Franchising is thriving but with more business employing the model, the need to stay ahead of the competition is more important than ever, says Ken Phipps
The global franchising industry today is diverse and heavily saturated. In fact, according to a 2018 report shared by Franchise Direct, there are more than 3,383 franchisors operating in the U.S. alone, and the global growth of these U.S. franchises is expected to continue in the foreseeable future.
Individuals are seeking franchise investments as opportunities to pursue their entrepreneurial goals, with many franchisees becoming multi-unit or sometimes even multi-brand franchisees.
Fortunately for the high demand for franchise investment opportunities, there are franchised brands participating in practically every industry and sub-sector of the business world today.
With more franchise brands available to consumers today, comes more competition for franchisors to battle to keep their brands on top in a booming market. Consumer trends and interests are constantly changing, especially as a result of technological advancements.
In light of this changing landscape and heightened competition, here are some tips for keeping your franchisees one step ahead of their competitors at all times.
Do your research
Napoleon Bonaparte once stated: “In today’s complex and fast-moving world, what we need even more than foresight or hindsight, is insight.” In order to stay competitive, you need to keep abreast of what your consumers want and what your competitors are doing.
This means conducting ongoing research to stay updated on the latest industry trends. To determine what you need to focus on with your staff, try out what your competitors are offering, have your own locations shopped, and attend trade shows and professional networking events.
Seek regular feedback from your consumers to determine what does and does not work from their perspectives.
The more you immerse yourself in learning everything you can about your industry and its audiences, the more knowledgeable you will be about new technologies and products available that can enhance your customers’ experiences beyond that of what your competitors are providing.
Be innovative, but don’t lose sight of the basics
By researching and monitoring what is trending in your industry on a regular basis, you can find new creative ways to appeal to your audiences in ways you have not before. The age of technology has resulted in major changes in the business world today.
And businesses all over the world are taking advantage of these changes as opportunities.
Competitive franchisors will prove the concept in advance and support their franchisees with technological advancements such as digital apps dedicated to deliver a powerful experience anytime, anywhere, and new programs to include in their business models.
Offering these assets to your franchisees will aid them in developing a defensible product against their competition. Even when your brand has a tried and true system that has worked flawlessly for decades, continue to look for fresh new ways to help your franchisees stand out further.
However, in the process of innovating, it is crucial that you don’t lose sight of the basics that made your brand valued by its customers in the first place.
As American entrepreneur Jim Rohn famously said, “Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying the basic fundamentals.”
From customer service to cleanliness of your locations, these are the “little things” that will undoubtedly remain important to your customers forever regardless of whatever new technology or other advancements you might bring to the table.
It is the responsibility of your franchisees to ensure that these basics remain at the forefront of their businesses and to continually train their staff members so they are empowered to always take care of a customer.
Never stop marketing
If your competition is out-marketing you and generating more buzz about their brand than you are for yours, that is the brand consumers will turn to. So, franchisees must constantly invest in marketing their business.
The job doesn’t stop after a grand opening; it’s only the beginning. So each time you bring a fresh new idea to the table that can help your brand stand out, make it known! Even when you are continuing your business model in the proven way you always have, remind consumers of how what you offer can benefit them in ways that are unique to your brand.
This constant promotion of your brand needs to occur at both the corporate and the franchisee level.
Emphasize to your franchisees that no brand can sell itself, and encourage them to use their local knowledge to determine how best to reach their audiences to further promote their particular franchise location.
Franchisees should be heavily involved and active in their local communities, attending events and professional meetings whenever possible to not only learn more about what their communities want and need, but to also keep the name of your brand top of mind.
The franchise industry has been around and has continued to grow for decades now, and this growth does not appear to be slowing down any time soon as the economy continues to thrive. Do not let your brand fall to the bottom as new competitors enter the market.
Staying ahead of the competition is all about turning research on your audiences into action, learning what your customers and your franchisees need to stay ahead and then making the necessary investments to provide them with that. Take these proactive steps to ensure that your franchisees take advantage of new opportunities that come with a growing industry so that they can rise to the top.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ken Phipps is Director of Global Franchise Development for Gold’s Gym Franchising LLC. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 214-296-5026
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