Let’s talk about the important things first - the money! After a few frustrating conversations with a non-existent business banking manager I managed to find a fantastic one at a different bank who offered me the easiest and most cost effective solution; a low rate loan secured against mine and my husband’s home. This may have been a risky strategy but my entrepreneurial instinct told me it was the right decision and the business would be a success.
Money secured we moved onto the second biggest challenge, the website! From the outset it was very clear the website would be an integral part of the FBF franchise model. It’s not only the shop front for so many of our customers, but our new website would change so many of our administrative processes including accounting, financial reporting and capturing of sales and marketing data. Finally, the website would be the main communication platform for the franchisee and franchisor.
We then invested in a geo-demographer who helped us find the perfect location for our headquarters based upon access to main roads and easy access for delivery vans. The geo-demographer also evenly divided the regions and territories that our franchisees will be responsible for, based on population and size. This ensured all areas were split to ensure all franchisees would have the same opportunity of sales success.
The legal documents were next on my list of things to do. It was imperative that the franchise agreement and disclosure documents were perfect and up to date with current franchising legislation. Thankfully Franchise Systems were excellent at helping me review these documents as it can be a little overwhelming for someone who has never seen them before. My lawyers, HWL Ebsworth were brilliant in producing the documents and I’m ever grateful that we had agreed upfront to a fixed fee! We had so many changes and just when we thought we were done, there were even more amendments which would have cost us a fortune otherwise.
Next, we searched for an expert to develop a Flowers by Fruit Sales & Marketing training manual and program for our future Eggs (sales team) and Creation Centre franchisees. After briefing a number of self-professed sales training professionals I decided on a completely different approach and employed what may have seemed like an odd choice, an image consultant with sales training experience. After my first meeting with Annalisa Armitage of ‘My Image Consultant’ I knew she’d be the right person for this job. She did the one thing no other sales training consultant attempted; she listened and showed genuine interest in my business, which has been one of the criteria for selecting any partner.
Lastly, my accountant advised me about how to best structure the company to protect our IP. Very important! However, despite all of these stages without the support of my mum and husband, I wouldn’t have been able to get through any of the above as there’s simply not enough hours in the day to do it all on your own, especially now I have a young child.
Next month I’ll tell you about how we developed our marketing strategy to recruit new franchisees.
Here’s a brief summary the top five things I’ve learned in getting my business franchise ready:
- Don’t give up;
- Be involved in every step so you understand how your business is evolving;
- Ask questions when you don’t understand or seek advice from experts;
- Go with your gut. Intuition can often work in your favour;
- Don’t be afraid to negotiate on price from your suppliers