Rebecca de Chair, group marketing manager of Franchise Brands, shows you what to expect in your first year as a franchisee
Taking the step to become a franchisee is not one that people should take lightly. There’s no doubt it’s a huge commitment, but we consider that to be a good thing, as it means people will be committed to making things work. This, combined with a franchisor’s business mentoring support and expert marketing methods, can reap amazing rewards.
The first year of franchising will always be the hardest. People start from scratch, learning their trade, find out what does and doesn’t work for them. Most franchisees will have some of the skills required, but many of them will be learnt on the job.
However, this learning curve can be navigated relatively quickly if the franchisee applies themselves 100 per cent. That means taking all the help on offer, maximising every opportunity, marketing regularly and treating customers like kings - always a good way to guarantee repeat business.
Founded by Stephen Hemsley and Nigel Wray, who have achieved well documented success in franchising through their involvement with Domino’s Pizza, Franchise Brands has honed our way of working over the years, based on results and feedback from our franchisees. And now we believe there’s no better support package to get your business off to a flying start.
Once a franchisee has decided the route they’d like to go down and chosen the franchise that’s right for them, usually there is a certain level of training involved.
This could have a practical, hands-on focus, such as the majority of the training for ChipsAway is, or be more sales/business-based, which is usually associated with management style franchises, such as our recently acquired business opportunity MyHome.
For example, ChipsAway new starters undertake a comprehensive four-week course at our IMI accredited training centre and all franchisees must reach a set standard of repair to pass and complete the course.
After three months out on the road, franchisees are then invited back to complete their advanced paint and dent training, offering further business potential for repairs to more substantial damage.
MyHome franchisees, on the other hand, will undertake a five-day business training course followed by close support in the field, whereas in the case of Ovenclean, training entails a fortnight shadowing an experienced existing franchisee. This gives the newcomer a chance to observe and then undertake cleans, learning all there is to know in the process.
The launch of any new business is a very exciting time, but it’s essential to ensure everything is in place to make it a success. Franchisors should have a tried and tested launch promotion structure, as we do at Franchise Brands.
For us this varies between each franchise, but essentially involves a mix of leafleting activity, online exposure - including social media - and supermarket promotions for ChipsAway and Ovenclean, which are all designed to make sure the franchisee launches in their new territory with maximum impact.
It’s also a continually evolving process, whereby we test and evaluate different marketing techniques to maximise effectiveness.
The level of ongoing support will vary, depending on the franchise you choose to join.
It may be that you simply want a business concept and you’re happy to undertake the majority of the marketing activity yourself. This is fine if you have a business and marketing background and you’re happy to accept that the brand will only develop locally if you put the effort in.
The benefit of joining one of our franchises though is our centrally organised support structure. In essence, this provides franchisees with a large pool of knowledge and expertise in how to set up and run a successful business - something smaller organisations simply can’t compete with.
Our franchisees are never left on their own, wondering what their next move should be. Depending on their needs, we offer full access to head office’s central support services - including marketing, IT and finance - for advice and help on an ongoing basis.
We’re also able to take advantage of the economies of scale achievable through the network sizes we have, enabling us to undertake national TV advertising for Ovenclean and ChipsAway, as well as extensive Google Pay Per Click campaigns. This has all led to them becoming and maintaining their positions as brand leaders within their respective industries, with brand awareness far outreaching the closest competitors.
The start of any franchise will always involve getting to know the business, who your customers are and how best to target them.
We always advise our franchisees not to run before they can walk. This means getting to know their product and honing their service, so it becomes second nature. Then they’ll be in a position to speed things up.
By the end of their first year, franchisees have a clear vision for the future of their franchise. For the more ambitious individuals in our networks, this might involve expansion into a CarCare Centre or growing their business through acquiring more territory and employing staff to undertake the day-to-day work, while the franchisee concentrates on building and developing the business further.
Some, though, are happy simply ticking along at the rate they have managed to achieve already and are content with the new work/life balance they’ve secured as a result.
Ultimately, success is down to the individual. We know hard work and dedication will get people to where they want to be and our highly experienced and knowledgeable support teams are on hand to help every step of the way.