Growing a franchise business requires continuous attention, careful planning and a willingness to take calculated risks. No matter how successful, a franchise business left by its self will go to pot. In the last decade, the cost and risks associated with doing franchise business have risen dramatically, but also opportunities.
Drawing from the experiences with small and medium enterprises of its members, the Manila-based Association of Development Finance Institutions in Asia and the Pacific (ADFIAP) proposes:
1) Give priority to new product or service development. Always seek ways to improve what you have to offer and develop means to reinvigorate your own products or services before someone else does.
2) Find new applications for existing products or services. Be sure to establish a communication means between your company and your product/service users to determine how they really use your products. Offering a financial incentive to surface new applications helps too!
3) Remember the easiest sale of them all. You have already spent the money to acquire your customers and build a relationship with them, why not ask what else we can make or provide for them?
4) Know where to get all the answers. All the answers about how your company is doing, where it should go and what it should stop doing, reside within your own customer base.
5) Buy rather than build. Take a gook look at your targeted industry. There usually is a resource limited company that offers viable products and services that relate to yours. Consider buying them versus investing the same money in organic growth alternative.
6) Think out of boundaries. If you just focus on one market, someday you will find your company can no longer effectively compete because someone else beat you to others.
7) Go eCommerce. Establish an effective means, via the Internet for your customers to educate and update themselves, solve their own problems and order your products with a few clicks of the computer mouse.
8) Know when to say “No” and “Stop”. Making or doing something that no longer makes financial sense needs to be dealt with decisively, no matter the, “we have always made those, we have always sold those, or we have always done it that way” commentary.
9) Measure and publish everything. Business practices can only be improved upon if they are written, measured, tracked and periodically audited for effectiveness. All results justify being shared with all employees, good or bad. Always celebrate success publicly, criticize poor performance privately.
10) There is always a price to pay for franchise business growth. There is no clear roadmap on how to best grow your company, each company has its own growth challenges.