Julian Chambers, UK head of partnership growth at Regus, highlights three key areas
The business of franchising is changing. Despite a history that dates back to the Middle Ages, the last 30 years have seen a revolution in franchising. From the sectors, services and products that are ripe for this model, to the ways in which franchisees are capitalising on these opportunities.
It’s an exciting time to be working in this space, as we take stock of just how far we’ve come and look to what’s next. Here, I’ll look at three key trends that are shaping the future of the industry:
The role of a franchisee has become increasingly professionalised as the market has matured.
When I started my career, the prospects we spoke to were often first-time franchisees who were both enterprising and ambitious. Often husband and wife duos, these go getters would embark on their franchising journey without fully understanding what they were letting themselves in for.
Nowadays, it’s not only common for our franchise partners to have an existing franchise, but for them to have a multi-brand portfolio. This trend looks set to grow still further in 2018 and beyond, and is good for business - more experience can help with quality control, something that is essential for organisations to maintain brand integrity.
The flip side is that seasoned franchisees expect a certain level of service and support. They will understand the consequences of cutting corners and will be looking for a brand that supports their growth ambitions.
At Regus, our support system from the start of the partnership includes assistance with the initial training of the franchisee’s employees, through to guidance with selecting the right site, onto the design and space planning of their Regus Business Centre, pre-opening and launch assistance, as well as ongoing business development support.
Investing in your partners makes good business sense, because their success is reflected in your own.
With the crunch on consumer spending, even some the biggest high street brands are struggling.
Falling footfall and declining like for like sales are splashed across headlines seemingly on a daily basis. What’s more, with online becoming increasingly popular, traditional retail outlets are becoming less attractive to experienced franchisees who are looking to continue to invest and develop.
While there’s still profit to be made, the business-to-consumer market is experiencing challenging times. Perhaps that’s why franchisees are turning to businessto- business offerings that work in the hard times, as well as the good.
There are a number of advantages to a B2B business like Regus. For example, they often have fewer overheads - it takes just a few members of staff to run one of our centres.
Not only that, but the Regus proposition, by its very nature, helps businesses to navigate the ups and downs of market forces: customers take out flexible contracts that allow them to scale their usage depending on current need.
Imagine being offered the chance to work with McDonald’s at the beginning of its growth explosion? B2B propositions like serviced office space are one such opportunity, with 30 per cent of corporate real estate portfolios predicted to be flexible workspace by 2030.
To be able to grow their businesses in a sustainable way, franchisees want to be able to see a stable, upwards trajectory.
Growing with social media
One of the biggest shifts in recent years has been the rise of social media and its persistent presence in our lives.
Marketing is an essential component of any franchise agreement - it’s what gets your name out there and drives customer acquisition and retention.
Devising a social media strategy for business can often feel like a daunting prospect for franchisees, but in today’s world it can make all the difference.
The best franchises bake this into their offering, equipping their local partners with the autonomy and tools to deploy social media in their market. For maximum impact, posts should be targeted at potential customers on a local level, with relevant, consistent messaging that matches the narrative being communicated at a national level.