Is your franchisor giving you the support you need?

30/06/2018 14:00 | Start a business

Is your franchisor giving you the support you need?

One of the biggest questions facing an investor trying to find a franchise is whether the franchisor offers the support you need to succeed. Here, we take a look at the different types of support offered and how you can tell whether a franchisor is providing sufficient guidance and assistance.

What support do you need?

The level of support required will vary from franchisee to franchisee. For instance, a franchisee who has experience in the franchise sector will probably require less support than someone that's never operated a franchise before. However, the very nature of the franchise model ensures that all franchisees will need some guidance if only to ensure that standards are maintained, and the correct procedures are followed. It's also important to consider the fact that the franchisor may be responsible for performing specific tasks such as national advertising on behalf of all franchisees. Though you may have the skills required to do this yourself, allowing the franchisor to step in can take some of the strain off individual franchisees and ensure that you havent got too much on your plate.

Initial setup

Many franchises assist their franchisees in locating and setting up their business premises. This is an incredibly important step and often requires a great deal of experience and expertise to get right. Establish your franchise in the wrong location, and you'll probably struggle to bring in enough customers. Get the store refurbishment wrong, and it's likely you'll have to invest more money in rectifying your mistakes at a later date. Most successful franchises understand precisely what a franchisee needs from a location and will have the infrastructure in place to facilitate a search and help arrange the lease. In some cases, they may be able to offer reduced rates for shop fitting.

Training

Training is probably the most critical aspect of franchise support and is likely to play a prominent role in all franchise support systems. This is predominately because an effective training programme is required if a franchise is to standardise all operating procedures and processes and ensure all franchisees are meeting a minimum level of service provision. However, the amount of training a franchisee receives will vary from franchise to franchise and will depend on the resources at their disposal. Larger franchises are likely to operate longer, more complex training programmes that guide franchisees through a wide range of topics. Smaller franchises are going to be more limited with what they can do and are likely to offer shorter training programmes that only cover the fundamentals.

Advertising and marketing

Most franchises will offer franchisees a great deal of marketing support as they prepare to open a new unit. Whether this continues after the initial opening stretch depends on how a franchise organises its marketing department. Some franchises will require a monthly contribution from all franchisees to cover national advertising costs. Others will use this contribution to pay for both local and national advertising campaigns. Some franchises will request no advertising fee and leave all marketing up to individual franchisees, while others will provide basic marketing materials and offer advice but allow franchisees to pay for and implement the campaigns themselves.

Ongoing support

In the vast majority of cases, the franchisor will continue to provide continuing support and guidance once a new franchise is up and running. A franchisee cant learn everything they need to know in a training camp and, as the new business grows and expands, theyll be faced with problems that theyve never encountered before. Consequently, most franchises implement a support structure that ensures franchisees receive the support they need, as and when new issues arise. This is the type of support that franchisee most often feel like theyre missing out and can become embittered about. However, not all franchises commit to a large amount of long-term franchisee support and prospective franchisees need to be sure that they understand exactly how much help they're realistically going to receive.

How do you know what level of support youll receive?

There are three main ways of working out what kind of support you can expect to receive from a franchisor. They are the following;

  • Look for details in the franchise agreement the responsibilities and rights of both the franchisor and franchisee are explicitly stated in the franchise agreement. In theory, everything you need to know about the level of support youll receive has been written down in the contract.
  • Ask the franchisor the vast majority of franchisors will be happy to provide you with information as to what support and guidance they provide franchisees. All you need to do is ask!
  • Ask other existing franchisees once you have collected information from the franchisor, its a good idea to contact existing franchisees and request their opinion. Theyll be able to tell you whether the franchisor is being honest about the amount of sport they provide and whether they keep the promises set out in the franchise agreement.

What you need and what you expect

Its also important to consider the difference between the level of support you need and the level of support you expect to receive. Expectations are very subjective and sometimes bear no resemblance to the reality of the situation. Consequently, its a good idea to think about what help you need and what skills youre lacking, rather than focusing on all of the different types of support youre going to receive. A prospective franchisee that knows what their weaknesses are and demonstrates a desire to learn and improve is an attractive prospect for any franchisor.

Conclusion

The best business opportunities are those franchises that provide each franchisee with the amount of support and guidance that they require. No two franchisees are the same and franchisees will have different skill sets and abilities. When it comes to finding a franchise that offers the right amount of support, its important to check the franchise agreement, talk to the franchisor, and contact existing franchisees. These sources should give you sufficient information to make an informed decision as to whether youll receive all of the help you require.

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