your thing. Be clear with franchisees upfront about the type of leader you are to ensure you find the right people to work with your style and build positive working relationships.

Your franchise handbook is the story of your business

A good operations manual gives new franchisees everything they need to run a successful franchise. From how to market the business to how to hire employees, essential tasks, and suggestions for software and reporting, it is a valuable tool and an asset for your franchise. It can be time-consuming to create, but it is worth investing in as it allows you to articulate the style of franchise you want to run. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from franchise consultants or other experts when you’re putting it together. They can help you champion what you want as a franchisor, but also think about what franchisees need to know and suggest areas you may not have considered covering.

As a business owner, if you’re looking for ways to scale your business at speed, franchising can offer a fantastic solution. Don’t be afraid to challenge the ‘norms’ and create a franchise that feels authentic for you and your business.

Rebecca Newenham
Rebecca Newenham