Want to Turn Your Business Into a Franchise? Here’s How to Get Started

Franchising a business isn’t rocket science. Jorge Wieneke, president of theAssociation of the Filipino Franchisers, Inc. (AFFI), shares important insights to help you assess if you're ready to expand your business into a franchise.

You’ve taken the plunge and invested your hard-earned cash into a thriving business. You’ve learned the ropes as an entrepreneur, weathered the highs and lows of managing an MSME, and maybe even mastered the art of being your own boss. And now, you feel that it’s time to grow your business even further through franchising.

Here’s how to get started.

Ask yourself: Are you ready?

Assess if your current business is ready for expansion. Jorge Wieneke, president of theAssociation of the Filipino Franchisers, Inc. (AFFI), advises asking yourself this important question: Are people asking for a franchise from you?

Look back on the past year and review if there have been inquiries if you are franchising your business. Go over past emails, text messages, or any other form of correspondence for these kinds of questions. Ask your staff if there have been customers who asked if your business is open for franchising.

The second question to ask yourself is if you are ready to commit more time and effort into a franchise business. Franchising a business goes beyond just monitoring your existing business; it also means setting aside time to manage and guide your potential franchisees .

Starting a franchise operation means that you are open to letting others help you grow your business. Your role as franchisor is to make sure that your brand stays strong and quality standards are maintained and even exceeded.

Update your business plan.

Revise your business plan to include your franchising business plan. A franchising business modelincludes the usual components of a typical business plan, such as:

Generally, a franchising business model contains information on what the franchisor will provide a franchisee in terms of rights, trademarks, business processes and operational systems, trainings, and other kinds of support.

Develop a franchising business plan that outlines your company’s growth from when you started it, including your plans for the next five years. This will provide potential franchisees a better idea of your franchise business.

Lastly, your franchising business plan must include a franchise operations manual and training program to ensure a standardized model for your franchisees to follow. This will guide your franchisee through the business’ operations, set quality standards, management policies, and best practices; and guarantee that customers will experience your product or service consistently regardless of location.

Find a mentor.

Finding an experienced mentor who has been in the franchising business for a long time will help you immensely as you set up your own. They will be able to share insights from their own learnings, as well as provide informed advice when you face challenges.

Attend franchising seminars and join franchising organizations. These not only present good networking opportunities and clue you in on the best franchising ideas, tips, and strategies; they also expose you to potential mentors in the franchising business in the Philippines. One such group is the Association of the Filipino Franchisers, Inc. (AFFI), one of the country’s most trusted business organizations that aim to promote responsible franchise business ownership for micro, small, and medium enterprises.

Prepare your legal documents.

Once you decide to expand your business into a franchise, you will need to create a franchise agreement or contract for your franchisees. A franchise agreement protects both the franchisor and the franchisee as it maps out all the responsibilities and expectations between all parties involved. Aside from the franchising business model, the agreement or contract can include financing options (should you offer potential franchisees any), site or location assistance, and others.

Strengthen your brand.

Now that you’ve set up your franchise business, the next most important step is to strengthen your brand even further. Wieneke points out the importance of being unique. There are three differentiators you must focus on to help create a distinctive brand. “First is the size; second, the packaging; and third, the formula,” he enumerates. “You have to be different,” he stresses, pointing out the importance of standing out and being memorable in a sea of products and services out in the market.

Make sure that your product or service offers more bang for the buck, as many customers expect to always get value for their money. “[Your brand’s] unique selling proposition and differentiator are the keys,” says Wieneke. Once you are able to identify these, “You will be okay.”

Promote your franchise.

Create a marketing plan about your business expansion, that you are now offering franchising. Utilize social networking sites such as Facebook and Instagram, and have marketing collaterals such as flyers and brochures made to let the public know about your franchise business. Grow your network by nurturing your connections. Don’t be shy in asking your friends and acquaintances to spread the word about your business.

JC Martinez of EC Gas advises creating a marketing plan that includes local events and activities as well, in particular for places where your franchisee is located. Work together with your current or potential franchisees in researching about possible marketing points that you can explore.

Choose well.

Ultimately, your franchise business will attract potential franchisees, and your next important decision to make will be on which ones to accept. It helps to have a screening process in place — after all, the right franchisees will be representing your brand, and hopefully help you grow it even more.

List your qualifications for an ideal franchisee. Set parameters on the kind of relationship you envision between you and your franchisees. Finding a franchisee with whom you have similar philosophies and values will create a more fruitful and harmonious relationship that can result in the continuous growth of your brand.

“Businesses are like relationships, like marriage. There’s a honeymoon phase,” says Martinez. When it’s new, it’s exciting, but after a while, the novelty fades. “But if you want a long one, loving your partner or your business is an active effort,” he points out.

Once you’ve set up and expanded your business into a franchise, be patient. The return on your investment varies, depending on the kind of product or service you offer. “[The ROI] is one year and six months for a cart and kiosk business, while it takes three to five years for a restaurant,” says Wieneke.

It may seem like a lot of work to turn your business into a franchise; but the rewards you’ll reap are definitely worth it. As Wieneke wisely puts it, “Franchising is a powerful tool to level up your business and to expand your business.”

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