In this 5-minute read:
- When should you franchise?
- Get organized
- Hire an attorney
- Choose the right franchisees
- Protect your brand
- Choose the right locations
- Find a mentor
- Support your franchisees
Are you ready to take your business to the next level of growth? If your business model is one that you can replicate easily at another location, then franchising might be a great option for you.
Increase your brand’s reach and revenue by strategically franchising your small business. We’ll provide you with some tips to get started.
When is the right time to franchise?
One thing to keep in mind is that franchising your small business is basically starting up a brand new business.
Yes, you’ll have the advantage of some knowledge and materials gained from building the original business, but you’re going to be passing all of this on to another investor and owner to take on for themselves.
Setting up your first franchise will take a lot of time away from your main business, so if things are chaotic and money is tight, it’s probably not the best time to franchise.
But, if you have a great manager who can handle things at the original business while you help your new franchisee/s get started, and your business is very profitable and ready to grow, then read on for some great tips to get started.
1. Get organized and put materials together
A franchise of your business is essentially a copy of your business at another location. In order to make this transition smooth for the new owners and help them succeed with this new business, you need to get organized and have all of the necessary materials and resources together.
Before you ever start looking for investors or a new location for your franchise, you need to take the time to think about how your business works, down to the processes you don’t really have to think about anymore at your original location.
Your franchisees will need detailed, step-by-step guidelines about how to get their business going and about day-to-day operations.
Some materials and resources to have in place for the new franchisees:
- Detailed business plan
- Staff training procedures
- Company policies and best practices
- Legal guidance and procedures (see below)
- Marketing materials like signage, business cards, and brochures
- Online marketing resources
- Operations manual
- Approval processes for major decisions
All of these things will help every new franchise keep consistency with the original business model and provide your new franchisees with a better chance of success.
2. Get an attorney
Find an attorney who specializes in helping businesses franchise. Even if you’ve done your research, there will be things in the franchising process that you missed or weren’t aware of.
An attorney will help you check all of the right boxes and start your franchise the right way.
One thing your attorney can help you with is the Franchise Disclosure Document. There’s a specific format you need to follow when setting up your new franchise, and a lawyer will help make sure this is done correctly.
An attorney will also help you create a franchise agreement and make sure your intellectual property is protected.
3. Find the right franchisees
You don’t want to just sign a franchise agreement with anyone who has the money to get started.
You should be selective in who you choose to franchise your business. You want to make sure they are going to be a good fit for your business and that they have the knowledge and experience to help this new business succeed.
The point of franchising is to grow your business, so find someone whom you feel is likely to be successful and help you achieve that goal.
Set up an interviewing process for potential franchisees. Come up with questions that will help you weed out those who aren’t a good match and find the best possible people to run this business.
4. Protect your brand
Protect your brand at all costs. You have developed a brand that is successful, has a good reputation, and has its own culture. Make sure your new franchise envelops everything that your brand stands for.
Create clear guidelines for how all of your brand assets should be used and distributed. You want your franchises to all send the same message and to be one cohesive organization.
As you are starting new franchises, monitor their media and social media outlets to ensure that they are keeping consistent with your brand.
This might seem overbearing, but it will be good to catch any inconsistencies at the beginning to make sure your brand is represented well through the franchising process.
5. Choose the best locations
You don’t want to just set up a franchise of your business anywhere. It has to make sense from a business perspective.
Ask yourself these questions when trying to determine the best locations for your franchises:
- Where do you have brand recognition?
- Is it far enough away from your initial location to not take business away from you?
- Can you easily visit the new location to check in on it?
- Is there a demand for that type of business?
Make sure the location you choose has every opportunity to be successful, from the people who will be running it to the customer base that it will serve.
6. Find a mentor who has franchised their business
You’re not the first person to franchise your business. Find others who have done this and been successful. Set up a time to talk to them and learn from their mistakes and successes.
Find a good mentor who you can go back to regular to ask advice as you are setting up your new franchises.
You may even offer to pay them for their time—many great business mentors are very busy and paying for valuable mentorship is not “weird”… after all, paying for valuable mentoring is better than getting free, low-value mentoring.
If they are initially reluctant due to time constraints, offer to pay for three one-hour sessions for $300 a session.
7. Support your franchisees
As the franchisor, it is your responsibility to provide your franchisees with consistent support. Get to know your franchisees really well at the beginning through constant communication via phone, email, text, and regular in-person meetings.
Encourage them the best that you can. Celebrate their victories and provide them with resources to be successful. After all, their success is your success.
If you progress to multiple franchises, set up ways for your franchisees to communicate with and find support from one another, too.
This will help ensure a cohesive team among your franchisees and increase the likelihood of success as they are learning from and support each other.
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