Are you considering buying a franchise but are slightly trepidatious about exactly how they work and what you can get out of them? That’s not surprising. There are some differences in the way franchises work to other businesses. But it doesn’t have to be scary or confusing.
Tens of thousands of people across the UK run successful franchise businesses, drawn to them by the established business model, the additional support, and the sense of being part of a wider organisation – but still with added benefits of being your own boss and having a greater degree of freedom.
If you are thinking about buying into a franchise, then it always helps to get tips and advice from those who have been there and done that. To give you a head start, we asked some of our franchisees to provide their top tips on running a digital marketing franchise based on their own experiences.
Networking is important
Ian Watson, the local it’seeze consultant for Twickenham, talks about the importance of networking. He says: “The sooner you get out there and meet lots of people, the sooner you will start to see referrals coming in.”
On a similar theme, it’seeze consultant for Horsham, John Wright adds: “Start building your network as soon as possible, through both in-person networking activities and social media channels such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. I have found that having a wide and diverse network not only allows me to build my business through referrals, it also means I have someone to turn to when I, or one of my customers, needs a service that I (or they) don’t provide.”
There is a wealth of experience out there. All you have to do is tap into it. Most franchisees are more than happy to share their knowledge. After all, you are all on the same team. And a stronger franchise business is better for everyone involved.
Do your research
It’s important not to jump into anything. Yes, you will have support and assistance from the franchise owners, but it is up to you to know what you are getting into.
Local it’seeze consultant for Northampton, Steve Axtell, says that “the best advice would be do your research. Don’t just think about what you want to do, think about what you want out of it. Do you want to hold stock? Do you want to work in an office environment? Do you want rigid structure or flexibility? There are loads of questions that you could ask yourself and once you have narrowed it down that should guide you to the type of business that you want to run.”
It’s worth spending some time thinking about all of the above and trying to establish exactly what it is you want to do with your business. The more information you can get, the better it is. This is something that it’seeze consultant for Knutsford, Gemma Green, agrees with. Talking about her own experience, she said: “Speak to an existing franchisee as they can give you a real insight into how the business model works.”
It’s good advice and something we really recommend before making any decision. Understand your market, know your numbers, and where you are going to get your clients from.
Speak to the right people
Franchisors often go out of their way to help you find out as much as possible. They typically organise meet and greet sessions that give you the chance to talk to the right people. The Discovery Day organised by the team here at it’seeze franchise gives you the chance to do just that. It’s an opportunity to ask questions and get a better feel for what you’re about to embark upon. It’s a great way to find out more about everything, from finances to operations. Get in touch with our team to book your Discovery Day.
John Wright is a big fan. He says that you should “use your Discovery Day to gain as much information as possible, and also speak to a couple of existing franchisees after you have attended it, to make sure that an it’seeze franchise is the right fit for you. And if you aren’t sure what information you should be looking for (after all, we don’t know what we don’t know) I find asking ‘if there was one question I should be asking you, what would it be?’ overcomes that problem!”
He goes on to say: “To quote BNI founder Dr. Ivan Misner “do six things a thousand times; not a thousand things six times“. When it comes to prospecting for new customers, and other activities needed in order to grow a business, it’s so tempting to try many different strategies and activities. The result is that very few, if any, are done consistently enough to get good results. Once you have found the ones that work best for you, do them regularly and consistently, and avoid getting distracted by the ‘new best thing’.”
As you can see, much of the advice from our franchisees tends to be along the same lines. Make the right connections, open up dialogues, and listen to what people have to say. Don’t think you know it all before you start as this is a sure-fire way to go wrong. Ask the right questions and listen carefully to the answers.
To finish, we’ll leave you with one last quote from our franchisee John Wright. Speaking about his experience, he says: “I did a lot of research before taking on an it’seeze franchise, and I expected highs and lows, as any new business owner should expect. At the time I felt I had made the right decision, and four years on I now know it was the right decision.”
Joining a franchise can be a great way to start your own enterprise. You’ll get all the help and support you need, and having the resource of people who have already been in your shoes can be invaluable. If you’re thinking about starting a web design franchise, get in touch and we will be more than happy to put you in contact with the right people. After all, it’s a big part of what we do. Our door is always open to prospective franchisees.
For more information visit; www.theafa.org.uk/members/itseeze
Call Alex on 01803 401 060 or 07588 903464