My HMO Journey: No rest for the wicked as we approach...
IS AGE A BARRIER TO BUYING A FRANCHISE?
I have recruited Franchise Owners from their late twenties into their early sixties and frankly age is simply not an issue.
However, what is important is the ability to perform - to have the energy, drive and ambition to give 100% to the running of a business.
Businesses do not fail because the business owner is 'too old' nor do they succeed simply because the owner is perceived to be a 'young stallion'!
Successful franchising is a marriage of two parties - with the franchisor bringing brand, system, training, marketing, on-going support to the relationship and the Franchise Owner contributing their own business skills, ambition and desire and a genuine willingness to 'work the system'.
There is a school of thought that says those prospective Franchise Owners of more mature years are more willing to follow the system and work in tandem with the franchisor then the young prospects.
Age brings with it certain advantages - yes experience and yes maturity but also maybe a sense of purpose and a sense of stability - an understanding that this franchise purchase may be their last major 'business/job' decision - so they better make it work!
When recruiting prospective Franchise Owners I genuinely don't look at age - for our four brands - Recognition Express, The ZipYard, Kall Kwik and ComputerXplorers - I'm looking for 'people' people, good organisers, strong communicators and above all people with passion - and frankly I can find all of these attributes in a 60 year old as much as in a 30 year old
HOW CAN YOU JUDGE IF A FRANCHISE IS RESILIENT?
As with anything in life it is never easy to predict the future and no business is 'guaranteed'.
However, I’ve put together 10 steps you can take to evaluate the robustness of a Franchisor and their business
# If they are members of the bfa then the franchise will have undergone rigorous checks # If the business has been going for a number of years then there is a better chance that they have been through economic turmoil's # Look at the level and quality of support from the Franchisor - do they proactively cover marketing, training, operations, finance as the key aspects of any business?
# Check that the Franchisor has real support people - not just 'telephone support'
# Does the business have multiple income streams? - or is it reliant on one product or service?
# Does the Franchisor make most of their money through on-going royalties based on franchisee performance (my favoured) or mainly through recruiting new franchisees?
# Does the Franchisor have a history and reputation for introducing new products to their network?
# Ask for the last 3 years accounts of the Franchisor # Speak to a selection of franchisees # Ask the following - do you feel the industry is robust? Is there a big enough market in your territory? Can this franchise successfully access the market?
WHAT SUPPORT SHOULD A GOOD FRANCHISOR PROVIDE?
As I’ve often said franchising is a marriage – where both parties contribute to a common goal.
The Franchise Owner will bring drive, ambition, hard work, focus and their own business skill set.
The Franchisor will contribute, amongst other things, a proven business system, training, marketing and on-going support.
Different franchisors deliver on-going support in different ways – this is how we do it at Recognition Express, ComputerXplorers, Kall Kwik and The ZipYard!
Firstly we have people who specialise in the key business areas – either directly employed or services we pay for on behalf of our Franchise Owners.
So all the key areas of marketing, sales, business planning, finance, procurement, curriculum development, retail management and training are covered in-house.
Specific areas of web development and hosting, e-commerce, PR, telesales, telemarketing and contact management systems are run by our specialist support companies.
Additionally, we also own a 6,000 sq, ft, production and warehousing company which services the manufacturing needs of our Recognition Express Franchise Owners.
Once you have the structure in place then it is about actually delivering on-going support and this will include:
- Weekly e-mail news updates.
- Monthly hard copy bulletins.
- Additional bulletins as news/innovations dictate.
- Telephone support on-tap.
- Network Meetings – at least twice a year – open to all Franchise Owners.
- Conference every two years.
- On-site visits from various team members - marketing, production, finance and business development personnel.
In addition to the above I personally visit Franchise Owners every week – where we cover anything from a general catch-up to full Business Planning.