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Success is all about the (franchise) network

By Joseph Pisani

If one wants to start their own business, a franchise can be a great way to increase their chances for success. As a franchisee in a major network, one can expect to benefit from professional marketing, national advertising, specialized training, and centralized purchasing. Further, a small business owner is statistically more likely to succeed with a well-established franchise than with a non-franchised independent business.

Franchising is an area of business that is enjoying continued growth in North America. A franchise offers one the independence to manage their business while providing the security of participating in an established franchise system with a proven track record for success.

When choosing a franchise, most franchisees focus only on the business model they are looking to operate. This is a major component of any initial research that should be done—a franchise will always, at least in part, be dependent on the franchise brand. But all too often, franchisees neglect to look at the franchise network itself. The network—how the franchisor is going to support the franchise—is one of the main components of long-term success. In this author’s experience, anyone interested in becoming a franchisee must consider a number of key factors in a franchise network.

Data and analytics

Today, one of the keys to a successful business is data. For franchisees, data can be a powerful tool and provide insight into the strategies that help fellow franchisees at a store level. The franchise brands that leverage data (and analyze it) can tailor systems for various regions or cities. As a franchisee researching a brand, understanding how that brand deploys data and analytic capabilities to help create successful franchises will be one of the most important items to consider.

Franchisee collaboration

Having support and mentorship from other successful owners under the same franchise brand can be a major business differentiator. It is important to understand how communication works between franchisees. In some cases, a franchise brand will help periodically organize local or regional meetings so franchisees can network and share stories on successes and challenges.

Collaboration amongst franchisees can vary, especially if some franchise locations are closely situated. But shared support amongst peers can go a long way to helping ensure the continued success of each individual franchise brand. Working together fosters more of a team environment and tends to leave franchisees feeling more motivated and engaged.

Franchisee turnover

When looking at the franchise network one of the biggest considerations to examine is the turnover frequency that occurs within the franchise brand. One will want to get an understanding of the average turnover rate the franchise system experienced in the previous year. If the brand is sitting around 10 per cent, this will provide a good benchmark. If the percentage is higher, it may indicate franchisees are not happy working within a particular system and under a specific brand.

After selecting the franchise, do not forget to lean on the franchisor to help the franchise succeed. A franchisor wants its franchisees to be successful, and there are two areas where that support is going to have the biggest impact—customer engagement and marketing.

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