A key benefit of owning a franchise is the support you receive from your brand. However, it should come as no surprise that not all franchise brands are created equally, and the level of support can vary widely. Here we will cover the four areas of support you should expect from a ‘typical’ franchise.
Understanding the Level of Support from Your Franchisor
One reason that individuals look into franchising instead of an independent business is the support from the corporate team. A franchisee has an entire network of professionals and fellow franchisees to lean on and to help solve problems, as well as a robust structure in place to specifically help them succeed.
However, the level of support can vary greatly from brand to brand. What type of support should you expect, and how can you know what your brand will provide? The bottom line here is that if your contract with the franchise doesn’t mention a certain element of support, you’re not likely to receive it. However, there are some basics that most franchises will provide for their franchisees. After all, your franchise is (almost) as invested in your success as you are — they’re on your side!
These support elements fall into four main categories: location, initial training, marketing and continuing education.
For a franchise with a brick-and-mortar location, the selection and development of your site is one of the most important (and complex) elements. A typical franchisor will provide a list of suggestions and/or requirements, so you know what to look for. Using a local real estate agent for this step may also be helpful, as they’re familiar with the area and can cut down on search time. Once you’ve found a site, your franchisor will likely need to approve it.
Building support might include construction instruction and sources for each physical part of your space. Some may even help with the logistics of ordering and delivering those elements. If the idea of paint chips and feng shui makes you break out in a cold sweat, never fear: your franchise has this covered. They’ll help you match their color, signage, equipment and décor standards.
Initial Training Support
The initial training often includes a combination of coursework and on-the-job training. It can take days or weeks, depending on the depth of the training and the complexity of the business. This training will cover the operations of your franchise, from start to finish — it’s everything you need to know to run the business from day one. Remember, your franchisor wants you to succeed. Part of that is making sure you can hit the ground running when you open.
Many franchisors hold training at headquarters, and you’re typically responsible for the cost of travel and lodging. However, some brands also make use of at-home modules. Sometimes a franchisor will send an experienced member of their team to assist you the first few days of operating your location, to ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible.
Your opening day is not your franchisor’s first rodeo. Support from your brand will typically include a full marketing plan for the first few months of operation, from a grand opening promotion, to advertising, and to promotional material. It’s common for franchisees to contribute to a marketing and advertising fund used to support marketing efforts for the entire franchise. This means you do not need to come up with your own advertising plan or marketing materials; your franchisor has that taken care of for you.
In fact, franchisors typically keep a tight rein on their brand. With so many different franchisees all relying on the same brand, any new promotional material you develop will need to be approved by the franchisor before it sees the light of day.
Continuing Education Support
This aspect of support covers issues like recruiting and retaining employees, a range of office support, new product training, and employee training. Some brands even have an organized network of franchisees that can lean on each other to share tips and tricks. An annual convention where franchisees can connect with each other and reconnect with brand staff are also an excellent resource offered by many franchisors.
Remember, it’s important to carefully look through your contract (preferably with an experienced professional). If an element of support that you require isn’t listed, it likely won’t be provided. Have a frank conversation with any brand you’re looking into to make sure you have a solid understanding of what to expect.