Interviews

Six things to consider before turning your brand into a franchise

6 min read

07 May 2014

Rik Hellewell, franchising expert and founder of oven valeting business Ovenu, talks about the advantages of setting up a franchise compared to growing a business organically.

1. Franchising can be the ideal business model: 

It is important to present a straightforward and accessible franchise offering to prospective franchisees following a tried and tested pilot operation having been demonstrated at two or three locations within the UK. A franchisee’s start-up package ought to provide a level of support, and promotional activity that is perfect for people from a wide variety of backgrounds as there is no such thing as a ‘typical’ franchisee. Franchise packages should provide a proven and well documented earnings potential and allow the opportunity to hit the ground running with support packages such as a comprehensive ISO9001-accredited induction training course. In our particular company, franchisees also benefit from flexible working hours and a scalable business model, allowing expansion into a multi-van operation should a franchisee wish to go down that well-trodden route.

2. Set out your stall: Think through the process of how your business actually works.

Franchisees will need precise details and guidelines to get their business up and running. Your franchise offering has to be readily replicable. This process takes time and you may need to seek advice from franchising professionals but it is ultimately worth it and even if you decide not to franchise in the end, the groundwork you do now will help your business run more smoothly.

From marketing to signage to business cards to staff training, it seems obvious, but do try to ensure that a robust and comprehensive business model is in place before bringing your franchise offering to market. Starting a new business is never an easy and straightforward option, but setting up in business as part of a larger and established company can be the best way forward for an increasing number of people making the leap into self-employment. Franchisees will look to you as the franchisor for lots of help and advice; so be prepared.

3. Broaden your appeal: Many existing businesses could be expanded nationally or even internationally by using the business format franchise model. 

The beauty of the cleaning business is that it’s accessible to most people, so that makes it an ideal franchising opportunity. I have franchisees of all ages and backgrounds and there are numerous case studies that provide testament to the fact that anyone with no prior experience of the oven valeting industry can set up their own franchise, and go on to develop a successful business. 

In Uxbridge and Maidenhead for example we have two of the country’s youngest franchisees in Richard Charalambides and Ryan Penniston who are both in their early twenties. An added bonus is that start-up costs are relatively inexpensive, and the process involved in getting the business off the ground is also pretty straightforward.

4. Present the business argument:

I run an oven valeting company, however there is a widespread perception that franchisees need to be ‘hands on’. In fact, many are management-based and are often some of the most corporate franchise organisations around! Explore the ramifications of your franchise offering and broaden its appeal. With a management franchise, franchisees have the option to employ staff while they take on much more of an operational role, which is the case for many of our franchisees. That said, remember that you’ll be helping your franchisees to run and manage a business and not just teaching them how to excel at their ‘day job’.

5. The role of a franchisee:

Many franchisees choose to take on a more ‘hands-on’ franchise, and, as is the case with my business, positively enjoy working at the coal face. Whether a franchise targets commercial or domestic cleaning markets, every postcode area offers hundreds – if not thousands – of potential clients. 

Many of our franchisees have excellent working relationships with such businesses, and they can prove to be an extremely fruitful way of getting established in business. A well prepared franchisor will have a very strong marketing strategy mapped out for their franchisees.

6. Build and protect your brand:

As a franchisor the most important asset is your brand, so try to protect it at all costs. Your brand represents your culture, your beliefs and your attitude towards your customers. When you franchise you are giving people the opportunity to represent your brand by investing into it. 

This can be one of the biggest risks of franchising. Clear guidelines should be established for the use of all your brand assets. You want to be sure that you are sending one clear message from one clear source, and that this message is consistent.

Do monitor everything – pay close attention to videos and pictures and monitor all social media outlets to ensure nothing departs or detracts from your message.

Establish a good working relationship from the outset with a specialist franchise lawyer as all of the above needs to be put into a correctly formatted Franchise Agreement. A wise investment in this department in the early days can save numerous headaches in the future.

Rik Hellewell is the founder of Ovenu