Some club owners start out with an initial ambition to Franchise, and others find themselves growing rapidly and having no other choice but to expand. Whether you’re the ambitious kind or a victim of your own success, you’re probably thinking about the next crucial steps and wondering where to start! We’ve spoken with several Franchisors who have offered a little advice for anyone who finds themselves asking ‘what now?’.
Here’s our 5 top things to think about:
1. Build a Solid Foundation and learn your Business
We can often get carried away with a vision and what might be possible, but sometimes it’s best to be patient. It is far more effective to run one busy club with lots of interest and demand than to have diluted clubs scattered across several areas.
The reason why this is so valuable is it gives you the chance to really learn what works and what doesn’t with your business. It gives you insights into which bits of your business can be replicated, and which might require more of a personal flavour. From the way you run your classes, to the way you train new coaches, to the parts of your brand that really matter to customers, the more you understand these elements the easier it will be to duplicate your success.
Word of mouth is powerful, and it generally begins with parents experiencing great things at a club. Franchisors rave about how important this was in terms of building their base, all before expanding their revenue streams and spreading locations with multiple franchisees. A club has an easier time succeeding where parents have tried and tested the class, and love it enough to talk about!
Tip - Think about how you can increase your 5 star reviews to help spread the word!
Helen, Franchisor of Tots Play says: “My advice is to run a pilot first and focus on making yourself stand out.”
2. Take your time to develop the Franchise model
It isn’t just about creating a class programme that you’re confident in, but also ensuring you have a structure and offer in place to attract potential franchisees.
What support do you offer to them? How much marketing assistance do you provide? What systems do you use? What will it cost them? Is there a network?
Do some R&D into successful franchises and clubs in the surrounding area to find out what works and what hasn’t been so successful. Having a structured programme in place will help you attract the right type of franchisees suited for your club, and it’s worth considering early on how you want to structure your financial agreement. Some Franchises take a set monthly licence fee/management cost and others take a percentage of profits or revenue. If you plan to take a more ‘hands on’ role, whereby you have a vested interest in encouraging and guiding your franchisees to their own growth and success, then taking a percentage is likely to see you more connected to their businesses and in a more profitable position in the long-term.
Other revenue streams can include set-up fees for franchise owners, or membership fees and merchandise for new customers. Whilst these revenue streams might be instantly attractive, remember that all of these decisions have an impact on complexity of operations, and brand experience for both parents and franchisees, so it may be worth starting small and solid, then expanding your model and revenue streams over time, rather than attempting to build it all at the start.
Whatever model you decide, remember you’ll be working with real people, and a little flexibility can go a long way.
Owner of Enjoy-a-ball, Warwick Dredge, has 40 franchises across the UK and India. He believes in treating each franchisee as an individual: ‘I was happy with the mum who wanted to run classes for 3 days per week to fit her schedule or equally for someone looking to grow. The idea of people taking responsibility for their own business was very appealing.’
3. Be passionate about what you do and ‘Sell the sizzle’!
It may seem obvious, but in a highly competitive market, your passion can be the thing that sets you apart from others. Having purpose and vision is key to making your offer stand out to potential franchisees and will have an infectious impact across your network and the parents of children attending your classes.
It’s important to come across authentic and knowledgeable, so if you know the benefits of the activity you’re offering, play on this and give your programme a purpose. This is often the main priority for parents when choosing which club to send their child, so equally makes it an attractive proposition for potential franchisees looking to see which Franchise they want to join. You should connect with franchisees on a deeper level than purely financial.
4. Accept that your role may be different
A piece of advice from a Franchisor who started out with ClassForKids: “Running your own club can be very different from running your own Franchise.” Both have its perks but you should step into Franchising with that knowledge and be ready to embrace any changes. You’re no longer the club owner who makes their own decisions, but responsible for the package that enables others to start a successful business. This might come with extra responsibilities in terms of offering support/reassurance and training, but it’s highly rewarding.
5. Use an online system like ClassForKids for your Franchise
You’ll want your franchisees to spend as little time as possible on admin so they can focus on delivering great classes, and you can gain from keeping everything online too. Not only will you have the ability to control customers booking experiences, an online system will give you an overview of all franchisees systems and their financial takings. ClassForKids even goes one step further to provide Franchisors with relevant insights and data that will allow you to make the right decisions for your business. It’s a no brainer when building a professional, well-established Franchise.