Finding the right franchisees to join a niche franchise can be a challenge. Alex and Paul Dodgson, board members and franchisees with Business Partnership, shared their experience and top tips for finding excellent franchisees for a specialist franchise.
One of the best things about franchising is that there’s an opportunity available for virtually everyone. Whether you’ve got years of experience in a certain sector or want to completely switch direction, you’ll likely find something that will be a good fit for you. Characteristics like strong business acumen, organisational skills, and a general sense of determination are desirable, but these traits are often something that most people considering the franchisee path naturally have.
But what if you run a franchise that provides a specialist service—one that requires franchisees to have a specific set of knowledge and expertise? One of the biggest challenges and inhibitors of network growth for specialist franchises can be finding franchisees who know how to provide the niche services you offer. It’s also tricky if your franchise business model is built around gradual, measured returns versus the rapid, quick-to-profit model that many other franchises advertise.
During a recent virtual chat with Alex and Paul Dodgson, the couple shared some of their top recruitment tips that have helped them build a strong network with the right experience. Here are four of the biggest hurdles any niche franchisor needs to jump, along with Business Partnership’s best advice on how to clear them.
1. Raising awareness of your franchise
Some franchises have grown into international behemoths over the years. Brands like McDonalds, Subway, and Starbucks can be found in virtually every city in the western world, as well as in plenty of locations further afield. But unlike universally-appealing treat food, some franchises’ products and services mean they’re never going to become a household name.
Alex described the world of business brokering as a “secret industry.”
“Selling a business is a once-in-a-lifetime decision for many of our clients, and it’s not something we can shout about from the rooftops. Many of our clients want our work with them to be strictly confidential, which we completely respect, so it’s tricky for us to spread the word about what we actually do.”
2. Finding franchisees that share your outlook
While the Business Partnership concept has proved to be very successful for its franchise partners, the nature of its business means it’s hard to generate immediate returns. Alex revealed that transactions can take as little as a few weeks but also as long as a few years of client-relationship work, as a business owner may start working with a broker well before they’re ready to sell up.
“Securing a sale can be a long game; the most successful business sales don’t happen because the owner has decided to sell on a whim. For many clients, we’re helping them make an emotional, once-in-a-lifetime decision. Working with a client a year or two ahead of time is not a waste of time—and it’s important any new franchisees get that.”
Paul admitted that “some people simply want a get-rich quick scheme. But truly successful people don’t achieve everything overnight. Lasting, sustainable success is generated because people have worked for it and put in the hours.”
The pair explained that, while building a business will take hard work and time, its franchisees enjoy the rewards in more than one sense.
“We haven’t always appealed to everyone because you have to work on your [Business Partnership] business. It’s not going to be handed to you on a plate. But our franchisees know that the independence they enjoy and the satisfaction of helping people sort out a complex process, as well as the profits you can generate, is a reward that’s worth working hard for.”
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3. Wasting time talking to unsuitable candidates
Every franchisor or franchise recruitment specialist will lose some time talking to people who simply aren’t right for the business. But when your services are a little more niche, your chances of spending precious time on fruitless conversations are even higher.
Alex and Paul have found that being part of franchisee recruitment and resource sites like Point Franchise helps them spend more time speaking to leads with genuine potential. They received their first lead within 24 hours of going live on Point Franchise and have enjoyed a number of productive conversations with potential franchisees.
“We only joined the network late last year, but we’ve already noticed that the leads we are getting are of good quality. Point Franchise vets the leads, so by the time they’re passed on to us, it’s very likely we’re speaking to someone who understands the concept. It’s so important to put our opportunity in front of the right audience, and Point Franchise is helping us do that.”
4. Ensuring regular leads are coming through
A unique challenge for the franchise has been ensuring that a constant stream of strong leads are coming through to give its network a chance to grow. Alex explained that Business Partnership’s business model appeals to people in the “third or fourth phase of their career” who have plenty of corporate experience and valuable contacts under their belt.
She revealed that the opportunity “naturally tends to attract people in their forties and fifties” who are seeking a challenge they can work on until retirement. And while Business Partnership has franchisees who have been with the brand for 20+ years, the older average age of its partners has presented a unique challenge: how can the franchise keep its numbers up and continue to expand as older franchisees leave the network?
“We’ve got younger franchisees coming in now, such as our guy in Inverness who is just 29 and absolutely hit the ground running. Our goal for the future is to build on the success we enjoyed in 2020 and find more franchisee partners, so we can expand our network.”
Finding franchisees with Point Franchise
Business Partnership is doing all the right things on its quest for the ideal franchisees. With expert directors at the helm and a network of supportive, experienced business professionals ready to support new recruits, we’re confident this successful franchise will reach its expansion goals.
If you’re struggling to find a receptive audience for your franchise, why not join the Point Franchise network? More than 300 successful franchises are already using our proven franchisee recruitment service to expand across the UK, in every sector from business to pet food to beauty. Visit our advertise page to find out more about becoming part of this thriving franchise community.
Sophie Cole, Point Franchise ©