Unleashing the power of a franchise network

Think the biggest benefit of buying a franchise is support from the franchisor? Think again.

Unleashing the power of a franchise network

Franchises sell themselves on the support you’ll receive from the franchisor but the support you’ll receive from the network, your fellow franchisees, is often overlooked and can be a turbo charge to your franchise business.

There’s an oft-used phrase in franchising that says, “You’ll be in business for yourself, but not by yourself”, but very few people fully understand the phrase’s true meaning.

Franchise support

Most people assume it means your franchisor will be beside you, helping you to set up and run your business every step of the way, and they will, but it also means you’ll have the added support of the existing network of franchisees, ready and willing to share all their knowledge and experience with you, which is equally, if not more important and is all too often overlooked. If the franchisor is the headmaster, the other franchisees are your schoolmates.

Caveat emptor:  talk to the franchise network

Before you buy your franchise, talk to the network to find out if the business is sound, if the franchisor is supportive and if you can really make money from it. Make sure you speak to as many existing franchisees as possible, not just the names and numbers the franchisor points you towards.

Franchise mentor or buddy system

In many franchise operations, existing franchisees will be assigned to help with your training, which may be your first proper encounter with the network. You may then be buddied up with an experienced franchisee to answer small day to day questions you have in the early days, whilst big questions should always go back to the franchisor.

Franchisee WhatsApp/Facebook groups

A franchise will often run WhatsApp or closed Facebook groups for franchisees to communicate with each other. Hopefully, they will be lively and well used – if they are, get involved from day one. Don’t be shy. Franchisees are happy to give advice to newcomers; they’ve all been in your position once and will be more than happy to help you. You might also find 2nd hand kit or even vehicles for sale, which can be useful.

For instance, in our Wilkins Chimney Sweeping WhatsApp group, a new sweep might send a photo to the group asking for their advice about a particular chimney they’re sweeping (no two look the same so I’m told), or to ask what people think about various methods of advertising e.g. social media vs leaflet drops. Whilst we would always recommend you ask your franchisor first, we also know that talking to a group of colleagues can be helpful and actively encourage it.

Franchise networks: sharing best practice

Without a doubt, the single most valuable asset of a franchise is the combined knowledge and experience of the franchisees in the network – and their willingness to share it.

Not convinced? Imagine this.

Two people, Jimmy and Jenny decide to start up pet care companies at the same time.

Jimmy has a great love of animals but no business knowledge and is starting up completely on his own. He’s simply going to work hard and see how it goes. Good luck Jimmy.

Jenny also has a love of animals, but she has bought a franchise with over 20 franchisees in the group. Not only will Jenny get all the very well-advertised support from her franchisor one would expect, but her large and friendly franchise network, with its huge, combined knowledge and expertise, will really boost her chances of success.

Her network will be able to give her advice on how they found their first clients and how to keep them, which social media platforms work for them (even which hashtags) and which kinds of local magazines they get business from. They’ll be able to walk her through the latest local government regulations and which disinfectant works best to clean the van out at the end of each day. And so on and so on. First-hand, experienced, reliable knowledge.

Who do you think will do better? Johnny doing it all alone or Jenny with her franchisor and a 20+ franchise network behind her? #NoBranier #SorryJohnny

Networks: a turbo charge for your franchise business

Whilst the benefits of buying a franchise often highlight the support you’ll receive from the franchisor make no mistake, the support from your fellow franchisees can be equally valuable and really turbocharge your business for success, particularly in the early days and is one of the key benefits of buying a franchise business.

Darren Taylor
Darren Taylor