10 Tips On How To Franchise A Small Business

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Small business owners looking to jump to the next level may be looking into franchising as a means of expansion and growth. Before you start looking for potential partners, you need to fully understand what you are getting into. Franchising isn’t just about running your small business on a broader scale; it is actually an entirely new business in itself.

1. Own And Operate A Successful Business

Even if you have this amazing idea that you think will be a smashing hit across the country, no one will buy into your franchise unless you have proven that it can make money. Once you’ve created something that the people want, you start selling the product. And once you can demonstrate your success at selling the product, you start selling the business.  A strong business model that can work for the right people in the right locations is one of the keys to success for small business franchising.

2. Creating Your Brand

Once you’ve established that your product, business model and operating systems can lead to profit, it’s time to establish your brand. Start by coming up with a franchise disclosure document and your official operations manual for potential franchisees. This will establish your company’s standards, practices, specifications and guidelines. You should also document just about anything that has led to the success of your small business. With these tools, new franchisees should be able to take your brand and sell it within their own markets, finding the same amount of success you had when you started your small business.

3. Franchising Is A Business In Itself

You may have been selling the best cookies in your hometown for the past decade, but once you decide on franchising, you’re taking your business to a whole other level. For one thing, you may have to change the way you do things once you decide you want your company to grow and expand. There will be laws and regulations that you will need to become familiar with. If you feel you are not capable of running your small business and your franchise company at the same time, you’ll need to hire someone to do one or the other.

4. Get Some Help

Just drafting your first franchise disclosure agreement can be a daunting task for the small business operator turned franchisor. You may understand the business you’re in, but like tip #3 says, you may not understand the business of franchising. Start looking for a franchise attorney and consultant that can assist you with your franchising plans.

5. Get The Right People

Once you’re ready to start screening potential franchisees, you need to know what you’re looking for. It’s not quite the same as hiring staff for your small business. You need to look for people who are motivated and share the same core values. You obviously can’t create multiple clones of yourself to run each individual franchise, but you can create a model criteria for selecting the kind of people who you believe will make your business model successful, no matter where they set up shop.

6. Leave Room For Creativity

One of the benefits of having franchisees who are not exact replicas of yourself is that they can bring in fresh, innovative ideas that can make your business more successful. Of course, you want to establish what parts of your business model and operating procedures are set in stone, but you also want to encourage creativity and flexibility for your franchisees to be able to adapt to their specific markets and locations.

7. Protect Your Brand

Now that you’re taking your small business out from the neighborhood corner and into a regional, national or even international scale, you’ll want to make sure your brand is protected. If you haven’t already, obtain registered trademark rights to your brand and look into a trademark monitoring service for your company.

8. Don’t Forget About The Customers

The more you responsibilities you take as the head of a franchise, the greater the distance becomes between you and the customer. When setting up your small business franchise, don’t forget to include the customer somewhere in all that planning and documentation. You should be able to take that neighborhood-feel of your first small business and bring it into every one of your franchise establishments.

9. Value Your Employees

Employees are crucial to the success of any business. While you may not be able to provide the same support you did to your original staff at the franchise level, make sure your franchisees value their employees just the same. You should be able to provide direction and guidance to your franchisees, which they should be able to relay to the people working for them. Take the attitude you had in your small business towards your employees, and create a network of support within your own franchise.

10. Don’t Lose Sight Of Your Vision

For many successful small business owners, it may have not been about the numbers, initially. In the beginning, it may have been about bringing a great product that the public wanted and simply making the customer happy. When a small business turns into a franchise, it is important not to relinquish the vision and core values that lead to the company’s success in the first place. This is especially important in franchising, where business partners are left with the responsibility of upholding your brand’s name and reputation.

Last Updated: January 31, 2012
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