Franchises: Marketing On Others’ Coattails

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Photo by Terry Johnston

Owning a franchise is the easiest way to start your business fast. The business name has (hopefully) been well-marketed. People have already experienced the franchise elsewhere in the their travels. You already have suppliers lined up, a well-considered marketing strategy pre-authored, marketing materials – everything to make owning a business turnkey. So what’s the downside?

Franchises are a two-way street. You get the benefit of experience, mentoring, and training. But you also get the restrictions of ensuring compliance with the franchise branding regulations. For example, you may have to sell products that you don’t want to, open hours that are inconvenient, use more-expensive suppliers, and spend more on advertising that you can afford. It also limits your creativity – you must operate within others’ rules or risk losing your franchise (and your investment).  Your franchise must reflect well on all the other franchises – since your image can potentially tarnish other franchises – the parent company will spend time and money policing your business.

Franchises require a large initial investment. The companies selling franchises want their money up-front (that’s one of the ways they make their money). The investment is for their best practice training and consultations which can be a great education if you haven’t already done your homework on how to own a business.

If you don’t have the funds, but you have the desire to start a franchise-like business, then get a mentor. Learn everything you can before you open the door for customers. Develop a marketing plan that will attract your ideal customers and that positions your business as distinct from any existing or future (especially franchise) businesses.

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