Starting your own business can be enticing for many reasons. You may aspire to be your own boss, to retain more income, and to have more control over your work-life balance. To make this happen, many entrepreneurs choose the franchise route. Franchises have several benefits compared to starting a business from scratch. Not only do they offer brand recognition but there are also many behind-the-scenes benefits of being a franchise owner, such as ongoing support, education, and training.
Because of the vast differences in size and types of franchises, franchisors differ greatly in how they specifically serve their franchisees. But in general, here are five significant benefits of franchising versus starting a business from scratch.
Ditch the Start-up Growing Pains
The planning, research, paperwork and other administrative legwork for starting a business can be time-consuming and cumbersome. While plenty of people are capable of operating a business, some lack specific expertise and resources to ensure that the business will thrive and grow. Many would-be entrepreneurs prefer franchising as a business option because the crucial operational structure is already in place. By its very definition, franchising is the licensing of the rights to use a tried-and-true business operation system whose goals are to foster longevity and profitability. Depending on the breadth and nature of the franchise, your time to grand opening might also be faster than with a traditional enterprise. Some franchises, such as Wild Birds Unlimited, offer timing to open in as little as five to six months. As part of their services, many franchises also offer help with site selection, lease negotiations and store design and layout.
Marketing, Brand Recognition, and Competition
Even with great marketing ideas and commitment to implement them, it takes time for a start-up business to become well known. It’s possible that by the time you’ve attracted customers, your bottom line will be too broken to save. With a franchise, you’re looking at a business whose products or services are often proprietary, trusted, and widely known. Those built-in benefits of franchising offer a smoother runway toward attracting customers. Furthermore, if you go it alone, you may miss the mark by picking a lackluster location or run up against competition you hadn’t anticipated. Franchisors have the resources and expertise to do market research and choose favorable, viable locations with surgical precision.
You’re Not Alone
Even the most prepared, intrepid entrepreneur can feel uneasy about the concept of going it alone. What can you do if you encounter problems you can’t solve? A desire for a dependable support network often leads many new business owners to choose the franchise route. One franchising consultant aptly described franchises as “a business with training wheels.” Another popular franchising catch phrase is that you are in business “for yourself, not by yourself.”
These sayings echo a fundamental element of the franchisor-franchisee relationship. A supportive franchisor will help nurture the franchisee from the first consultation through the lifetime of the business. Support manifests itself in many ways, and again its extent varies by company, from basic, yet indispensable provision of moral support to a specific solution like learning how to use and market a new product or service. Virtually all new franchises begin with some degree of formal training and education for how to run a business and/or how to run a specific business. But some franchisors truly raise the bar in the level of help they provide their franchisees—from mentoring, continuing education and access to internal resources to help with e-commerce, purchasing, inventory management, and marketing strategy.
A recent unsung virtue of many franchisors is how they can help their franchisors meet unexpected challenges on the fly. The pandemic was a perfect, unprecedented example of this, with companies helping their franchisees develop strategies for dealing with COVID-19 restrictions. Wild Birds Unlimited, for example, helped their franchisees implement alternative methods of service, such as its “bird-side” delivery, a contactless transaction from payment through pickup, and even assisted businesses who needed help navigating the federal relief loan process. Besides the tangible benefits of franchising, many franchises also have an active network of support among fellow franchisees whereas traditional businesses are less likely to share ideas with competitors.
Proof of Performance
What if you could look years into the future of a scratch-built business and see how things turned out? It sure would simplify your decision about what path to take. Even with due diligence, you are gambling with what may be your life savings. Only about half of small businesses survive past the five-year mark, but there is a higher success rate for franchises.
Franchising may not be the fool-proof certainty you desire, but you will have many meaningful metrics you can use to determine whether this is the investment for you. Successful franchises have legacies for a reason. They enjoy a loyal following, are perceived as having quality services and products, and have translated that combination into sustained growth and profitability. And they have proof of success to share with potential franchisees. Franchisors are required to make specific financial disclosures for potential franchisees. With this transparency, you should have information you need to perform a cost-benefit analysis, to determine what your expected take-home pay will be, to tell whether the company is on sound financial footing, and to learn about its pace of growth.
So Many Options
Some prospective business owners truly have an original idea—or at least one they think is untapped. In fact, some entrepreneurs go on to create a franchise system for a business they ultimately create. But with a little research, you’ll see franchises that are already exploiting a good idea, and often doing it much better. As with many prospective business owners, your biggest obstacle to implementing your idea may be available capital, and so you may have to be flexible in your choice of business and its scale. Fortunately, there is an array of franchises to suit a vast range of interests and at many buy-in price points.
So How Does Wild Birds Unlimited Stack Up?
Wild Birds Unlimited, a leader in the wild bird feeding industry, provides all those essential benefits of franchising to each of its franchisees. Entrepreneurial and franchising publications consistently rank us among the top franchises in our sector. But what makes us even more proud is the high marks from our franchisees and customers. Franchise Business Review ranked Wild Birds Unlimited as the top retail franchise opportunity in 2021 based on franchisees’ satisfaction with the company’s core values, franchise community and corporate leadership. If that something you want to be a part of, contact us here.