I truly admire the small businesses of the world. The local shops run by Mom and Pop who had a passion for something and turned it into their dream. Trending lately, people love to support these local businesses and give props to those creative individuals who started with nothing and worked their way up. For some business owners, the stable success of your small business is great, but you find yourself wanting more. Once you’ve got your small business running, you may be thinking to yourself what’s next? or how can I grow from this? The good news is that there are a variety of ways you can raise the ceiling on your business success, but today I want to talk about one route: franchising your business.
Let me start you off with a grain of salt: franchising is not for every business. But if you have a few years of experience under your belt that have led to a proven and easily-duplicatable business model, it could be the option for your business. But before you begin the application process, we want to assist you in determining if this is truly the best route for your business. Below is a quick series of questions for you to ask yourself to help you figure out if you should move forward with franchising your business:
1) How long has your business been open?
There is no magic number with this answer, but, generally speaking, the longer your business has been open, the more prepared you will be to franchise. That goes with the disclaimer that you’ve jumped through all the hoops of your daily operations and have developed a fail-proof system for running your business on both a macro and micro level. It is possible that a business that has only been open for two years is more ready to franchise than one that has been open for ten or more years if they’ve solidified and simplified their business process better than the veteran business. But to air on the edge of safety, just know you’ll want to have experienced as much as possible before franchising, and, simply put, that comes with time.
2) Have you already opened multiple locations for your business?
This is not a requisite for franchising, but similar to the question above, it all comes down to experience. Opening a second location is a great trial-run for franchising your business because it forces you to duplicate your process, which is what you will be doing with franchising. It allows you to think through the process of what needs to be carried over to the new location and what could use simplifying. Ultimately, this will be the true test for if your business can make it or break it in the franchising industry.
3) Have people contacted you about opportunities to become a franchisee for your business?
If people have come to your business, experienced it, LOVED it, and taken the opportunity to ask you about how to get in on your business, chances are good that you’re a prime candidate for franchising your business. One of the toughest parts of franchising is getting quality franchisees in the door. This will take some serious effort on your end searching them out and securing them. If they’re already banging down your door asking for a piece of the pie, you’ve already got a selection to choose from. But allow me to throw in the disclaimer though that just because people love your product doesn’t mean they will make a great franchisee. As tempting as it is to hire the first potential franchisee that wants to get in, you will want to thoroughly vet any potential prospects before making a well-informed decision. But it is encouraging to have people who are already passionate about your business wanting to join your operation.
4) Have you created an in-depth Operations Manual?
Some of you have potentially never even heard of an Operations Manual. If you find that you are one of these folks – do not despair. But it does potentially mean that there are more ways you can still prepare your business before you’re ready to franchise. An Operations Manual is the all-encompassing document on how to run a location of your business. It includes every topic imaginable: selecting an appropriate location for the business, hiring employees, approved suppliers, what inventory you should keep on hand, and everything in between. This is not a document that you should attempt to draft on your own. Before drafting an Operations Manual, you should contact a business professional who is experienced in documenting operations systems to assess your business and potentially help you draft the document.
How did you do with our questionnaire? Even if you answered “no” to a lot of these questions, that doesn’t necessarily mean that franchising isn’t right for your business. It just isn’t right for your business yet. With a bit of assistance from professionals who are well-versed in business franchising and a bit of organization and planning on your end, your business could be primed and ready for franchising quicker than you think.