Branding can be the difference between success and failure in franchising, says Pip Wilkins, CEO of the British Franchise Association
You may think setting up a franchise is cheap and easy. This is far from the truth if it’s done properly, with many elements requiring attention before you become a franchisor.
If all the appropriate expertise has been sought and the right systems put in place, a business can recruit people to become franchisees, who use their money to expand a brand. The combination of national support and cost-saving from a franchisor and an enterprising, locally-based franchisee can be a successful formula, even in a sector where conditions are tough.
A new set of challenges
However, you’ll be presented with a new set of challenges if you start to look at overseas markets to launch into.
A lot of businesses you come into contact with on a regular basis, including many high street brands, use franchising as a means of expanding their operations abroad. But before you do the same, you need to answer some key questions, including:
• Does the new market have a need for your products?
• How much does your franchise agreement need to change?
• Do local employment laws and practices cause problems?
• What are the main cultural differences in your new target market?
Getting your branding right is critical because if it doesn’t work in the new market all your hard work could be undone.
Some brands have worked well in many different markets, but there have been occasions where a product is introduced to a market only to be ignored, laughed at or, worse still, end up in court.
Branding can be the difference between success and failure in franchising. Yes, people are buying a proven business model, training, support and knowledge, but the brand ties it together. It’s the promise that the customer receives about the company. If this doesn’t hold any value, people will have little interest in investing their money to join the network.
If successful in expanding abroad, a franchisor has three main tasks:
• Securing and developing the brand and system.
• Supporting existing franchisees on an ongoing basis.
• Recruiting new franchisees to grow the network.
Although the third is not essential, the first two are.
Advice is available
Franchising remains one of the most effective ways of expanding a business. Advice on how to do it successfully is available from British Franchise Association accredited banks, solicitors, accountants and consultants, which have demonstrated an intimate knowledge of the industry and understand the intricacies of setting up a franchise according to the European code of ethics for franchising.
The bfa continues to promote and accredit excellence in franchising, with franchisor members and affiliated professional advisers having to pass ethical checks on their businesses. Retaining the professionalism and quality in the franchise sector helps to provide new business and employment opportunities every year.
Pip Wilkins is CEO of the British Franchise Association
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