Have a better mousetrap but scared to death that the world is actually beating a path to your door? Trouble sleeping at night wondering who will knock off your operation first? Certain that yours is the next, if only you could get the capital? Tired of reading about companies and thinking, I have a better franchise concept than that company?
Maybe you, too, should consider franchising.
In general, companies decide to begin franchising for one of three reasons; lack of money, people or time.
The primary barrier to expansion that today’s entrepreneur faces is lack of capital and franchising allows companies to expand without the risk of debt or the cost of equity. Since franchisees provide the initial investment at the unit level, franchising allows for expansion with minimal capital investment on the part of the franchisor. In addition, since it’s the franchisee, and not the franchisor, who signs the lease and commits to various service contracts, franchising allows for expansion with virtually no contingent liability, thus greatly reducing a franchisor’s risk.
The second barrier to expansion is finding and retaining good unit managers. All too often, a business owner spends months looking for and training a new manager only to see that manager leave-or worse yet, get hired away by a competitor.
Franchising allows entrepreneurs to overcome many of these problems by substituting a motivated franchisee for a unit manager. Interestingly enough, since the franchisee has both an investment in the unit and a stake in the profits, unit performance will often improve and since a franchisor’s income is based on the franchisee’s gross sales and not profitability monitoring unit level expenses becomes significantly less cumbersome.
Finally, opening another location takes time. Hunt for sites. Negotiate leases. Arrange for design and build-out. Secure financing. Hire and train staff. Purchase equipment and inventory. The end result is that the number of units you can open in any given period of time is limited by the amount of time it takes to do it properly.
For companies with too little time (or too little staff), franchising is often the fastest way to grow. That is because it’s the franchisee who performs most of these growth tasks. The franchisor provides the guidance, of course, but the franchisee does the legwork. Thus franchising not only allows the franchisor financial leverage, but it allows him to leverage his resources as well.