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The First 5 Years: How to Survive & Thrive

In 2018, there were more than 750,000 franchise establishments operating in the U.S. So, it’s no surprise,  the franchise model can be a great way to build a career and a successful future for yourself.

So, if you’re considering the move, here’s a few quick tips to make sure your first steps put you on the path to success:

  • Research your space: Before investing your precious resources, do your due diligence in researching market dynamics, existing competition and the customer need for the product or service provided by the franchise.
  • Stretching yourself is good. Stretching your capital isn’t:  Make sure you have a realistic plan for cash flow and expenses until the business can sustain itself, otherwise you’re setting yourself up for failure.
  • Location, location, location:  Just because you build it, doesn’t mean they’ll come. Wait until you can get the bricks & mortar location and/or digital storefront that puts you exactly where your customers can’t miss you.
  • Listen, listen, listen: You need to listen to learn – so start with listening to your customers through surveys, social media monitoring and community involvement. You’ll have a lot to learn in the early days, so take advantage of all the experts and franchise veterans who are willing to invest their time in you.

Walk Before You Run

If you’re new to the role as a franchisee – or franchisor – then you may feel the weight and pressure of just trying to get your franchise out of its infancy and hitting its stride. The choices you make early on will go a long way to determining the success and long-term health of your business.

“As a previous owner of a franchise, I learned everything a new owner shouldn’t do. Unfortunately, I learned it the hard way.  There was no playbook to guide me to success, so I spent a lot of time and money on lackluster results,” said Jeff Leach, director of sales for Web for Enterprise.

Making the best choices around building a brand, driving awareness and attracting customers are some of the most difficult decisions that face emerging franchises.

“In today’s market, it’s too easy for an emerging brand to be lost in the noise and confusion of competing voices. Regardless of whether you’re a franchisor or franchisee, you need to put the right resources into the right priorities and fuel quick growth right out of the gate,” said Courtney Blackburn, vice president of marketing, Web for Enterprise.

Emerging Franchisor: Here are a few good tips for a franchisor with one to three years into the lifecycle:

Build a Framework for Network Success:

  • Go to Market(ing): You must have a strong marketing plan, rooted in analytics, that drives leads and ensures success in the network. Failure to do so can quickly lead to franchise dissatisfaction, which poses a significant threat.  You must have a strong marketing plan that drives leads and ensures success in the network.
  • All for One; One for All:  Eliminate rogue franchisee programs. The initial creation of a strong FDD (Franchise Disclosure Document) helps with this.  Make sure the FDD has a structured marketing program to include an obligatory spend requirement.
  • Common Tactics: – National SEO and local SEO, Display advertising, Content Management [Case Study]

Franchisees: For those just starting out, here’s a few powerful reminders:

  • Build Your Pipeline Before You Open:  This is especially true for “membership” franchises, such as gyms, but also important for service organizations, healthcare and senior living communities. Pre-opening marketing should drive towards “new membership specials” to get customers signed up.  
  • Invest in the Brand: Web for Enterprise recommends immediately starting with intent-driven search.  And it’s never too early to begin local SEO to create the base for the future.
  • Common Tactics: SEO, social media advertising, display advertising, email marketing [Case Study]

Interested in More?

Our mission is built around helping multi-location businesses like yours excel online; check out some other helpful articles we’ve written by clicking here.

And if you want to connect directly with someone on our team, we are ready, willing and able to help you out too: just call 855-973-8003 or email here.