When it comes to franchising your business, putting together a solid business model is only the first step of the journey. A franchise is only as good as its Franchisee, so you’ll want to think long and hard about who you entrust your next franchise to. After all, they will be responsible for upholding your reputation, so the last thing you want is to take on a franchisee who’s just not up to standard. It’s not enough to just take on anyone who approaches you- according to the latest estimates, there are approximately ten serious enquiries for each appointment for new franchisors (and that’s after you have whittled out the tyre kickers). With established franchisors, that number increases to around 50:1- so you’ve got a pretty big job on your hands to choose the right franchisees to take on.

First things first, you’ll want to actually reach out to those potential franchisees in the first place. Fortunately, there are plenty of options open to you. You can build up a huge number of applicants to then whittle down. There are numerous trade magazines and websites which list franchising opportunities. The advantage of these is that they will only attract applicants with an existing interest in franchising, which will save you a lot of time trying to explain what franchising is.

Once you’ve got a decent number of applicants, it’s then time to decide on exactly who you are going to entrust with your next franchise. How do you do that? Before you start it’s a good idea to build a profile of the kind of person you are looking for. The trick then is to set up a solid recruitment process which will weed out all the applicants who aren’t suited to the job at hand. That way, you’ll be left with the cream of the crop, who can then help you get your franchise off the ground and make it a successful business.

There are several key factors you’ll want to look for. Firstly, they need to have a strong work ethic and commitment to making their new franchise succeed. Ideally, they should have some experience or understanding of your sector, so that if needs be, they can take on some of the day-to-day operations. Management experience is important, but so too is more practical experience, so they have a full understanding of how the franchise will operate. Finally, ensure that they fully understand your franchising business model, so that they will be able to take what’s written on paper and turn it into a living, breathing success story.

Of course, recruitment is easier said than done, and the whole process can be rather demanding and time-consuming. Luckily, though, there are people out there who will be able to help you. The Franchise Professionals have their very own recruitment team, primed to help you find the perfect franchisees for your business. After trawling through countless applicants, they will cut out all of the prospective buyers who simply aren’t suited to your business, and help you select the ideal candidate to entrust with your next franchise. That way, you can be sure that they will help uphold your strong reputation both with customers and within your industry- and bring in a healthy stream of revenue, too!

Budgeting for Business: Why You Need it for Your Franchise Business Plan

It’s not just the start-up costs that franchisees need to work out when they look at a franchise opportunity. There is a wide range of budgeting concerns that need to be considered and which you should be putting all these into your future business plan.

The first couple of years while the franchise begins to bed in are obviously critical to success. Making sure you have enough money to survive this period and stay on track, not only with the business but also in your personal life, is vital. Of course, you need to be realistic about how much money you are going to require and whether you can handle it reasonably comfortably:

The Franchise Fee

The franchise fee is going to be one of your biggest initial investments. This is the amount you pay to use the brand and get the training you need. The amount will vary depending on the type of franchise you are taking on and how much you can or are willing to pay will determine who you are going to choose. Some franchises do offer different incentives and payment arrangements which may help you to spread the cost in the short term.

Service Fees

Added onto the initial franchise fee, you will also have to pay a service fee on a weekly or monthly basis. This will again vary from franchise to franchise but could be as much as 20% of your sales. The average in the UK is around 8%. Most franchisors prefer to base any service fee on sales rather than profits simply because it’s easier to monitor.

Working Capital

You’ll also need some of your own working capital that will give you the leeway to build your customer base and cover any expenses that may arise out of the franchise arrangement. This can often be difficult to judge and you need to be realistic about what you are going to achieve and how quickly you are going to get there. It might include marketing and advertising as well as employing staff to help you move forward. Getting advice from a franchise specialist who knows your sector can be a useful way to gauge this kind of expense.

Capital Investment

Are you going to have to invest in infrastructure and services relating to your franchise? This also varies a good deal between different franchises and it’s important to be clear about what is going to be your responsibility. A retail franchise may well have a bigger need for capital investment than a home office one where you have most of the infrastructure in place already. You also need to think about the finances you require to support yourself during the start-up phase. This includes covering your household budget so that you aren’t struggling to make ends meet once you’ve covered the financial responsibilities for the franchise. Learning basic budgeting skills and being realistic about what you can afford and how long it will take you to get the business off the ground are all important.
One of the main reasons any business fails is because it hasn’t got the solid financial infrastructure in place to get over that initial stage of growth and development. This means you need to take a very close look at the budgeting side of things and how it fits into your overall business plan before you settle on a particular franchise.

I’m sat in the departure lounge of Sevilla airport, and I started thinking about systems. Looking at the airport security and how you have to do things in certain ways, i.e., check boarding pass, then on to security remove all liquids and aerosols, iPads phones, then remove belts and shoes walk through the scanner. What if you went through security first and then checked the boarding pass and you were there the wrong day? Would that not be a waste of time, energy, and money. So for maximum productivity, they follow the process the way it’s designed.

Now as you are aware systems are a massive part of franchising. Franchisees require a system to follow to maximise their productivity which then maximises income within the business. This will help with two things that everybody wants, more time and more money.

Have you been into a McDonald’s recently?

I went into one a couple of weeks back and noticed that they had changed. You can now order food yourself on a giant iPad, where you pay, get allocated a number, and when your number gets called out and you receive your food. If McDonald’s can change their systems and processes for 49,000 stores worldwide, then so can you.

I’m sure that it won’t be long before you can order your food from an app on your phone. Argos have nailed this system down, we don’t all like it, we moan about it but we still use it why? Because it saves time which also saves money.

So think about your own systems, even if you’re not franchising, everybody has a system/process that they follow. How can you improve performance and maximise profitability? That one small change can really help you move your business onto the next level.

Our Online and workshop based programmes cover the importance of creating processes and systems by design not default and about testing, amending and retesting them until they work. If you want to learn more about how to become a better franchisor then get in touch today, call 01522 246812.

Michael Bohan

What we learn from cricket

You may have been entertained/distracted by yesterday’s cricket.  I was. The good news is that I am providing you with a completely valid business reason to keep watching.

Stuart Broad was superb and Joe Root’s inning (so far!) has been wonderful.  They both stood up and made individual contribution that have shaped the match so far.  But let’s not forget the rest of the team because their role has been just as important.

Have a look at the scorecard.  All of Broad’s wickets came from catches at the slip.  The fielders held every one (including Stoke’s remarkable catch) and knew exactly what they were doing.  They gave Broad the confidence to do what he does best.  Everyone in that team played a part.

Let’s go through the first innings. Broad.  It’s pretty obvious what he did.  With that sublime spell of bowling he made the batsmen do what he wanted.  Cook let him.  He was there to provide support and advice when needed but didn’t interfere unnecessarily.  Bairstow stopped byes. The slips provided pressure on the batsman and caught.  The outfield fielders swept up stray balls.  The bowlers worked together to keep the batsmen off balance.

They England team had a plan and they executed it.  Everyone knew their part and played it well.  They had flexibility to change things around if they needed to and they all supported each other.  And Australia were all out for 60.

Now let’s compare England’s first innings.  Australian slips missed catches and let balls go through.  The bowlers didn’t work together to unnerve the batsmen.  Easy balls were dropped.  They stuck rigidly to their plans even when they didn’t work.  And because they had panicked about one part, their batting, they had unbalanced the side and lost a bowler so they were all having to work harder and longer than they should.  By the end of that first day England’s score was four times Australia’s first innings.

OK, bear with me, we’re getting to the business bit.  Look at each team as a small company.  One had a leader who was prepared to let his players work in a way that suited them and provide support when asked.  One had a field of players who all knew their own role inside out and performed it to the best of their ability. One team celebrated each other’s success.

And one team didn’t.

Work out who you are in those two teams and work out who you want to be.  If you can work like England played you’ll skittle your opponents too.

Enjoy the rest of the match.

Harriet

In my opinion, this is one of the most important things to think about when you are franchising your business.  Why? In both of my businesses I deal with people on both sides of the equation. When you are a brand new franchisor, then your first few franchisees are going to be entrepreneurial, they are going to want to get involved in a business that is brand new and exciting.  When you have got a few more franchisees then you are going to be attracting the “sheep” or followers, these people have seen you grow and wanted to see if it worked before they hand over their savings to you.  Then you have the “rest”, this is where you will be pitched in the same area as everyone else who is selling a business that has been running for a few years, has good franchisees and a growth plan to go forward.  The main thing here though is at all of these stages you need to have a profile of franchisee that you are looking for.  For example, they might need to have a certain skill set or you might only want people to work full time in the business.

I would advise people that full time franchisees are harder to find than people who want a franchise as a 2nd business.  But it’s the best way to go if you want them to build a business quickly.  I have had a few disagreements with people over this, put it this way – if you take on a franchisee and they have a part time job or another business, where is their main focus? I will promise you, if they struggle with the business for whatever reason, where do you think they are going to put more of their attention? Where the money is! That means that you have sold a franchise to someone who doesn’t actually want to work on the business because their focus is on their PT job.  This totally comes down to your franchisee profiling.  There are a few main reasons why a franchise doesn’t work; the franchisee doesn’t follow the system properly and thinks they know best, (why did they buy it?!), the franchisor sold a business that didn’t work, or the franchisee runs out of money.

On the other side of this you could take on someone on who has too much money, but how can you have too much money? The biggest problem with too much money is sometimes they don’t have the motivation as they don’t actually need it.  My daughter is 10 and trying to get her to understand about motivation is killing me: she is taking her 11+ this year and we want her to get into a grammar school for a good education. When I say if you don’t study you won’t get in, her question is “so where will I go?” I then explain a 2nd option is still a good school but not 1st choice, do you know, her answer is, “oh well, it’s still a good school” – she’s happy to settle for 2nd best. Now, she’s 10 so hopefully she will learn about competition and that in the future, but do you really want a franchisee who is subconsciously OK if they fail?

Franchisee profiling is key to how your business will shape in the future, you want the correct people from day one, yes it’s going to take longer but they are going to be worth it.  Having a high churn rate on franchisees is a massive ‘no no’ to incoming franchisees, why would they buy into a business that has people leaving here, there and everywhere?

Now this is different to a well-run franchise having franchisees who have had their franchise a while and are looking to sell. At any time a mature franchise will have about 10% of the franchisees up for resale, this is normally because they have done their time and want to retire after making their money.  When you are profiling a franchisee for a resale it is different to a new start.  This is when you are going to look for people who have got the money as the purchase price is going to be higher but their return on investment is hopefully going to be quicker, which means their focus is there and they have a plan in place to grow the franchise.  Is there any point in taking on a franchisee for a resale and them not growing the business?  Yes of course, the outgoing franchisee may not have had the focus for a while as they are selling but still we all want to grow don’t we?

 

This weekend spend half an hour thinking about who you want to be your franchisees and who you want to avoid.  Work out why and you’ll be on the first step of making your franchise work.

Travelling back on the train from London yesterday I started thinking about how long franchising has been around – a long time now – and how the industry continues to grow and develop.

This I think is partly because in business today we want everything now and don’t want to wait for it!

I speak to lots of business owners who are thinking of franchising, and a lot of them want to do it as cheap as possible and they want 20 franchisees in their first year. Why? Let’s be honest here, to franchise your business in the UK all you need is a business model, a franchise agreement and franchisees. That enables you to run a franchise. So does that mean that to be a dentist all you need is dental equipment and a chair; to be a carer you need to care for people; to be a taxi driver you just need to be able to drive and answer questions from punters; to be a football coach you need to watch football and tell players what to do. Am I right? NO course I’m not, you need qualifications for all of these things to be able to do your job properly.

Why? What does the qualification mean? It means you are qualified to be in those jobs. It means that you have taken the time to understand the industry and how it works and what your customer needs are and that you are able to satisfy those needs.

How then is franchising any different? you are changing your business into a coaching, training and recruitment business. How many franchisors out there have actually learnt how to be a franchisor? Yet time and again franchisees are happy to hand over their savings and trust someone who has not been qualified to train, coach or support them.

We are working on a programme that we thought helped businesses owners to franchise their business, but actually because of the leadership and management information in it and the industry knowledge that we impart the programme is really about becoming a franchisor.

So what I am getting at here is why I believe that Gti Consultancy is so different, it’s because we don’t franchise your business, we teach you to be a franchisor and help you to build your business.

The old saying goes “fish for a man and he can eat for a day, teach a man to fish and he can eat for the rest of his life” it’s exactly the same in franchising if we were like all the other consultants out there and did it for you. What would you actually learn? If we taught you how to be a franchisor and manage your franchisees, understand some of the pitfalls you might encounter you can franchise your business without making some of the mistakes that other franchisors have made – now isn’t that what franchising is all about?

I’d be really interested in your thoughts.

Michael

Does what you wear make you less of an expert??

Image source: Flickr.com

Image source: Flickr.com

I have noticed that more and more people in business are becoming casual in their appearance, why is that? Especially men; go back 10 years and every man in business wore a suit and tie, now it’s ok to wear a suit and no tie or even jeans.  I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, my question is more about if someone who is a “professional” wore jeans to a meeting with you, would you take them less seriously because of what they were wearing? Don’t get me wrong, first impressions are important and we all say don’t judge a book by its cover. But should what we wear really influence others?

If you were to go into a meeting with a franchisor how would you expect them to look? Does it depend on the business sector? We assume that sales people will be very smart to give a great first impression, if they came into the meeting in shorts and a shirt how would you feel? Maybe that this meeting is not as important to them as it is to you. But why? Surely what we wear shows that we are comfortable in ourselves. But the way that business is perceived is so often in suits.

Just because you don’t wear a suit doesn’t mean you don’t know your stuff!

On the other side of this though, as a franchisor would you let your franchisees wear what they like? It’s something you need to think about in your brand guidelines. Some might say it doesn’t matter what people wear so long as they look smart. But what is smart? Smart to me is probably different from smart to someone else.  It’s like the smart casual note on the bottom of an invite.  What is smart casual? I assume that means jeans and a shirt but does it? It’s like the joke picture of the naked man with a tie on saying, “It said smart casual”. If smart to you means jeans and a shirt should you write “dress code jeans and an embroidered shirt” This has slowly turned into a communication blog but how we dress and how we are perceived by others is a form of communication after all.

Anyway its hot outside and I have my shorts on

Written by Michael Bohan

Who is your competition?

It is very easy to look around and say “My business is unique. I don’t have any competition” While the first part is true (no one else has you) the second is definitely false.  It’s also very dangerous; there is no business without competition.

A simple example is buying a new BMW.  Now the obvious competition is Audi and Mercedes.  You might go a bit higher on price, with Jaguar and Rolls Royce, or a bit lower with Vauxhall or Skoda.  You might go so far as to think of motorbikes or second-hand cars being an option. And there, 99% of people will stop.

The trouble is that people’s minds won’t stop there.  They have a finite amount of money so may think, “I’ll keep the current car and have a holiday instead.  I’ll buy a conservatory. I’ll pay for private school for the grandkids.” It will be very rare that someone is so precise in what they want that there are no other options available.   Anything can be your competition which is why you must use positivity in your messages.  Instead of saying “xxx is rubbish” which only rules out one competitor say “I am the best”.

Try to fix the problem the customer has.  With a BMW the problem is that the customer wants to feel special while at the same time having reliability at a reasonable price. So to solve that you have the fact that the car is a luxury. That rules out the lower end cars. It’s affordable. That rules out the higher end too. It’s safe so no motorbikes and reliable so not second-hand.

The next part is harder.  How do you compete against a holiday?  Well the fact that that the car will make you feel special for years while a holiday will be over in two weeks. The conservatory? You spend more time in a car than sitting in the house. And the grandkids? Forget it – you can’t compete!

This is a very basic example but you can apply it to your business.  Find out what your customer is looking for and tailor it.  You might want to split them into different groups, who all have different needs.  And because they have different needs there will be different competition.

The more heads involved in this the better.  Bring in friends, family and neighbours. Ask your staff and brainstorm.  Do the hypothetical “if you had £xxx what would you spend it on?” This is one area is where being part of a franchise can really help.  There will be others thinking of the same question.  You can even ask if it can be a ten minute discussion during a get together with other franchisee.  You can help each other and improve your business at the same time.

The more competition you can think of, the more angles there are to market to and the more opportunities to sell.  Pretty soon you’ll be the one selling conservatories to car buyers!

Written by Harriet Ennis

Running the shopChannel 4 logo

Have you watched Running the Shop on Channel 4?  The programme description is “Hilary Devey persuades bosses to leave their business for three weeks and let the staff run the shop while they are away”.  They also get money to fund any changes they want to make.

The first episode (which is well worth a watch on All 4) is based in a furniture and hardware store with an owner, John Tasker, who likes to micromanage.  The staff feel that the furniture on sale is too big and expensive for most of the houses in the area and so do a special offer with a “complete living room” for £500.  They have some very novel ideas for advertising it. Marketing is the other big issue the staff noticed and one of their ideas is to do product placements is show homes.  I won’t spoil it for you be saying how they got on but there are some very interesting moments!

Whether or not a boss is willing to give up control of their business without the TV cameras present, the show did provide some useful ideas.  What was highlighted was the potential that can remain hidden if no one is willing to listen.  People who are doing the job will be aware of what the problems are, difficulties they’ve found themselves or that have been fed back to them from customers.  Not just problems, they will see opportunities too.  Going back to the shop floor for a moment, till operators may see two things often being brought together.  They should be able to feed that back up so that those items, and other complimentary ones, can be displayed together to inspire other purchasers.

A manager has to listen to what their staff are saying but that alone is not enough.  They have to be willing to implement ideas too.  I don’t mean everything (some ideas really are crazy) but they need to be willing to try new things. Yes, it is a risk but keeping everything the same while the world changes is a far bigger one.

As Hilary pointed out in the show, John the owner had 30 years of experience in the business. Combined, his staff had over 500. Train your staff up so that they are to run their area independently, reporting back and asking for help as needed but ultimately allowing you to work on your business rather than in it.  The owner in the show was so busy looking at the fine details that he never had time to step back and look at the big picture; to see what the opposition were doing, what new opportunities were available and what was now just out of date.

The owner of this store was a barrier to expansion as he was so determined to oversee everything.  It’s understandable, the store is his life and it’s hard to let go.  If John wanted to expand at present he wouldn’t be able to without splitting himself in two.  One way that he could do it without that problem would be to franchise his business.  The new store would have it’s a different owner who would be just as passionate about making things perfect, getting guidance from John and having his systems in place to make sure everything runs smoothly. John would then be running two businesses – his original store and being a franchisor. If he tried to do it all he would struggle and neither business would benefit. The same rule applies: you need to work on your business rather than in it.

So the lesson is; make use of the skills of your staff, step back and look around, try new things and see your business evolve in ways you never could have imagined.

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/running-the-shop

Written by Harriet Ennis

Do you know you’re gross and net? How about you P&L, CPS, PE Ratio, RPI, RRP or VAT? Do you have stock on the LSE, NYSE or NIKKEI? Do you do deals in pound sterling, American dollars, Hong Kong dollars or Bitcoin? Do you know what any of this means and do you need to?*

Starting a business can be like going from the swimming pool to crossing the channel.  It’s hard.  The learning curve is incredibly steep and no matter how well prepared you think you are there will be something that comes around unexpectedly.  It can be the seemingly little things that trip you up; if you use a cloud based system what happens when the internet goes down?  Or it can be the huge things; you know that you have a great product so why doesn’t the buying public agree?  There are a thousand and one questions that will come up, you often realise that you don’t know the answer only when someone ask the question.

Mentoring by an experienced business person can be a great way to help you along your path.  They will be able to answer a lot of your questions and sometimes talking through a problem can be the means of seeing the answer.  The problem is that they are not really invested in your business and they won’t know the problems you have as well as you do.

An option people are increasingly turning to is to buy a franchise, either a new start or a resale.  With a franchise you will start by being trained in the franchisor’s systems, systems that have been tested, retested and developed until the franchisor is sure they work.  You will have the support you need on the end of a phone by someone who knows the challenges that are unique to this business model and has a vested interest in your success.  You will have a national name and the benefit of their advertising.  It’s your business but it comes with a support package and a helping hand.

If you buy a resale you will be charged the cost of the business as well as the fees from the franchisor but the initial legwork will already have been done.  You will be able to provide accounts to a bank which will help if you need financing with a resale and you will have an income from day one.

If you buy a new start you will be given a territory by the franchisor and with their help you will develop the area.  There will be a lot of work to start with but you will benefit from the national name and the upfront costs are lower than with a resale.

Before you buy either type of franchise you will need to meet with and be approved by the franchisor.  They will make sure you are the right person for their business.  You are not an employee but you will become the local face of a brand they have spent years building up.  They will want to make sure that you will be a good fit and that you have the best chance of success possible.

Whatever you decide to do there will be a lot of challenges ahead.  Business is a lonely place but you can make it easier on yourself by being well prepared, having in place the help you need and by going out and networking with other small businesses who will be just as terrified as you. Good luck!

 

*The answer is you need to know some of it. Gross and nett are how profit is presented before and after tax deductions.  P&L is Profit and Loss, CPS is cost per sale (how much you have to spend to make each sale), PE Ratio is price to earnings ratio, RPI is retail price index, RRP is recommended retail price and VAT is value added tax. LSE is the London Stock Exchange, NYSE is the New York Stock Exchange or NIKKEI is the Japanese stock Exchange. You’re unlikely to need this. Yet.

Written by Harriet Ennis