3 Franchise Methodologies: Lessons For The Independent Business Owner

As a current or future independent business owner, you may have considered the path of a franchise. Our intent with this article is not to weigh the countless pros and cons of being a franchise owner – that’s a personal decision that rests ultimately within you. At the same time, we do want to offer insight to those small business owners who have decided to forgo the franchise path. You have made a conscious decision to create your own brand and to develop your own business model. We admire your spirit and encourage you to learn the following 3 Franchise Methodologies as you work to grow your business:

1. Do you have standardized products and processes?

This is a significant strength for strong franchises. They offer a consistent method – or process – to accomplish a given job. For example at McDonalds, regardless of the location, the Big Mac is cooked a certain way, specific sauces are put on it, and it’s packaged in a predetermined wrapper. Or, if you order a Mocha Latte from Starbucks in Asheville, NC and order the same beverage from a Starbucks in Tulsa, OK – they should taste identical. Not only does the product have uniformity, but the process does as well. The “way” a ServPro franchise in FL assesses and cleans a home after water damage is the same process being applied by a ServPro franchise in AL.

Typically, the franchise has detailed written guides to follow relative to products and processes. For companies with multiple locations and a larger number of employees, this can provide consistency for the brand. We’d encourage you to assess your consistency and take steps to standardize products and processes.

2. Do you have a plan to strengthen your purchasing power?

Some franchises use their size to make bulk purchases and/or to negotiate competitive rates for products and services. This puts them at an advantage when competing against a small business owner who has little to no purchasing power. For example, a Quizno’s franchise may be able to purchase meats and condiments cheaper than a hometown sandwich shop. In addition, that same Quizno’s may have access to cheaper equipment due to the buying power of the larger franchise. How about a business that is fully service-oriented like an Allstate Insurance Agency. An Allstate franchise has access to cheaper office equipment and leverages the size of the franchise to do the build-out of the building. Bottom line: there’s power in volume.

So as a small business owner, you have to figure out how you can tap in to better purchasing options. Have you tried to aggressively negotiate with your vendors? Have you considered partnering with other businesses in your area to make larger, bulk purchases? The math is simple: if you can produce your product or service at a cheaper rate, you can be more competitive in your particular market.

3. How are you creating brand awareness?

This may be one of the primary strengths of a franchise operation – name recognition. Think about these brands: McDonalds, Chick Fila, Subway, Liberty Tax, Dollar Store, Ace Hardware, Gold’s Gym, the UPS Store… The list goes on and on. These names are branded on to the brains of America. These names mean something – they conjure up images and experiences – they create expectations. Franchise owners expect healthy advertising and strong brand recognitions in return for a portion of their revenues. The best franchises are the ones with robust marketing and brand recognition programs.

You simply must give thought to your company’s brand. What does it mean in the eyes of your customers? Are you giving your brand enough exposure? Have you mastered #1 and #2 above – as they create the consistency and foundation for a quality brand? We’re not suggesting you go on an advertising frenzy – but you do need to compete with the franchises that surround you!

As it relates to franchise or no franchise, BossStart doesn’t advocate one direction or the other. We just want our readers to keep the entrepreneurial spirit alive. There are proven components of franchise operations that are worthy of exploration.  As you run your business, take a look at the surrounding market place and learn as much as you can!

About the Author: Jacob Ballard

Jacob is an Entrepreneur. He is the Co-Founder of BossStart and also operates the web-based business iWebXpert.com. He has a degree in Marketing from USF in Tampa, FL. Jacob uses his experience from founding numerous businesses to enhance the entrepreneurial adventures of BossStart readers.

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