Your Franchise Development Strategy

Developing your Franchise Strategy

Every business is unique and develops its own business plan. Similarly in Franchise development, Each business needs to develop its own unique franchise strategy. Whilst many businesses have grown to become international giants through franchising, the road to successful franchising can be complex.

Franchising is about more than just the legal agreement that binds the franchisee and franchisor. There is a whole host of business management areas that a franchisor needs to invest time and resources in to build a franchise development strategy to ensure successful replication and local adaptation of the brand over time.

I am often asked about how much a business should charge for a franchise fee and royalties. This is a question that cannot immediately garner a responsible answer. If one chooses to look at the closest market competition and decide on pricing, the answer is already out there. However, I believe that the success of a franchise is more than just the economics of the franchise. Those who already franchise will testify that franchising is certainly more than these magic numbers. Ultimately, it is the quality of the franchise management, the relationship between Franchisor and franchisee and the strength of the brand that influences the franchise success most.

While there are usually legal documents that frame the agreement between the franchisor and franchisee, it is really the business decisions that make up the agreement that ultimately determine how the franchisor and franchisee work together.

So what does it take to develop a strong Franchise Strategy?

The franchise strategy used in structuring the franchise offering is the foundation for every successful franchise system, and proper strategy development can ensure that your goals are attainable. This means we need to consider if the franchise strategy is to be developed as single units in home territory, in different territories in the same country or is it to handle international growth. The challenge is knowing what is right for your organisation, so that you can create a franchise offering that is easily replicated and marketable to the franchisees you want to target.

Underlying any successful franchise system is the determination of the economics of the franchise and the franchisor franchisee relationship, with a focus on creating a business model that is both marketable and sustainable.

We focus on understanding the key drivers that make your business successful, identify performance targets, systems to monitor progress. Other important areas to understand are the elements of support provided by you, the franchisor to help strengthen the performance of your franchisees, like set up support, training support, supply chain management, audit implementation, marketing support and many other aspects. Looking at your business from a holistic view, we build credible financial simulations and then make our financial recommendations regarding initial and continual fees based on extensive economic modelling.

Once the financial models are developed, we then go about pulling all the features that make your franchise different and more attractive than other similar franchises that are out there. Offering a franchise program to potential franchisees is no different from selling your products to end consumers. It is important to have a quality franchise offering that is well positioned and clearly differentiated from the other franchises out there.

Alongside a strong franchise development strategy is the need for strong Standard Operations Protocols to ensure increased replicability. Our award winning clients like The Manhattan Fish Market stated that it was their Standard Operating Protocols (SOP’s) that have helped them to accelerate and grow their business. Today, these SOPs have become integrated into a business operating system that leverages cloud technology to offer easily accessible, updatable processes and provide reports and business intelligence for the franchisor to take action.

Your Franchise Partner

Astreem’s success as a franchise development advisor is that we focus on the business’s state of franchise readiness, identify the key success drivers, strengthen the fundamentals, build sound Franchise growth strategies that are scalable. We focus on designing our clients’ franchise systems for long term success. We balance the economics of the business and the ongoing franchise relationship with the goal of ensuring sustainable growthfor the franchise system. Technology today makes it much easier for franchisors to manage their franchisees. Franchise management technology helps franchisors to monitoring performance, communicate to franchisees, streamline business processes, provide information to take pre-emptive actions when necessary as well as to ensure compliance within the franchise system.

7 Steps To Developing Better Audits

Audits are key to improving the operational performance in any multi store operation. Both Internal and external Audits help to ensure compliance and consistency in successful business management. However, audits are only useful when designed correctly, easily implemented and provide insights to help managers make decisions. Audit programs are designed to improve operational standards, improve customer service and audit compliance. Ensuring consistent quality and service delivery is critical to businesses on the brink of expansion and international growth. Being able to ensure consistency and quality is the key to sustainable growth. This article aims to provide you with an easy 7 step guide to developing better audit plans that are easy to manage and implement.

Step 1: Start with the Why

As with any goal, starting with the Why is the necessary first step. Defining the objectives of the audit and the Key Performing Indicator (KPI) criteria will help operations managers design a better audit plan.

For example:

  • Do you want to track compliance to the brand?
  • Do you want to track the customer service over different stores ?
  • How often do you track the hygiene standards of your outlets?
  • Do you want to check the completion of operational processes?
  • Are your outlets following merchandising guidelines?

Whatever your audit needs may be, the objectives of the audit need to be clearly defined so as to reap the benefits of an operations audit.

Step 2: Identify the Areas of Audit

Once the goals are set you need to identify all the Key Performance Indicator (KPI) areas that need to be audited.  If you want to audit brand compliance across all stores, you need to identify all areas that may affect how the brand is perceived. For example:

  • In-Store Corporate Identity
  • Staff Appearance
  • Customer Experience
  • Handling Customer Complaints

Step 3: Identify who conducts the audit

Generally, we have people in 3 roles that involved in conducting audits

  • Field Team: Either the Store Manager or Area Manager
  • Internal Dedicated Quality Assurance: Person whose only job is to conduct audits
  • 3rd Party External Auditor

Using an internal Field Team is cost most effective way to conduct audits. The disadvantage of using an internal field team is that there are certain conflicts of interest in the scoring of the audits. Having a dedicated quality assurance team to conduct audits may be provide for more unbiased scoring of the audits, however as this option menas a whole team dedicated to implementing and maintaining audits, this is a solution that works better for very large companies.

Using a 3rd Party Auditor may be good solution to help reduce both conflicts of interests that may arise by using internal field teams and avoid the high costs incurred in maintaining a dedicated quality assurance team. Since they are not tied to the operating metrics of the stores being audited, the audit scores are likely to be more unbiased. These 3rd Part Auditors are paid by the audits they conduct.  Astreem Consulting is a 3rd Party Auditor to help you conduct audits. The experienced team at Astreem designs practical audit programs that are targeted at key performance areas and conducts operational & brand audits for F&B, Education & Retail businesses.

Step 4: Designing the Audit Questions

The designing of audit questions depend on several factors:

  • Who is conducting the audit: If the field team member is conducting the audit, you want to keep the audit simple and short.
  • Type of Questions asked – The audit questions should also be from the view of  recording a fact (objective) rather than asking for opinion (subjective). Statements with a Yes/no answer or those with a graded range are the most commonly used audit question formats.
  • Frequency of the audit – Designing the audit is closely related to the frequency of the audit. If you are going to visit the store every day, then the audit can be short and you can vary the sections covered. But if the frequency is once a quarter, you would rather design a more comprehensive audit to cover the various aspects of an operational audit.

Step 5: Conducting the Audit

Before conducting the audit, you need to decide which tools will be used to conduct the audit. It is totally fine to use excel sheets or physical hard copies for Audits. The problem occurs while collating the data from hardcopies and making sense of the data. Copious amounts of Man hours are often invested to harvest the data.   Another issue happens when you need to look back at records from last quarter or the year before to make performance comparisons between periods. This can be resolved by using smart online audit tools like Tree AMS (Automated Management System). This system helps you to seamlessly collate data, run different reports between time periods and key performance areas. You reduce a lot of time in data collation and data storage.

Step 6: Analyzing the Results

The whole point of the audit system is to give you insights about the performance of various key performance areas of your business. Analyzing the results and taking decisions is key to performance improvement of your brand. For example, if the Customer Service Audit is consistently showing poor audit scores in specific outlets, then specific action at the store level to address the way the staff is trained to handle customers. A re-training may be scheduled for the staff. A post training audit will show better results and also improve your customer service.

Step 7: Improving the Audit Program

The last and important step is to make sure that the audit program stays relevant with the management goals. A regular relook is essential to improve the quality of the audit program.

To conclude, a well-designed audit program is about providing insights, feedback and enforcing accountabilty through out the organisation. It is one of the best ways of improving and sustaining performance of your brand.