When Ray Kroc founded the McDonald’s brand, it became clear to him that a strategic approach to franchising would be the key to long-term growth and success. In turn, he ensured that the franchisor-franchisee relationship remained central to the entire organization.
“Our vision is to create the greatest franchising opportunity for generations to come, backed by the industry’s leading franchisor,” said Brad Bogan, McDonald’s vice president of strategic franchising in the US.
But what does it really take to become a successful franchisee? We spoke to executives from some of the world’s most successful and established franchises: McDonald’s, Lawn Doctor and Dunkin’, all of whom took top positions in our Franchise 500 Hall of Fame.
From believing in the process to looking for growth opportunities, see what they had to say before taking the plunge into the franchise world.
The secret to a successful franchise is passion,” says Dunkin’ brand president Scott Murphy. “[And] when you partner with a trusted brand, there’s no limit to how far you can go.”
Related: Are You Considering Franchise Ownership? Get started now and take this quiz to find out your personalized list of franchises that suit your lifestyle, interests and budget.
1. Choose the right brand that aligns with your values and goals
“It is important to remember that a partner with the willingness and ability to provide a broad range of support is essential to success. With technology, design, innovation and everything in between, ongoing support drives franchisee success,” says Murphy. “Partnering with an established brand with a proven, exceptional support system is especially important for first-timers in the industry.”
2. Be prepared to invest time, dedication and focus
“The key to our franchise model is that we select franchisees who not only want to ‘own’ our restaurants, but also those who have the irrepressible drive to operate our restaurants,” says Bogan. “This may seem like a minor nuance, but it is an important distinction and differentiator. The industry is constantly changing and there is always something new to learn and improve on. It is not always easy and not a path that many entrepreneurs want to follow. “
Related: Is franchising right for you? Ask yourself these 9 questions to find out.
3. Think about the career opportunities
“Look at the white space to determine whether your long-term growth goals are possible,” says Murphy. “At Dunkin’, for example, we continue to expand our footprint and successfully develop new markets globally, enabling our franchisees to continue to grow.”
Related: Busting franchising myths and choosing the right opportunity
4. Take your time
“Purchasing into a franchise system is a decision that requires thoughtful consideration, research, and conversations with leadership, trainers or coaches, fellow franchisees, and more,” said Eric Martin, Lawn Doctor’s senior vice president of franchise development. “Have a clear understanding of the criteria and framework of the training process, business model, marketing plan, financial commitments, profitability structure, and more.”
5. Believe in the process
“The reason an aspiring franchisee is considering buying a location and building territory within a franchise system must be because they believe in the process, the model, the vision and the team,” says Martin.
Related: The 4 biggest myths about franchising
6. Have a good understanding of the brand you are investing in
“Ask potential franchisors, ‘What is the brand vision or purpose?’ It’s also important to clearly understand what is expected of operators and how the brand supports its franchisees in return,” says Murphy. “Spending time getting to know a brand is essential before taking the plunge.”
7. Commit to the good times and the bad times
“There are parts of running a business that are fun and parts that are hard,” says Martin. “When making the decision to become an businessupdates.org, you need to be fully committed to both. If you’ve made cutbacks in a previous career, it may have gone unnoticed – but as an businessupdates.org, cutting back can affect your bottom line and profitability. The most important factor owning a franchise is believing in the system and trusting that it will lead you to success.”
Related: 10 tips for moving from employee to boss, from franchisees who’ve done it