You’re a small business owner and you’ve seen a lot of success with your first location.
And, you’ve always had a dream to take your thriving small business and make it successful on a national level.
So, what’s it going to take to make your small business a franchise concept? It will require self-evaluation, but also perseverance and patience.
Here are the steps for turning your small business into a franchise:
1. Ask Yourself Tough Questions
If you intend to franchise your business, you will have to ask yourself some tough questions. For one, are you ready to work long hours, weekends and holidays in the beginning of this process?
Not everyone can commit to that. Think about how your business works. You will need details and guidelines for how to get your concept up and running. From developing branding and signage, to launching a marketing program, there are many steps along the way.
Start with developing a reference manual that contains policies and best practices to follow.
2. Make Research A Priority
Understanding that there will be a lot of cost involved up front is key. Franchise fees can be prohibitive for some potential owners, but necessary for investing in your concept.
Take the time to learn about what documents and paperwork have to be completed along the way. If you miss something, you’re always going to have to come back and finish it.
Find a mentor or someone who has been through the franchising process before. They can be a valuable resource in tough times.
3. Find A Good Attorney
Finding an expert on franchising is important. You will need to complete a Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD), which provides potential franchisees with everything they need to know about your company, such as your sales figures and other key business information.
A lawyer will help walk you through what should and should not be in the FDD. Documenting your legal responsibilities will help you avoid potential liabilities.
4. Create A Marketing Strategy
As the franchise owner, you are responsible for marketing your business to the public and to potential franchisees. Developing a solid marketing plan will help you stay on a growth trajectory.
Keeping the marketing plan simple is the best approach. Make it easy for franchisees to understand and follow. You and your franchisees will always have a better chance of success if you both understand the marketing plan.
5. Find The Right Franchisees
Finding the right franchisee is never easy. Just like when you were looking for your first car in high school, you knew what you really wanted. However, you settled on a car that was affordable and practical, even if it wasn’t the car of your dreams.
It’s similar in the franchise world. Franchisors have to be confident in their franchisees. Ask yourself if a potential franchisee has the right experience to advance your franchise concept -- whether they are good fit and will help you grow. A rigorous interview process will help select the right people.
6. Pick The Right Locations
Your franchise won’t succeed unless you pick the right location. Setting up a snow-plowing franchise in Florida probably isn't going to work.
The local economy, competitive environment and demographic trends are important considerations. In the early going you may want to keep locations close to home. As you grow, you can expand to other regions of the country. Logistics are much simpler and cost-effective closer to your home base.
7. Support Franchisees
Good communication with your franchisees is important. Face-to-face meetings and frequent phone calls will establish good communication and mutual problem solving.
Encourage franchisees with positive reinforcement such as supportive emails and text messages. Share helpful business articles or guidance from peers.