Monday, February 22, 2010

Grow Your Business: Get The Right Franchise Consultants

Overview:

With more than 1500 organized franchisers in India and an estimated 3000 getting organized in the next couple of years, it becomes very important for every business to analyse, what's the best way forward. Will franchising serve my organizations growth objectives? If yes, how do I 'Franchise My Business' or 'How To Franchise.' How can I quickly build a robust business system that works efficiently with a variety of franchisees, all of which work independently and yet at the same time together? What are the challenges I need to address? Franchising can give you great results. Every business is unique and has to be dealt differently. You can mould your business strategically around franchising and set the foundation for scalability and growth. The first step is to look for a franchise consultant expert who will run this marathon along with you.

Introduction:

Expanding a business always has a lot of planning, resource allocation, risk analysis, adaptability and timely growth that one has to engage with.

The first question that you ask yourself is what course of expansion must I follow?

Should I have more of my own company units in different locations?
Do I have the resources to do it?

If yes, how much time will it take me to do the desired number of units?

If no, how would I fund the expansion?

Will I knock on the venture capitalists door or will I go to banks and other financial institutions?

Are market conditions favourable, how fast is competition catching up, will tomorrows markets be as potential as today’s or will they improve?

By doing so will I be able to serve my customers efficiently through my employees, what are the kind of team members I must have?

What is my exit strategy? What is the reason for which I am into this business and how will I optimise my time and investments?

Most entrepreneurs have the above doubts when they are thinking of expanding their business, which is when they also explore franchising.

Is franchising right for your business?

Franchise as a business development strategy has been around for some centuries now. Different businesses have used franchise development for their growth and over the years grown into successful franchise brands. I will not speak of the numerous franchise success stories that repeat themselves as a standard template in such business blogs or franchise articles.

“Most businesses that have a replicable prototype which works without a specific individual, and is able to generate profit for the franchisee and the franchisor, and at the end of the distribution chain offers value to the final consumer at price and service levels, satisfactory to a clients consumption, generally take the franchise route.”

It is very essential for business owners to realise the potential of what franchising could do to their businesses. They must make sure that they are ready to expand, because they cannot reverse this decision and more often than not, there is only one chance that they get to, ‘get the act’ right. Once they decide to expand the earlier they reach out to professional help, the better it is. There are a few experienced franchise consultants in India, who could help you grow stage by stage and ensure that you do not commit the typical mistakes, most businesses commit whilst they expand. You could very quickly learn from the experts and create a franchise expansion strategy that is suited to your organization not your industry.

Choosing the right franchise consultants in India:

Also be very careful in selecting your franchise consulting company. You could come across a few consulting companies, who have the reputation of making the Franchisers/ Business owners invest so heavily at the onset on Initial Documentation, Franchise Marketing, Franchise Advertising, Franchise Agreements, Franchise Exhibitions and other related activities that the client does not have anything left for the actual business development or support to the franchisees or capital to take their business from this stage to the next. On the other hand, it’s never prudent to release an advertisement or participate in a franchise exhibition and then plan your franchise responses based on the calls you get. It’s the surest way to fail. I have seen several clients who ‘cut and paste’ their competitors franchise plans or accumulate various offerings and speak to several franchisors just to figure out what could suit their businesses. They then go back and announce a ‘mixed concoction’ of what they call as a ‘franchise offering’ trying hard to please the initial set of entrepreneurs whom they reach out using their own ingenious ways. I remember seeing, one such company/franchisor, distributing leaflets of their offerings outside a franchise exhibition venue and trying to talk to all visitors about the same. Will they ever succeed in getting the right franchisee? Is that the right way of projecting your business?

Well all of us know the answer to this while most people then go about asking as to why does a franchise fail.

I often answer, “Franchising doesn’t fail, its how you franchise your business that has failed.”

You’d rather go with a franchise consultant who works closely with your business like a coach and is interested in the long term success of your franchise, works closely with your organization on the entire systems, understands your brand and its ethos and engages the prospects interested in your business, chooses them carefully for you, does the entire expansion fieldwork on your behalf while you are constantly strengthening your business and making it ready for franchise growth. Franchise Training, Creation Of Franchise Manuals, Standard Operating Procedures (S.O.P’s) are also very essential components of franchising and you must check if your consultant is competent to help you with these at the speed and costs that are feasible for your business. It is very important for you to assess the team that would work on your project and the actual people and their backgrounds along with previous track record of the work that they have already done. Doing a reference check with clients who have already experienced the services could help you understand if the franchise consultant will be able to deliver what you seek. You must assess the size of your organization, the growth that you want to achieve and then choose a long-term franchise guide, whom you could speak to at any point in time and get valuable guidance along the way for years to come.

While larger organizations might have people changing at the top and at different levels, its important that the consulting team is able to put in systems and processes that new people can instantly adapt with a appropriate franchise training programme and a standard set of internal documentation in place. The focus on the right training at all levels of franchising is very important. I remember putting down specific internal employee do’s and don’ts for a client, who was very concerned of change in people at different levels and that affecting the business franchising. That was something that we put in place from the word go.

Hence, while most businesses can be franchised and with franchising gaining momentum in the Indian subcontinent, it is very important that the business community and the franchise entrepreneurs understand the availability of such experienced resources to their disposal, which if used properly could ensure franchise success for their businesses. We must learn to learn quickly from others mistakes and go ahead with franchising your businesses with utmost care, proper research, on ground market realities and the franchisees expectations.

At the end of the day it’s about creating a happy customer, a happy franchisee, and a franchise business that delivers what it promises.