How To Prepare Your Franchise for Explosive Growth


Is your franchise ready to grow? Do you have the necessary tools in place for your franchisee network to double or triple in size? The proper plan and preparations in place will allow your franchise to scale rapidly, set up new franchisees for success and promote a positive brand experience for customers. Here are six items to consider as you prepare for explosive growth:

Operations Manual

Smart franchise growth comes from well-documented systems. While it may work to run small businesses without policies and procedures formally documented, running an organization with multiple locations and no operations manual will lead to inconsistency in the brand.

Having guidance for every role and every procedure in the franchise will make onboarding new locations and training new employees easier. This information needs to get from co-founders' heads onto paper and electronic means for dissemination.

Promotions and Marketing Playbook

Most franchisees are not marketing experts, and one of the reasons they bought into your franchise is because of the brand and marketing support. Providing a marketing playbook that details out the seasonal, monthly, and yearly marketing, along with available marketing channels and how to use them, will go a long way in promoting the brand.

What holidays should be celebrated and how? What seasonal offerings can we promote? How much can we discount or coupon and when?

Provide your franchisees access to customizable brand marketing materials that can be fine-tuned to their location and shared easily, either by print, mail, email or social means. This will ensure their marketing is brand-compliant, while allowing localization

Elimination of Waste

When you are managing a couple locations, you may have the time to source the perfect aprons from Amazon or find the least expensive hand sanitizer online. But once you are a larger, growing organization sourcing items one-by-one can hold you back and cause frustration.

Choosing preferred suppliers who can act as a one-stop-shop for multiple needs will not only save time, but also headaches. Although the pricing may sometimes be slightly higher than what you can price shop online, having a partner that is reliable in delivering multiple high-quality products in a time-efficient manner, and can navigate any challenges that may arise will save you money in the long run. As your organization scales, vendor-partners give you the opportunity to focus on growing your business versus focusing your time on one-off requests from franchisees.

Standardization and Delegation

For small companies with a single graphic designer on staff, it's easy for everyone to submit their ideas and get back custom designs quickly. But as the company expands, so do the design requests. If you have 50 locations each making just one request to the corporate office per week, that's 2600 requests per year!

Your team must learn to standardize and delegate for scalability and brand consistency. That means creating marketing assets that work across the network with variables that can accommodate different market demands.

For example, a winter ad campaign may feature a snow scene image in a Wisconsin market, but that would not work in Florida. Giving the franchisee a standard template with available images to select from and customization for their location, pricing, hours and specials removes the burden from the corporate marketing team. Online marketing portals offer this convenience so the corporate marketing resources can be dedicated to vision, strategy and the national brand work.

Vendors with Capacity

It's great to use your Uncle Bob's store for needs when you open your first location. But will he be able to grow with you to support 100 locations nationwide?

Make sure you are setting yourself for future success with partners that can scale to the size of the company you are going to be, not the size of the company you are now. You'll need suppliers who have a proven history of handling large accounts and the infrastructure to provide support and materials in all of your new target markets.

Triage Points

In emerging franchises, most employees have a direct line to the CEO, and they can ask him or her about any part of the business operation. But as you grow, senior executives need to be focused on corporate strategy and triage points must be put in place for franchisee questions, concerns and any corporate approvals needed.

An effective approval process for marketing efforts and a standard way to submit requests and ideas will make sure they all are filtered into a single stream where they can be tracked and responded to in a consistent way.

What do you think franchise community, did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments below.

About the author

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Karen M. Wenning

Karen M. Wenning

Karen aspired to be a cowgirl or a farmer, but after graduating from UW Madison she found herself crafting prose for luxury brands at an advertising agency. There, she developed a passion for working with graphic designers and marketing professionals, creating brand-right marketing across their networks. As a former client of Suttle-Straus, Karen joined the team in 2008 serving in marketing and sales. She considers herself an accidental salesperson, on a mission to increase her clients’ traffic and sales. At home, Karen can be found challenging her husband and three children to a downhill ski or swim race, growing organic produce while fending off garter snakes, or herding her small flock of chickens.
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Topics: Franchise Marketing, Best Practices