So, you’ve finally taken the leap and invested in a franchise. You’ve researched it thoroughly and picked an industry that you’re interested in, but what support and guidance can you expect to receive from your franchisor to help make your franchise a success?
Many decide to invest in a franchise instead of a start-up, not only because it’s a proven sales model, but also because of the ongoing support, assistance and training provided by the franchisor.
What to expect from your franchisor
The support you can expect to receive from the franchisor will vary depending on the franchise industry you’ve invested in. And as it’s based on a contract, you can only expect to be provided with the support that’s been outlined in the agreements you’ve signed.
That’s why it’s important to understand what support you’ll receive before signing anything. As a franchisee, there are certain aspects you can expect to receive when opening a franchise.
Here are the main kinds of support that you should expect when starting a franchise:
1) Selecting and developing your franchise site
Choosing the right site to open your business is one of the most parts of starting a franchise. From all franchisors, you can expect some assistance with finding the ideal location. Some may even harness their experience in the area to select the location for you.
You should also be given guidelines on the typical terms of a lease agreement that you will get in a specific location. A franchisor should also provide support in the way of an onsite review for your proposed franchise site, as well as assisting you with negotiating and executing your franchise lease.
2) Franchisee training and support
When you invest in a franchise, the franchisor should provide you with an operations manual that details how to run your business. You’ll need this manual to help you to get to grips with the rules and brand guidelines of the franchise, as well as job roles and responsibilities. This could include:
- An intensive course at the franchise’s head office
- Seminars focusing on core skills
- Store visits from the franchise team
- Training days
- A franchisee hotline
Training should cover everything required to run the business, including employee management, admin, accounting and sales reporting. It should also include profiles of customers and the drivers behind supply and demand. With this behind your back, you have everything you need to understand what has driven the business success so far.
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Ongoing franchisee support
As a franchisee, you can expect ongoing support from your franchisor. This includes guidance on technical support, accounting and keeping to brand standards, well past the start-up phase.
Franchise representatives often visit new franchises to assist with challenges you may face with the operation of your franchise. By doing so, they can use their experience to advise best practices to help improve your business performance.
Any ongoing training will give you opportunities to retrain staff if necessary, as well as furthering your own skills to develop your business further and continue to make it a success.
Some of the most successful franchises now have an intranet which franchisees can access for support, or a call centre that can be contacted to find answers to any queries.
Franchisors should also provide franchisees with plenty of information about their market. With their experience in the industry, they should be keen to help you develop an understanding of competitor’s strategies.
After all, it is completely in their interests to do so. Having that knowledge of your market can help you to gain an edge on the competition. For them, that means the possibility of franchise expansion and increased brand exposure.
The best franchise investments will also give you in-depth training on the product or service you sell. Knowing your product is essential if you are going to convince any customers to buy it.
3) Advertising and marketing
Good franchisors will often support new franchisees in marketing and advertising, leaving them to focus on running and growing their own business. Most successful franchises will have a marketing plan put in place for all new franchisees. This will help them to get their businesses off the ground by getting customers talking in the local area.
This could include:
- Radio and TV adverts
- Promotional materials
- Direct mail campaigns
- Social media promotion
- Newspaper adverts
Though not always the case, it may even be written into your agreement that the costs for initial promotions are split between franchisor and franchisee.
Although as a franchisee you’re running your own independent business, you’re still sharing the brand with other franchisees and the franchisor. This means you’ll be restricted when it comes to advertising, as it will need to be aligned with brand standards and to have been approved with the franchisor in advance.
4) Mentor support
When you make an investment in a franchise, you can expect the relationship between franchisor and franchisee to be like that of a mentor and student.
You will receive plenty of coaching from your franchisor to help you find your place in the market. That will be accompanied by plenty of advice and support from fellow franchisees who have already made a success of their business.
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Some of the most successful franchises hold monthly or quarterly meetings that focus on coaching and mentoring. They are hosted to encourage maximum business performance and provide networking opportunities.
These may take place in the form of an annual conference. At this kind of networking event, franchisee successes and new updates on the franchisor’s business model are provided.
5) Industry-specific advice
These are just some of the support systems between a franchisor and franchisee. Depending on the type of business, you may need additional assistance. For example, if your franchise is a restaurant, you’ll need guidance from the franchisor when it comes to attaining the correct health and safety certification.
6) Support in financing your franchise
Starting your own business is a big investment. That applies to franchising too, with franchise fees and start-up costs needing to be covered before you’ve even opened your doors.
But there are several franchisors that help you to find the money to get your business up and running. They could do this in two ways:
- Lend you money themselves
Some generous franchisors will use their own wallet to help aspiring franchisees to raise initial funds. By providing partners with that extra bit of cash that they need to get started, franchisors are opening up a new business opportunity that both parties can benefit from.
- Recommend you to an established lender
Other franchisors will be able to put you in contact with reliable lenders to help you get started. By providing a personal recommendation, they can persuade banks and other loan providers to make an investment in your business.
There are several franchisors on our network operating across a range of industries that that can send franchisees in the direction of a lender. These include:
Can I trust my franchisor?
It’s always healthy to have a bit of scepticism when it comes to investing in a franchise. You need to be confident that the claims of your franchisor are not too good to be true. To make sure you are getting a good deal, there are a number of precautions that you can take:
Speak to existing franchisees
Before signing your franchise agreement, it’s worthwhile talking to existing franchisees about the support they receive from the franchisor. The best way to do this is to attend a franchise conference, where you can ask franchisees about the ins and outs of their business model.
But it’s important to remember that franchisees are not entirely free of bias when it comes to giving advice about their franchise. Though they may be a more reliable source of information than the franchisor themselves, they still have a vested interest in presenting the franchise in a good light.
After all, the expansion of a franchise benefits all of its partners. Existing franchisees will enjoy the increased exposure of the brand that comes from the opening new units up and down the country.
Consult the British Franchising Association
The best way to find truly independent information about a franchisor is by visiting the BFA website. There you can find some piece of mind by checking if a franchise has been fully audited by the association.
In British franchising, BFA accreditation is the best guarantee of a sound investment. All BFA-accredited franchises employ sound business practices and treat their franchisees with respect.
Here on Point Franchise, there are plenty of BFA-accredited franchises looking for new partners. You can visit our directory for further information.
James Muddimer , Point Franchise ©