4 Helpful Tips for Emerging Franchise Brands
Here's some advice for franchisors who are just getting started.
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Each year, it's estimated that an average of 300 new brands begin franchising their concepts in the marketplace. The competition among emerging brands is robust, which is why it's advisable to learn from franchise experts who've turned emerging concepts into successful brands. To provide you with some guidance to get a leg up on the competition, here are four helpful tips for emerging franchise brands:
1. Hire the best people
Never underestimate the consolidated brand power you can bring simply by surrounding yourself with the right people. There will be nothing more important from the outset than building and maintaining an environment of collaboration and cooperation. But look for individuals who want to be invested in the success of the organization — those who can foster and nurture, strong relationships built upon a foundation of respect, understanding, compassion and an unwavering commitment to reach the brand's stated goals for growth and prosperity.
There's a reason this tip was placed at the top. Hire only the best people, then allow them to do what they do best. "Personal goals drive business goals. And leadership is an influence, not a title," states Josh Wall, chief growth officer of Unleashed Brands, parent company of the Urban Air Adventure Park, The Little Gym, Snapology and Premier Martial Arts franchises. Wall was previously instrumental in helping the Christian Brothers Automotive franchise reach 250 locations in 29 different states.
2. Plan hard. Then course-correct
Franchisees who wish to become owners of your concept will have to jump through plenty of hoops to demonstrate their creditworthiness. Before they can access capital, they'll need to prove they have a business plan in place convincing enough to secure the necessary funding. Should emerging brands be any different?
Adopt a similar stance and make sure your organization has a clear understanding of how your brand will achieve steady and scalable growth. Even then, you'll need to course-correct, so plan for these occasions accordingly. Your business model has a roadmap for success for franchisees. But there should also be a highly detailed corporate version — your own roadmap for success.
3. Exercise patience and discipline
It's only natural that an emerging franchisor would want to sell franchises as fast as possible, especially if your brand is experiencing a breakthrough with brokers, consultants, investors, stakeholders and other referrals. But this is where discipline comes into the picture. Sustained, long-term growth is only possible when brands ensure that they have the right fit for their franchisees.
Once the agreements are signed, these owners are your partners. And you want to be 100% sure you've both made the right decision. Wall has this to say about aligning your interests: "If it's not the right culture fit, there could be long-term issues that slow down the potential growth of the company. When two parties in the same house have different visions, then you have division. It's imperative that we have the same vision for the long-term growth of the brand when going into an operating partnership."
4. Define yourself properly
Everyone talks about the 30-second elevator pitch, but how many brands can effectively communicate their value proposition when they're put on the spot? Make sure you define your emerging brand attributes in a way that anyone can understand.
Concentrate on your brand messaging and strategy. Who are you? What problem do you solve for your clients? How are you different from the competition? What makes your brand an attractive investment for franchise ownership? You'd probably be surprised at the number of franchisors who could use a helping hand to answer the aforementioned questions. Remember this: If you can't effectively describe your value proposition, how would you expect others to understand it?
A final note from Wall concerns the value of relationships in the franchising industry. Here's how he feels about their importance: "Good relationships are essential for several reasons — they create space for open communication between the franchisor and franchisee, build trust and encourage collaboration, all of which lead to the ultimate goal of franchise growth. A good relationship is what leads franchisees to trust a vision that's bigger than themselves."