Question: Business is booming, and I'm thinking about franchising my company. What's one thing I need to do or consider?
"Scaling is a big decision and it takes people who share in your passion for the business to keep it successful. Not only are you letting go of some control, but you are also bringing new faces to the team. Make sure your team is sound in all aspects and you have succession plans in place as promotions and shifts in responsibility occur."
"It's a good sign if you have people or businesses interested in franchising your business. Now, you need to set minimum standards for what skills and experiences are required to run a business like yours and if those interested meet the standards. The criteria might include experience in your industry, a ready base of potential customers, and a certain amount of capital available to start up."
"Document your processes at a high level. For example, if you are an HVAC company and want to franchise, take your top 20 calls and document the steps it takes to complete them. You may not capture 100 percent of your cases, but you want your new franchisee to be able to reference these steps."
Your Test Market
"If you have yet to open other locations, you'll want to start by trying another location, ideally in a different city altogether where you can truly put your idea to the test. What works in your city may not work in every city because of cultural nuances, a city's history or even the climate and seasonal factors. Just be sure that you're not missing a factor that could be contributing to your success."
"The key to franchise success is offering your franchisees unique products or services that they can not get anywhere else, also called "hooks." Consider what is going to prevent a franchisee from deciding a few years down the line that they know the business better than you and that they can do this on their own. "
"Many of our largest clients are franchise companies. What I have observed to be the biggest downfall when first franchising a company is not having a quality control system in place. You need systems that ensure the quality of your product or service is delivered consistently across all of your franchisees. Otherwise, your brand will be tarnished quickly."
How Much Control You Have
"Think about scale and ask yourself how much control you want or need over each franchise. Do they need to be cookie cutter, or can owners have some freedom to regionalize and personalize stores? Then, look into best ways to retain the control you want to have throughout your franchises."