One of the big advantages of a franchise business opportunity is that it will come with an operating system that works.
Systems are the backbone of any successful business. Think about it – imagine that you decide to create your own special T-shirts and sell them in your own store. You can imagine that exciting first day when you open your shop and customers come in to buy. In your mind’s eye, it’s a balmy day and customers come in a few at a time, choose from your selection of products and check out one at a time, leaving you plenty of room to chat with each customer before closing with plenty of money in the till and time to walk the dog before enjoying a celebratory dinner. Your successful first day!
Now, how are you going to keep the right inventory in stock? If someone buys all the extra large size of a style in melon, will you order more right away or wait till the other sizes and colors are also sold? How will you handle special requests? Do you offer gift wrapping? Can you get larger or smaller sizes? What point-of-purchase software will you use, and what credit cards are you going to take? Do you offer volume discounts, senior citizen discounts, employee discounts? What sizes of sacks do you need, and when do you need to order more? Do you close for lunch until you’re ready to hire an assistant? Who will clean the bathrooms? Do you allow returns? Do you finish one transaction before moving on to the next person in line, or do you try to dovetail the work, ringing up the next person while the first writes a check?
And how exactly will you receive shipments? How do you know what’s in stock, what’s coming, and what’s backordered? How will you label items, who will unpack, and where will you unpack and store products? How do you deal with shipping errors and returns to the manufacturer?
Do you respond to customers who tweet a question, and if so, when do you check Twitter – in between email and unpacking that shipment?
Every sale seems like it comes with more questions, more uncertainties, and more things you never thought about. This is because you don’t have systems in place. Often, it takes years to develop truly workable systems for every aspect of your business.
With a franchise, all (or at least most of) those things have been worked out.
Some franchises have a very carefully developed system for each of the major business systems:
- Lead Generation
- Sales Conversion
- Customer Service
- Inventory Management
- Order Fulfillment
Others have clear systems in some areas and lots of flexibility in others. Check on this when you explore different franchise opportunities, and make sure that you’re comfortable with the level of detail in each area.
Plan to follow the systems of your new franchise closely at first. However excited you are at the thought of being your own boss, there will unquestionably be a lot of things to learn and things you haven’t thought about. Give yourself a year to get everything running smoothly and then think about the improvements and adjustments you might want to make.