How to franchise your business

It is a very exciting time for us here at Fun Science as we put the finishing touches to our franchise opportunities, available from May 2014 so we decided to write a guide for other businesses considering franchising as a way of expanding. Read on for five things we have learned from creating our Fun Science franchises.

1) Ensure your concept is franchiseable. This means you must have run a branch of your business for at least two years and within those years achieved a profit that is at least three times your franchise fee. You must have something that can be easily replicated and run by others. For example, a business which requires your ability to juggle whilst simultaneously knitting a scarf is not a viable franchise! Your brand must also be strong enough that it is worth buying into. This includes strong graphic design, a certain level of customer support and a website that appears near the top of search engine results.

2) Get the legal stuff sorted. Make sure you know exactly what your franchisee can and can’t do under your brand name. Think about things such as what happens if they do not pay on time, what if the franchisee wants to leave the company, what if the franchisee decides to copy your idea? These things all need to be thought about.

3) Make sure you have the time available to dedicate to new franchises. Your first few franchises are going to need all your help and support to get them off the ground. It is not enough to provide them with a package and leave them to it. Once you sell your first franchise your role will change from just running your business to helping and supporting others’ with theirs. Remember, if your franchisees succeed, you do too.

4) Decide on a price. We decided to go for a heavily reduced rate for the first franchisee as an incentive for somebody to take the ‘risk’ of being first. Think about how much it would cost somebody to set up on their own, including buying a website, hiring a graphic designer, sourcing equipment, advertising etc. Take into account the time needed to do all of this and then try and undercut it to ensure it really is good value to set up with you. We have seen franchises offered at ridiculously high rates. At this high rate, whilst you may get a little interest, it is likely that people will decide to simply go it alone.

5) Let people know how good you are then stick to your promises! If you are providing a viable opportunity your franchise should sell itself, but people need to know you exist! Attend franchise shows, publicize the opportunity online, get yourself listed in franchise directories etc. Once you have sold your first franchise, then it is time to make sure that franchise and its new owner are guaranteed to succeed. If your first franchise fails, it is unlikely you will ever sell another one!