Guest blog written by Nick Powills, CFE
Chief Brand Strategist of No Limit Agency
In today’s competitive franchise marketplace, brands frequently struggle to identify true points of differentiation. There are a million self-serve yogurt brands, sandwich concepts, and pizza shops – but even with a wide variety of brand familiarity, one characteristic determines the good from the great– culture. Culture is the true x-factor which prospects should desire. And then everything else.
When searching for the right brand, prospects typically identify a similar path to decision:
1) Do I believe in and love the product or service?
2) Is my territory available for growth?
3) Can I make money?
4) Do I appreciate the leadership?
Each of these points is equally valuable, yet all are secondary to the cultural fit. When a cultural match is made, the x-factor goes into effect, which can ultimately determine your success. Passion leads to success, and if you believe in the missions, visions, and values of a brand, the rest is as simple as following the proven franchise model in place.
Opening a franchise is not as simple as signing a franchise agreement, going through quick training, opening your doors and making money. It is far more complex than that. If you are looking for the get-rich-quick franchising opportunity, search the Internet for unicorns. You are likely to get the same result.
The primary reason culture is the x-factor in franchising is because you will need to rely on your belief in the brand come challenging times – and every business owner has them. Even if your franchise surpassed your expectations in your first year, you will still be faced with growing pains, such as the scarcity of great employees to hire when you scale up. However, if you admire the culture of corporate, then you can respect the fact that they have “been there, done that.” By that I mean you have a team of people who completely understand the ups and downs you will experience.
Culture doesn’t stop at corporate but rather continues into the franchise system. When exploring the right brand fit for you, do you homework. Talk with as many franchisees as you can. Understand their experiences as well as why they picked the brand and whether or not they would do it again. This will provide you with a good glimpse of the believers of the brand – as they all said, “Yes, I am interested in investing my life savings into this brand.”
When conducting due diligence, sure, you want to hear the challenges faced and negative situations encountered. If you are going into a brand for the right reasons, you are going into it because you want to be at the top – or within the top 10 percent of all franchisees. Thus, talking with others in the system who are model franchisees and most successful, this trumps talking with those people who may be sour or negative. The reality is, in any business – even the best businesses in the world (including whatever is No. 1 in your book) – 30 percent of the system will be challenged. It’s simply the 70/30 rule.
The difference between good and great in franchising is culture – but even more so, it’s the people that make up that culture. People write checks. People sell brands. Make sure you relate to those who are paving the way for success for you. The more franchisees who believe in the company, the bigger the crowd that is rallying to support the brand’s goals. The stronger the crowd, the better the core values will be displayed to the consumer. The more the consumer believes in your mission, the more referrals you will get and more money you will make.
Great businesses are built around great people. After loving the product or service, knowing the right territory is available, believing you can make money, and trusting the leadership – make sure you believe in the culture. You will be grateful for those people when you need a hand as you journey through the wonderful path of franchising.
For information on starting your own TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® franchise location and the performance information available to prospective owners, click here.