Have you ever thought about franchising your business?
You might think it’s the kind of business model reserved only for the big name brands. Yet I’ve had conversations with a few people recently asking if franchising is something they could consider. There are many reasons for this, including plans to expand without having to employ more staff, creating a source of passive income and striving for a better work-life balance (taking care of ourselves is something, of course, I always champion).
If franchising your professional services business is something you want to explore, I’ll take you through some of the key things I’ve been asking my clients lately to help you decide if it could be for you.
Why do you want to franchise your business?
There’s no point in planning a franchise model if you’re not really sure why you want to do it. Naturally, there’s almost always an aim to increase your profits and, as a finance director, that’s something that’ll rank highly on the list. Yet it’s about more much than money – it’s about understanding what really matters to you.
First, we’ll sit down and talk. What are your professional and personal hopes? What are your goals? And what are the things you truly care about and enjoy doing? It’s only when your FD takes the time to listen to you can they really understand your aspirations to suggest a franchise approach that’s in line with your values and what you really want to achieve.
Can you franchise your business?
This is a big question for a professional service. For small businesses often you are your business, so as a business owner it becomes a little tricky to sell. If your business is only you, you’re what your clients are buying. So it’s less about the assets and equipment that make up your franchise potential but more about your brand and the ability to replicate what you do, your systems and your processes.
Here, franchising is a way of systemising what you do and teaching others to do it to your standards, allowing them to buy into your brand. That’s why it’s essential to get it right, as franchising comes with big risks if not done properly, ruining the brand you’ve worked so hard to build.
Have you put a franchise plan together?
Mitigating the risks of franchising any business model is crucial, but especially important for your professional service when you have your own brand to protect. Before you start out, we need to sit down and assess your situation before coming up with a clear plan.
You’ll need to demonstrate your value, so we’ll make sure all your financial records are up-to-date and accurate, proving you can show profitability and you’ve done due diligence to appeal to potential franchisees. Equally, you’ll also need an exit strategy (while it may seem far away, it needs to be part of your financial plan from day one). We’ll develop forecasts and scenarios for varied outcomes so you feel secure you know what could be heading your way. Of course, these forecasts need to be in place now for us to work out how many franchisees you need and what level of fees will work depending on different scenarios.
Do you know what support you should give your franchisees?
Franchising your professional services business needs to be handled carefully, especially when it’s you and your name at stake. Yet the benefits can be huge, increasing revenue, business prominence in the market and time for yourself and others, which will always remain one of my biggest values. It’s one of the key reasons I tell all my clients considering any type of franchise that caring for their franchisees must always remain high up on the list, no matter how far you are in the process.
Franchising is not simply a case of passing on your brand for others to take care of. To protect your business and yourself, you need to continue to share systems and show support, providing ongoing training as the franchise progresses and being there to listen. Taking care of those working for, with and alongside you always matters, no matter your business model.
Deciding whether or not to franchise your professional services business isn’t a choice to be taken lightly, or alone. I’m proud to be able to share my experiences as an FD with my clients to create a franchise plan, objectively assessing benefits and challenges and supporting them as someone who truly understands and cares about helping them to succeed in the way that’s right for them.
If you’re considering franchising your professional services business and would like a chat about it, you can use my Calendly link to book a slot in my diary to talk things through.