COMMON CHALLENGES FACED BY NEW FRANCHISEES AND HOW TO MITIGATE THEM
Becoming a franchisee means buying into a business opportunity that comes with established brand recognition, tried and tested methods, and other helpful supports. Still, while some elements of starting a franchise business are ready to go right out of the box, that doesn’t always make the whole thing easy. Like any new business, launching a new franchise is hard work. What’s more, most new owners are likely to meet at least one or two speed bumps on the road to franchise success.
If your fledgling franchise business is facing headaches and other obstacles, there may be things you can do to overcome them. Here are some common challenges new franchise owners often face, and suggestions on how best to deal with them.
Getting off the ground
Starting any new business takes an incredible amount of time and determination, so make sure you’re willing to give a lot of both before deciding to become a franchisee.
While the start-up period may be overwhelming, you don’t have to shoulder the burden alone. Try to make sure you have a good personal support system in place, be it family or friends, to monitor your work-life balance and overall wellness.
In addition, your franchisor should be able to offer training, information, and other resources on best practices for new business owners, so make sure to access whatever you can to help make day-to-day management of your new business as smooth and simple as possible.
A lack of autonomy
Many people are drawn to franchising because they seek the independence of being their own boss and calling the shots. However, some new franchisees are surprised to find out that some decisions may be made for them by the franchisor. In some instances, there may even be rules in place to prevent individual franchise owners from coming up with their own products and promotions, part of an effort to maintain brand uniformity and consistency.
If the level of control exerted by the franchisor chafes you too much, remember that your corporate owners are just as focused on business success as you are. No initiative they roll out is ever intended to fail or cause financial headaches among franchisees. Rather, most changes and new ideas, even minor ones, are rigorously planned and tested to work out any kinks and ensure profitability before becoming standard procedure at your store.
Hiring and retention
One of the biggest challenges for any new franchisee is finding good people to work at your business, and keeping them around once you’ve found them. Employee turnover can be high at some franchise businesses, which means constantly searching for staff to fill shifts.
Try to be strategic about your hiring: start by looking for a few responsible, motivated people who can be your trusted lieutenants. After you hire, make sure you train people properly, and motivate your employees by making sure everyone understands the value of their role, and how it impacts the overall business. When people feel prepared to do their work, and understand the value it delivers, their job satisfaction is likely to rise. In turn, that will make it easier for you to keep good people around.
Brand damage beyond your control
Buying into the name recognition and marketing might of a well-known brand is often pitched as an attractive aspect of franchise ownership, but there’s a flip side to the equation that can cause problems. Imagine you own a fast-food franchise that suffers a severe food-poisoning situation at a separate location in another city or region. No matter how safe your restaurant may be, sales are likely to suffer if the brand starts making headlines for the wrong reasons.
Any number of things could spark corporate backlash against a brand that otherwise appears safe and uncontroversial. Dessert chain Cinnabon attracted controversy with an inappropriate tweet when Carrie Fisher died, surely not the kind of attention individual franchise owners would have wanted for their businesses.
Unfortunately, if your parent brand suffers damage beyond your control, there’s not always a great deal you can do, other than continually trying your best to be exemplary in every way. If you do that, the regular customers who know and respect your standards and morals will likely stick with you. Fortunately for franchisees, most negative incidents are short-term pains that don’t do lasting damage to the brand as a whole.