We’ll risk making a few assumptions as to why owning a B2B franchise business might appeal to you. In your Google searches you’ve learned that franchisors promote the size and demand of the market, the awareness and value of their brands, their comprehensive training and ongoing support, their fine-tuned operating model, and the benefits of working with like-minded business professionals.
Consider those the basic must-haves for any consideration. To push forward, here are five key risks and five opportunities that are up to you to seize to be successful as a franchise owner.
One more thing: Risks and opportunities require equal time and effort. There will be risks—they’re seemingly right in front of you. And there will always be opportunities. But, they may not be as obvious. Mining them is just as important for growing your successful B2B franchise business.
RISKS—how to minimize
1) Turnover. The wasted time and financial costs of hiring, training and losing employees can be a speed bump in your growth path. To earn their loyalty, hire team members who are qualified and fit your culture—however long it takes; communicate your vision for the business and make your employees feel that we’re all in this together, and, reward and acknowledge employees for their contributions and results.
2) Economy. The franchisor will preach “follow the system” to be in compliance of your franchise agreement, but it’s never more important than when coping with the mood swings of the economy. Trying to reinvent the wheel will only add to your stress. Trust the business model with its built-in solutions.
3) Capital. Don’t start your business on a shoe string. Create a realistic business plan then chart “best case” and “worst case” scenarios. Work your plan to achieve a best case, but have ample funds available to safeguard against possible adversity and the unexpected.
4) Customers. Don’t put all your B2B eggs in one basket. Pursue clients and businesses that fit your culture. Before you start work set expectations with the client on what you’ll need from them and what you’ll deliver. And watch the clock. Don’t let restless, micromanaging, inexperienced clients demand more hours than are justified.
5) Support. When you own your own business it will become a part of your everyday and hard to divorce from your personal life. You’ll need the emotional support and many times the participation from family members to run the business. Make sure each member of your family understands the commitment necessary to achieve success.
OPPORTUNITIES—how to capitalize
1) Network. When you join a franchise you’ll be the face of the brand in your community. Kevin Cushing, president of the Marketing & Print Division for Alliance Franchise Brands, offers this insight: “Your focus should be on business development more than operations. Yes, operations are important, but if you’re immersed in the detail of the business and you’re not supporting ongoing business building, it can make success a challenge.”
2) Resources. As a franchise owner, you’re not alone. A typical B2B franchise support team has been where you are and solved similar problems. Take advantage of all the resources that the franchisor offers you. And network within the franchise system. Your owner peers have answers, too, and do live by the rallying cry: “One for all and all for one.”
3) Community. Expand your base and build your stature by participating in local business organizations and industry trade associations. Your team members will feel more secure, and existing and potential clients will respect your counsel and recommendations and applaud your dedication to a greater good.
4) Plan. There is an operating model—the what to do. There’s also the annual marketing plan—the how to do. Make it a team effort. In addition to franchisor support, involve your employees in the process. Get their buy-in and they will have a vested interest in achieving shared goals.
5) Social Media. Become fluent in social media to increase your brand awareness, build market share, and to manage and protect your reputation. Also, creating loyal B2B clients is not only about producing results-driven work, it’s about forging lasting relationships that requires continual personable, personalized attention. That’s social media.
Another opportunity is to become an Allegra franchise owner. We asked Kevin to again draw on his industry experience and share what makes Allegra an outstanding B2B franchise opportunity: “Allegra uniquely blends marketing, business development, and manufacturing. Our brand is strong, and we give you many tools to go to market with. At the same time, our concept is flexible enough that owners are able to put their own stamp on their business and in their communities.”