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Five different kinds of franchise prospect; each of which could make an excellent addition to your growing network
After more than 40 years in franchising, Neighborly’s seen it all. And what we’ve learned throughout the evolution of our franchise system is that every franchise prospect – regardless of their background – brings something unique and beneficial to the table…if you know how to work with them.
Here are five of the most qualified categories of prospects, what they can offer your business, the unique challenges and opportunities they present, and how you can support them to become successful franchise owners.
First, there are those looking to launch their second careers. Perhaps they have grown tired of climbing the corporate ladder, or they’ve reached retirement age but aren’t ready to sit on the sidelines.
In either case, they very likely possess a variety of skill sets they may not even realize give them the tools they need to be a successful franchise owner. Corporate professionals understand how to follow a model and manage teams of people – talents which are perfectly suited for franchise ownership.
However, one of the roadblocks this audience faces is coming into the realm of franchising well versed in some areas like managing finances but lacking in experience with other spaces such as marketing efforts or running payroll. It is important to note that with the right training system in place, passion and the willingness to learn can carry these individuals a long way.
“Entrepreneurs have grit but need even more assurance to buy into trusting and adhering to your franchise system”
Next, we have what I like to refer to as the investors crowd. These people are your entrepreneurial stakeholders looking to broaden their portfolios after previously proving their business acumen through the ownership of other businesses.
Their extensive business profile sets them up to be natural-born leaders, with years of management experience to help them navigate the launch of a new business endeavor with increased ease.
This is the candidate who comes to your franchise looking for the opportunity to build an empire, which means they’ll be eager to support your brand’s overall growth goals as they pursue expansion and diversification.
Of course, the risk here is that the individual’s drive for personal portfolio growth may outweigh their passion for your brand. They may not be as involved in the day-today operations, and depending on your business model, that could be detrimental to the success of the individual franchise locations.
As you learn more about the candidate throughout the process of vetting them, you should look out for indicators not only of how their experience will benefit them as a franchise owner with your business, but also what their dedication level to your particular brand might be. If your system is not yet scalable for a less hands-on owner, you might want to address that.
Individuals who come to franchise development through conversions have the unique ability to build upon the foundation they’ve already established within their community.
Targeting this group can be an especially effective strategy for brands looking to enter new markets as it gives you access to an already established client base, and it gives the independent operator a chance to become part of a larger, more established brand rather than suddenly having to compete against a larger, more well-known and better funded brand.
Issues you may run into with conversion franchise owners is that they simply struggle with making the transition from the way they run their hand-built business to abiding by your franchise system. Once again, having a proven, effective system in place can reduce any uneasiness the owner has about adopting your practices.
Military veterans are often some of the most qualified prospects you will find because military training gives them the perfect mix of discipline, self-sacrifice, determination and grit needed to run a successful business.
They are used to following procedures and systems and understand the importance of both. They are not afraid of hard work and often excel at setting goals and creating plans and strategies to carry those goals through to completion. Investing in these individuals can pay off in numerous ways.
On the other hand, military veterans are used to daily instruction. A challenge they often have to overcome in franchising is learning how to become comfortable in their ability to lead without commanded protocols on a daily basis. Fortunately, the leadership abilities they’ve developed typically help them overcome this challenge, and they embrace “being their own boss” once they have the right training to execute on that vision.
Any person who has the drive to build a business from the ground up such as a startup, will understand the work it takes to create and support a franchise branch. These people are entrepreneurs who are comfortable taking calculated risks with the goal being to grow and maintain a successful business.
Startups have the benefit of their passion and determination behind their ability to put everything into their business. Their hard work comes from experience starting at the bottom, oftentimes on a shoestring budget, so their financial literacy is also in check.
Something to look out for when targeting startups is making sure you can provide them with detailed instructions that must be followed to support your company’s operation. Entrepreneurs have grit but need even more assurance to buy into trusting and adhering to your franchise system.
While the challenges these audiences face differ, each type of prospect offers unique abilities that can add exponential value to your company’s franchising efforts. In order to support them amidst their difficulty, in true franchising fashion, you need a system that will be able to serve them all despite their differing needs.
Trying to address each audience individually is not a very practical way to build a scalable business strong enough to support change over time. The key to being able to support each prospective target is by implementing a conventional system that can be easily followed no matter what background the franchisee comes from, while also withstanding change over time. The success of a franchise owner is only as good as the system behind it.
Brad Stevenson is chief development officer for Neighborly. In this role as a key member of the organization’s growth team, Brad is a driving force behind developing and implementing Neighborly’s aggressive strategic initiatives for North American franchise development
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