By Erica Hannickel
Encouraging start-ups: Focusing on established entrepreneurs who want to add RadioShack's product line to their own, confidence is this franchise opportunity's hallmark. In fact, RadioShack offers a complete money-back guarantee: If franchisees aren't completely satisfied with the program after 12 months, their merchandise is bought back and the franchise fee returned. A stock plan and co-branding opportunities make the deal even sweeter.
Recent achievements: After evaluating the 3,500 items it was stocking, RadioShack has trimmed its product line to a sprite 1,950. Comprising 95 percent of sales, this Select Line-Up is specially designed to plug in to any store.
Next year's goals: Riding out a major growth spurt, RadioShack is halfway to the goals it set in 1997 of opening up to 1,000 new franchises. The company looks forward to a continued expansion program, with franchises seeking smaller markets while company stores explore larger ones.
In 10 years: Gazing into its crystal ball, RadioShack believes franchising will only grow in popularity. Knowing how hard it is to reinvent the wheel, they look to fulfill the needs of entrepreneurs who wish to link with an already-successful name and program.
Communication is key: RadioShack keeps communication lines open with a weekly newsletter, The Communicator, and offers franchisees one-on-one help from sales/support specialists and field personnel district sales managers. Plus, a focus group of 13 franchisees periodically visits management, and annual showcase meetings are a national draw.
Standout savvy: One-third of RadioShack's dealers earn incentive trips every year through revenues. Recent ports of call include Switzerland and the Mexican Riviera. The seven-day getaways provide franchisees with opportunities to network and a chance to unwind.
Karen E. Spaeder is a freelance business writer in Southern California.