What you get when you buy a franchise?

When a franchisee buys into a network they often think they are buying a business.

Not a bit of it!

They, in actual fact, are buying three things:

  • The right to use a brand
  • Access to some tried and tested systems and process and the training to use them
  • A product that should deliver a genuine difference

I’ve been lucky enough to work with three different franchisors and their franchisees this week. All at different stages of development but, I have to say, three excellent networks who each deliver against the three promises I threw into the melting pot earlier.

The first has developed an excellent brand in its field over the past few years or so. Now with 40 odd (that’s 41 or 42, not 40 strange) franchisees in the network they have reached that critical point where the network is generating lots of customers and new franchisees, too… in short, the business has developed some momentum.

They’ve also done some work on their brand, updating their logo and doing some work on why customers buy their service so they can train their new franchisees to duplicate this effort.

The second franchisor is well established and has all three elements in abundance. I was particularly struck this week when I was working with a group of franchisees who had been in the network for three months or so. One of the things that was beginning to happen was that they had to actually do some work(!) delivering the product, rather than concentrating exclusively on winning new customers.

When I pointed out to them that none had joined the network to do more ‘product’ there was an immediate nodding of heads and renewed focus on the marketing systems.

Finally, I was working with a relatively new franchisor who has a genuine different telecoms product. Here’s just one example of how they are competing with the big boys. Did you know that at BT Business Calling Plan caps eligible call fees to UK landlines at no more than 10p per call?

Here’s the line from the BT website:
Most UK landline-to-landline call costs are capped at just 10p for up an hour.

The thing is you have to read the small print very carefully. For example, some of the small print says:

Set-up fees apply below the cap

The set up fee mentioned is a 2p connection charge. That’s 2p you pay to BT for zero minutes worth of conversation, which actually makes calls below three minutes in duration very, very expensive compared to other providers, such as this franchisor.

It’s almost Bransonesque in its approach… the little guys taking on the big guys to get a better deal and a better product.

I have to say, at the risk of sounding terribly smug, this week has been a good week in franchising.

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