Wondering how to find your first franchisee? There are a number of effective ways to kick-start your franchisee recruitment drive the right way. Here are our top tips on finding your very first franchisee.
If you’re a new franchisor seeking your very first franchisee, it can be difficult to know where to begin. You want to find the right people to bring your successful brand to new customers across the country and, potentially, the world. But no matter how well your independent business is doing in your local area, it can be very hard to replicate your small-scale success on a national and international level.
We’ve put together our top five proven and effective ways to find your first franchisee. We also spoke with long-time franchisor and Founder of Nationwide Cleaners, Peter Munro, to get some real-world insights into what it takes to recruit top franchisee talent.
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1. Targeted advertising
If you’ve got the budget to advertise your business, you must use it wisely. You’ll get the most effective results if you are specific about where you advertise and who you target. Obviously, you’re excited about your business and want to show everyone what an incredible growth opportunity it is. But without a carefully considered advertising strategy, you could end up wasting a lot of money on ineffective adverts.
Peter Munro, Founder and Managing Director of Nationwide Cleaners, admitted that he had made this mistake when he first decided to franchise his business. He tried casting a wide net, advertising on sites with millions of visitors, like eBay. Ultimately, he found it to be completely ineffective.
These popular sites simply didn’t have the specific audience he needed to reach. So in order to justify the amount he was investing into advertising and marketing, Peter realised he would need to capture the attention of readers who were already interested in—and actively researching—the world of franchising.
After discovering franchise resources like Point Franchise, Peter was finally able to get the attention of an engaged audience that was already in the franchisee consideration set.
“I tried advertising on other sites and distributing door-to-door leaflets, but it simply wasn’t effective. I needed to appeal to people who were actively looking to start a business—and a franchise in particular.”
2. Consult the experts
A franchise consultant or specialist broker could also help you recruit your first franchisees. What’s more, they’re also likely to offer valuable insight into the world of franchising and plenty of handy tips about what it’s like to run a franchise. But be warned – not every franchise consultant is worth your time and money.
The best place to begin your search is by browsing the bfa’s affiliate member directory. Only franchise consultants that meet the association’s strict criteria are able to join, making them trustworthy and knowledgeable resources who can help you navigate your entry into the UK’s franchise market.
Alternatively, you could ask local solicitors or accountants with knowledge of franchising for their recommendations. You may already be working with them to build your franchise’s legal structure or to get your franchise’s finances in order. If you haven’t considered hiring an accountant or lawyer to help set up your new franchise operations for success, now is the time to do so.
3. Become part of a franchising community
Joining a respected franchise community or resource site is one of the most effective ways to find your first franchisee. When you’re just starting out, it’s likely you’re doing everything on a shoe-string budget. As a franchisee, it’s a lot easier to get going with minimal funds. Franchisors, however, will find it tough to get their concept off the ground if they’re not willing to invest in their business’s long-term growth.
Peter explained how a number of his acquaintances have attempted to start a franchise of their own without joining franchise marketing or recruitment sites. Unfortunately, none of them have enjoyed much success with their concepts as a result.
“If I could share one piece of advice with new franchisors, it would be to concentrate on marketing your business via franchise-specific websites. I’ve spoken to people who do it alone, and it seems impossible to succeed that way.”
4. Reach out to local entrepreneurs
Reaching out to local business-minded communities could help you find a budding businessperson that recognises your franchise as an investment opportunity. Connect with business undergraduates or post-grads on professional skills courses, as their aptitude for business could make them perfect franchisee recruits.
Many highly entrepreneurial people have all the skills needed to become a fantastic business owner but lack one crucial thing: an original company idea. Your franchise will offer them an opportunity to put their skills and experience to good use with an idea you’ve already carefully thought through and tested.
By talking to ambitious, educated individuals about your new opportunity, you may find some who are interested in helping your brand flourish.
5. Franchise events
A great way to get your brand and yourself out there as a new franchisor is to attend franchise events. Due to Covid-19, the majority of this year’s events have been cancelled or hosted online instead. But between now and when life gets back to normal, there are still plenty of ways you can begin connecting with prospective franchisees.
In the future, attending in-person franchise events will allow you to form solid connections with prospective franchisees. As you won’t yet have other franchisees who can sing your praises for you, you’ll need to use every ounce of your charisma and business acumen to show people why your franchise concept is worth investing in.
You can find more information about respected events like the bfa’s exhibitions on its website. There are also plenty of other regional and virtual events held all across the country, as well as exhibitions for specific sectors and levels of experience. The AFA’s events are also worth checking out - you can find more information about them on its website.
No matter what kind of franchise you’re operating, whether that’s a cleaning franchise or beauty franchise, or the type of franchisee you’re looking to target, it’s likely you’ll find an event geared towards your professional interests.
Even if you’re not in the position to purchase a physical franchisor stand just yet, it’s still an excellent place to network with other attendees. You could also pick up valuable tips about franchisee recruitment from the many people who were once in your shoes.
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It’s time to begin building your brand
As you can see, there are a number of different ways to find your first franchisee. If you’ve just started your franchise, have patience—and don’t give up. While it might be difficult, at first, to prove yourself without a solid reputation behind you, you will eventually find someone who believes in your franchise model and wants to help your business grow and share in your success.
If you’re looking for other guidance, hints and tips, check out our articles for franchisors. And if you’re interested in becoming a member of our rapidly expanding network, find out more about how to advertise your franchise with Point Franchise.
Sophie Cole, Point Franchise ©