Setting up a franchise vs growing a business organically

A franchise, with its strong brand and support network, is often the best way to launch a business for those who are unsure of dipping their toes into the more uncertain waters of self-employment.

It’s a credible option for those facing redundancy, who wish to seize control of their career. While many people, who have had time to reassess their work-life balance during the pandemic, are also expressing a similar sentiment.

Franchise packages should provide a proven, well-documented earnings potential, and allow the opportunity to hit the ground running with support packages such as a comprehensive ISO9001-accredited induction training course. In our company, franchisees also benefit from flexible working hours and a scalable business model, allowing expansion into a multi-van operation should a franchisee wish to follow that well-trodden route.

#1 – There is no typical franchisee

It’s important to present a straightforward and accessible franchise offering to prospective franchisees following a tried and stress-tested pilot operation that has been demonstrated at two or three UK locations. A franchisee’s start-up package ought to offer a level of support, and promotional activity which is perfect for people from a wide variety of backgrounds, as there is no such thing as a “typical” franchisee.

In essence, a good franchise will offer a wealth of support and expertise, which sets franchisees up for success. This attracts people who are committed, motivated, who buy-in to the business model and are in it for the long-term.

>See also: Starting a franchise: From winning the master franchise to taking the brand global

#2 – Set out your franchise stall

Think through the process of how your business actually works. Franchisees will need precise details and guidelines to get their business up and running. Your franchise offering must be readily replicable. This process takes time, and you may need to seek advice from franchising professionals, but it is ultimately worth it and even if you decide not to franchise in the end, the groundwork you carry out now will help your business run more smoothly.

From marketing to signage to business cards to staff training, it seems obvious, but ensure that a robust and comprehensive business model is in place before bringing your franchise offering to market.

Starting a new business is never easy or straightforward but setting up in business as part of a larger and established company can be the best way forward for an increasing number of those making the leap into self-employment. Franchisees will look to you as the franchisor for lots of help and advice; so be prepared.

#3 – Broaden your appeal

Many existing businesses could be expanded nationally or even internationally by using the business format franchise model. The beauty of our cleaning business is that it’s accessible to most people, so that makes it an ideal franchising opportunity. I have franchisees of all ages and backgrounds in both the UK and Australia, ranging from ex-forces through to office workers. There are numerous examples that prove that you don’t require prior experience of the oven valeting industry to own a franchise and go on to develop a successful business. A bonus is that start-up costs are relatively inexpensive, and the process involved in getting the business off the ground are also reasonably straightforward.

#4 – Present the business argument

I run an oven valeting company, however there is a widespread perception that franchisees need to be “hands on”. Although some oven valeting ventures require franchisees to get involved with some level of the cleaning, getting your hands dirty is one of the common misconceptions about cleaning franchises. In fact, many are management-based and are often some of the most corporate franchise organisations around. Explore the ramifications of your franchise offering and broaden its appeal.

With a management franchise, franchisees have the option to employ staff to carry out the cleaning while they take on much more of an operational role, which is the case for many of our franchisees. That said, remember that you’ll be helping your franchisees to run and manage a business and not just teaching them how to excel at their “day job”

#5 – The role of a franchisee

Many franchisees choose to take on a more “hands-on” franchise, and as is the case with my business, I positively enjoy working at the coalface of the oven valeting business. Whether a franchise targets commercial or domestic cleaning markets, every postcode area offers hundreds – if not thousands – of potential clients. Almost everyone has an oven, but it is a good idea to target niche areas, if possible. For instance, it’s often a good idea to target commercial enterprises, such as letting agents, which already have established networks of customers to tap into. Many of our franchisees have excellent working relationships with such businesses, and they can prove to be an extremely fruitful way of getting established in business. A well-prepared franchisor will have a very strong marketing strategy mapped out for their franchisees.

#6 – Build and protect your franchise brand

As a franchisor the most important asset is your brand, so try to protect it at all costs. Your brand represents your culture, your beliefs, and your attitude towards your customers. When you franchise you are giving people the opportunity to represent your brand by investing into it. This can be one of the biggest risks of franchising.

Clear guidelines should be established for the use of all your brand assets. You want to be sure that you are sending one clear message from one clear source, and that this message is consistent.

Do monitor everything – pay close attention to videos and pictures and monitor all social media outlets to ensure nothing departs or detracts from that message. Establish a good working relationship from the outset with a specialist franchise lawyer as all the above needs to be put into a correctly formatted Franchise Agreement. A wise investment in this department in the early days can save numerous headaches in the future.

Rik Hellwell is managing director of Ovenu Franchising Ltd

Further reading on running a franchise

Six steps to franchising your business

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