Paving the way

2011-07-16 07:13

Just because a business is a franchise, does not mean it will automatically be a success. People read stories about successful franchisees and think: “I could do that.” Perhaps they could, but before they rush to sign on the dotted line, they should first undertake careful research.

Look closely at your motivation. Don’t say you would like to open a restaurant franchise because you like cooking or working with food. You need a business head. You should be a people’s person and you must consider how the job will fit into your life.

Says Riaan Fouche, head of franchising at FNB: “The biggest question that is never asked about franchising is: ‘How will this affect my family life?’

“A lot of families are broken up because the hours are long. Some people simply don’t anticipate that this will be the case.”

Fouche also warns that in many cases, you are dictated to by “The Big Daddy” – the franchiser who tells you what to do and, often, how to do it. At the same time, you also need to be open to new ideas so that you can enhance the business. So there are potential frustrations along the way.

According to franchise guru Eric Parker, one of the biggest myths is that franchising or having your own business is a chance to leave the rat race. Some people believe they can invest in a franchise, build it up to a level that allows them to earn a comfortable living, and then sit back and enjoy the fruits of their labour.

The Franchise Association of South Africa says there isn’t a single franchise that delivers on this expectation.

The franchisee will be expected to work harder than ever before, with good reason. Every network’s strength depends to a large extent on market share.
The bigger the share of the market a network holds, the stronger it is. It impacts on business realities such as the ability to provide top-class franchisee support and to negotiate preferential supply arrangements.

Unless every franchisee maximises unit performance at local level, the totals won’t stack up and the brand will lose its power. The association adds that it is precisely for this reason that some franchisers refuse to accept absentee owners as franchisees.

It has been shown time and again that owner-operated units significantly outperform units that are entrusted to managers, and seasoned franchisers know that very well.

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