What to look for when investing in a franchise?

Sarah Cressall of The Creation Station offers expertise and advice to anyone hoping to take take control of their working lives during 2020, and invest in a franchise business.

What to look for when investing in a franchise?

Sarah Cressall of The Creation Station offers expertise
and advice to anyone hoping to take take control of their working lives
during 2020, and invest in a franchise business.

When looking to invest in a franchise opportunity, most people make their decisions based on the nature of the business.

These include franchises which: Care for older people; Provide creative experiences; Teach youngsters to swim or dance; Or even manage a restaurant. These are four popular examples of the types of activities associated with franchise opportunities.

This is an important first step. It makes sense to become involved in an activity that will keep you interested, as well as focused.

Running a successful business is all about building relationships and being authentic, so that people will get to know you, like you and trust you.

And if it appears obvious to clients and customers that the franchisee is genuinely not interested in the product or service he or she is providing, then it becomes much harder for them to grow their business.

This in turn makes it difficult to lead a team of employees, because it is important to enjoy what you are doing on a daily basis. In many ways this is just common sense but also crucial.

Once you have
established the sector you are interested in, what do you look for

It’s important to look beyond what the franchise does. The benefit of investing in a franchise is that it is already tried and tested, possibly over many years. You will undertake initial, as well as ongoing, training and enjoy a wide range of support. 

There are several areas to research when considering which franchise is the best fit for you.

Remember, all businesses need to gain and retain customers. To attract customers, a company needs to have a strong marketing and sales impact. To retain them, this involves good customer service, follow on sales and innovation.  

In this article, I’m going to outline eleven areas which fall under the banner of ‘sales and marketing’, and which are critical for any business to succeed. 

1: Brand Positioning

Where does the brand sit within its own sector? Are they the market leader or the ‘go to’ company for services offered? What and who is the competition, and what reputation does the company enjoy in comparison to their main rivals. 

2: Brand Values 

Are their values clearly defined in the way they market, deliver and run their business? Do their values align with yours? 

Never lose sight that you will be representing this brand and it’s extremely important you are proud of what they stand for. Are you proud of the way they interact with customers, stake holders, suppliers and especially with franchise partners?

Establishing brand values was one of the most important things I did back in 2002. Our values help us to deliver exceptional experiences, as well as navigate our business journey, while identifying and selecting our future franchise partners. Successful businesses need to have a positive social impact. So you must look carefully at the values of the business you are planning to invest in, and be satisfied that they align with yours.

3: Benefits

How does the company and its services or products help others? Long gone are the days when a customer would ‘See it, buy it’. Nowadays, customers are more selective, savvy and are certainly prepared to do their research. Giving value to customers enables them to like and trust you, before they commit to a purchase decision.

When there was a scare about high boron levels in children’s slime, The Creation Station gave away our tested and safe slime recipe. This, in turn, generated an increase in our party bookings by 234%. It is vital to educate, support and help your customers. We provided free workshops for schools, educational guides for nurseries and free creative children’s activity booklets for parents. Find out what your brand does to gain customer trust and appreciation?

4: Avatar – Your Ideal Customer

Identifying the ideal customer is critical to ensure your marketing is focussed in the right area. Once you have built up a sound relationship with a customer, try and develop new products or services that will benefit them in the future. Does the franchise you are researching only offer one product or service for sale, or are there further revenue streams you can maximise? 

5: Marketing Assets 

Once you have identified your ideal customer or customers, how will you reach and connect with these people or organisations? What assets do you have available when starting out on your digital marketing campaign? And what brand standards are in place to ensure there is consistency within the franchise network? 

6: Communication

When you search the brand online, what is your own gut feeling about it? Do you like the company’s tone? What are their reviews like? It’s not always about being perfect but it’s important to be honest, open and prepared to listen. The best relationships are always two ways. Are the people within the franchise the type of people you would want to do business with? Are they proactive in both listening and responding?

7: Engagement

What initiatives do they employ in order to engage with their customers? Are there national campaigns that you will benefit from or is it simply down to the franchisee at local level to undertake all promotional activities? At The Creation
, we team-up nationally and globally to add value to our customers’ experiences. These include Play-Doh and Lego, along with Usborne book workshops and competitions.

We are launching a national creative Guinness World Record called ‘Our Creative Face.’ This will assist our franchise owners to engage children, adults and the elderly in creative activities. Always find out what initiatives they have developed for the benefit of their franchise network.

8: Advertising and Promotions

What national promotions do they provide to help their franchisees stay ahead of the crowd?  And how is this communicated? Are you encouraged to share your ideas, as well as give your opinions about existing promotions? How do they advertise their goods or services nationally and how do these benefit you?

9: Sales Process

What is the process for a customer to purchase a product or service? Is the ordering or booking process fast and hassle free? Does it reduce or limit the amount of time you are forced to allocate for administration? Thus helping to free up time to spend on gaining and retaining customers?

10: Training

Check out what training and help you will receive in learning and developing new skills? Most people who invest in a Creation
franchise don’t have any previous experience of marketing or sales. They will develop their skills through our practical training workshops, as well as our iCREATE training portal.

11: Research and Development

One of the benefits of being part of a franchise network is that you gain from research and development carried out by the franchisor. This prevents you from having to invest in costly trials and tests. So find out how new initiatives are developed? Are you able to share your ideas and contribute? There is a lot of talent and knowledge in a franchise network, so discover how this is maximised for the benefit of everyone.

Consumer behaviour and trends change, so how does the franchise owner respond to this? Nowadays, environmental issues are important, so find out what the company’s environmental policy is and how they are adapting? 

There are many excellent franchise opportunities available. I hope the ideas listed above will inspire you to explore and find a franchise that suits you and your needs.

Good luck with your research and if there is anything I can help with, please get in touch.   

Sarah Cressall
Sarah Cressall