How good franchisee support makes a thriving franchise business
Helen Spencer| Franchise Development Manager | SIGNWAVE
If you' re looking to become a franchise owner, it is likely that one of the decisive factors that have drawn you to this business model is the amount of support you can receive from the head office, so that you will be in "business for yourself but not by yourself", as it is commonly stated.
When you' re looking at purchasing the right franchise that really suits you, you may come across companies that seem to offer a different variety of training and support programs. That' s why it is important to know what kind of fundamental support you should expect to receive from a high-quality franchisor.
We caught up with Helen Spencer - Franchise Development Manager of Signwave - who shared with us her knowledge about support in the area of marketing and business promotion. Her insights will give you a clear understanding of initiatives that can make a difference in having a more profitable franchise business.
In franchising, you usually pay ongoing fees from your gross sales to fund the marketing campaign of your franchise system. A good franchise system will have a dedicated marketing department that not only refines existing methods but also researches new means of target marketing to better direct sales to franchise owners. It is also critical that the system be able to measure the success of the campaigns that have been implemented and be able to provide all of that feedback to the franchise partners. This arms owners with the knowledge that is necessary to intelligently allocate funds from their budget. As franchise owners, it is absolutely their right to be actively involved in this process.
A good franchise system should always take on board franchisees' feedback. At SIGNWAVE we have an established National Advertising Committee - a group of owners elected by the franchise network to oversee and control the allocation of the local marketing budget. The Advertising Committee meets periodically with key marketing personnel from head office. The most frequent areas of discussion with the franchisee board include budget allocation, review of the marketing calendar, new marketing practice and improvements to existing infrastructure.
Some disagreements can arise from time to time: when this happens the board members are required to bring the matter to the attention of the whole franchisee group, where they are able to discuss it and then democratically vote.
In addition to this, the committee assists franchisees in researching different waves of revenue as well as sourcing the best suppliers.
"Whilst the franchise company will usually take care of the marketing initiatives on a national scale, you will still need to spread the word about your franchise business in the local area you operate in to further enhance and benefit from the brand awareness created by the national campaign."
Whilst the franchise company will usually take care of the marketing initiatives on a national scale, you will still need to spread the word about your franchise business in the local area you operate in to further enhance and benefit from the brand awareness created by the national campaign.
That' s why the campaigns on which the National Advertising Committee agrees upon can always be customised and tailored to the local audience. The infrastructure that is available at the store level allows for flexibility as franchisees can adjust within defined parameters (in order not to alter the core message) both the layout (e.g. by changing the template of a direct mail campaign) and the content (e.g. by choosing to promote a specific offer rather than another). It is really important that all SIGNWAVE owners have the freedom to execute additional marketing that is specifically tailored to their local communities - simply, efficiently and cost effectively.
Over time, we have found that one useful tool is the marketing calendar published by SIGNWAVE which includes all marketing initiatives (brochures, catalogues, direct mail, public relations, market research and so forth) in an organised timeline. This gives all franchisees a structure for the year, so they can better plan and implement additional marketing activity.
These examples can give you a better understanding on the kind of marketing support you could expect from your franchise, but it will always come down to your ability to fully take advantage of these initiatives.