Introduction to Franchising

Posted by digiadmin on February 14, 2019

new franchise consultantChapter 1: Introduction to Franchising

FRANSAVE is proud to partner with Guidant Financial to provide you with the tools you need to fund your new business. From exploring financing options to obtaining expert guidance, the services provided by Guidant Financial are designed to help aspiring business owners get established and—ultimately—thrive.

Guidant’s Complete Guide to Buying a Franchise outlines what it means to be a franchise owner. We have broken down the guide into segments to give prospecting franchise owners an understanding of hidden costs, important documents, and the overall journey to franchise ownership. This introduction to the Guide is the first step.

The journey to becoming a business owner is exciting…but can be overwhelming at the same time. There are a variety of options and opportunities available to you – the world is your proverbial business oyster. This guide is designed to familiarize you with what it means to own a franchise, help you decide if being part of a franchise suits your goals and personality and take you through the ins-and-outs of the journey to franchise ownership.

 Introduction to Franchising

Don't be fooled into thinking that you have to start a business from scratch to be a business owner, or that you aren't an entrepreneur unless you go it alone. Being a franchise owner is an excellent way to achieve business ownership and feed your entrepreneurial spirit, without some of the risks and uncertainty associated with a start-up.

What is a Franchise?

The first and most important question we will address in this guide is what a franchise actually is. What makes it different from your typical startup or independent business?

A franchise is an arrangement where the owner of the brand and business model gives you the right to use said brand and business model (with all attending trademarks, products, systems, etc.) in exchange for money. In the franchise system, the owner is the franchisor and you are the franchisee.

Often, this is how a franchise comes to be: an entrepreneur starts an independent small business, and over time refines it into a successful and stable business model.  Let’s call this entrepreneur Alex. Alex realizes the efficacy of what she has built, and wants to expand it. She could do this by opening more branches herself, or she could sell her business model (and all attending perks) to another entrepreneur.

Sam wants to be his own boss, but doesn’t necessarily want to deal with the trial and error of starting his own business from scratch. He wants to use somebody’s business model that has already been proven, with a brand that has widespread recognition. When Sam purchases the right to use Alex's business model and brand, the franchise is born. Sam then opens a franchise location and runs his business according to the model that Alex developed. He gets to use a market-tested brand, marketing materials, business model, techniques and products. In this situation, a franchise agreement is a win-win for both Alex and Sam. Alex gets to build her brand and wealth by expanding through a franchisee, and Sam gets to become his own boss with a proven business model (and without the risk and uncertainty that can come with a startup).

For the use of her brand, Sam pays Alex a one-time franchise fee, and typically an annual percentage of revenue as a royalty. This payment structure differs with each franchise – we’ll cover the costs of franchise ownership in depth in Chapter 5.

The Difference Between Franchising, Chains & Licensing

So how does franchising differ from a chain or licensed business? The concepts are similar, but each has specific qualifiers that hold it apart from the other.

A chain is a group of identical businesses that use the same logo, products, marketing, etc. (just like a franchise) where each individual location is owned by the parent. This means that a location can have a store manager who runs day-to-day operations, but that person does not own the business. With a franchise, as we know, each location is owned by the individual.

Restaurants are the most common form of this, but not the only option. Costco and Walmart are chains: multiple locations, each owned by Costco or Walmart’s central business structure.

A licensed store has slightly more subtle differences. It is very similar to a franchise in that the brand owner (licensor) gives permission to the individual (licensee – are you sensing a theme here?) for the brand to be used and products to be sold, but the structure and fees associated differ widely. Typically, the licensor has little to no operational control of the licensee, and the licensee receives significantly less training from the brand. Additionally, there is typically no one-time fee upfront, like with a franchise. Instead, an ongoing licensing fee is typically assessed.

An excellent example of licensed stores are Starbucks that appear inside of other stores, like a Target or Safeway, often in the form of a big kiosk rather than a self-contained space. These mini-Starbucks still carry all of the same coffees, snacks and merchandise, but they are not held to the same standards as traditional Starbucks locations. Nor are the Target Starbucks baristas employees of Starbucks: they’re employed by Target.

The Pros and Cons of Franchise Ownership

Naturally, all business opportunities have their upsides and downsides. This list will help you make an informed decision on whether or not franchising is the right options for you.

The Pros of Franchise Ownership

  • Proven business model
    Alex has already gone through months or years of trial and error to refine her business model. Often, being a franchisee removes much of the risk inherent with a startup, because the franchisor has already made mistakes – and you get to reap the knowledge learned from those mistakes, without having to make them yourselves. (Of course, any type of business carries risk, franchises included. Franchises are not a magical, success-insured investment.)
  • Market-tested products or services
    Much like with the proven business model, the franchisor has already taken their product or service to market and made their mistakes. The product or service has already received feedback from the market – it’s already passed through the first few rounds of trial by fire. And again, you get to reap the rewards of those lessons, without having to experience it yourself.
  • Brand recognition
    One of the most difficult aspects of running a small business can be bringing customers in the door and getting the word out to your audience. With a franchise, often the brand is already nationally recognizable. One obvious example is Subway – everybody and their mother knows about Subway. Or a more recent example: Menchies. Your franchisor has already worked to build the brand you’ll be using, so you don’t have to.
  • Territory security
    When you purchase a franchise location, you also receive a specific geographic territory that is now sacrosanct. This means that your franchisor won’t sell another franchise location too close to yours – they don’t want their franchisees competing with one another for market share, and neither do you. You can even purchase multiple territories at once, if you want to expand your number of locations. Thus, you are assured of not having to compete with your fellow franchisees.
  • Marketing support
    Along with brand recognition, often the franchisor will provide marketing slogans, images, content and support with building your strategies and budget. Some franchisors even have national or international marketing campaigns that they run on behalf of all their locations.
  • Training program
    Training programs are typical within a franchise system, to give you a solid understanding of how the business model functions and what strategies are most successful for running a location.
  • Operational assistance
    In addition to the training system, many franchisors have a team dedicated to ongoing support for you and your location. They’ll answer your questions as they come up and assist with the many details that come with their franchise brand.
  • Built-in support system
    Last but not least, being a franchisee means you have a built-in support system of other franchisees. Often the brand will have online forums and annual conventions where franchisees can come together, answer questions, trade tips and tricks, etc.

The Cons of Franchise Ownership

  • Rules and regulations
    There are specific rules around how, when and where to operate your franchise location. These rules apply to every franchise owner and are in place to ensure the brand remains true and uniform. They restrict the franchisor’s freedom to do whatever he or she wishes.
  • Fees and royalties
    Purchasing your location can be expensive – even more so than buying an independent business or building your own. Franchisees also typically owe a percentage of revenue back to the franchisor, in the form of a royalty.
  • High start-up costs
    Outside of the franchise fee, the cost of actually getting your doors open can be very high. Typically, a franchisee is required to procure equipment and materials through the franchisor. This can occasionally be more expensive than if the franchisee had the freedom to choose a different supplier.Of course, it’s important for you to do your due diligence on any franchise you’re looking into. For you, some of these cons may be benefits, and vice versa.

Upcoming blogs to watch for:

  • Selecting the Right Franchise for You
  • The Best Franchise Brands for…
  • What Support to Expect from Your Franchisor
  • Understanding the Hidden Costs of Franchising
  • Understanding the Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD)
  • How to Finance Your Franchise Purchase
  • Choosing the Right Entity for Your Franchise
  • Franchise FAQs
Ready to Get Started? Contact Us

This information is not intended as an offer to sell, or the solicitation of an offer to buy, a franchise. It is for information purposes only. Currently, the following states regulate the offer and sale of franchises: California, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. If you are a resident of one of these states, we will not offer you a franchise unless and until we have complied with applicable pre-sale registration and disclosure requirements in your jurisdiction. Franchise offerings are made by Franchise Disclosure Document only.

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