A look at the top five franchising trends
In any business, it’s important to stay one step ahead of the latest trends. For franchisees this is no exception, whether you are looking to open a new franchise or grow the business for ones you already own. This month, BOSS takes a look at the top five franchising trends that could help franchisees be successful business owners.
Realizing that employees who already have an inside look at how a franchise is run could become excellent franchisees, many franchises have created employee-to-franchisee programs to help aspiring employees gain the business acumen needed to be a leader. In many of these cases, the franchise provides training while the employee works and — once they have met program requirements — helps them become a franchise owner without equity or at a discount.
Once a rarity, these programs are becoming more common, especially at well-established franchises with robust franchise training programs such as McDonald’s. Not only do employees taking part in an employee-to-franchisee program get to save money on their initial costs, they have specialized training and insider knowledge that increase their chances of becoming successful during their first endeavor.
Green Franchises and Health-Centered Businesses
Being aware of consumer trends is vital when choosing a franchise with which to partner. One such trend is eco-friendly businesses. Green franchises have built-in marketing that appeals to people who want to keep Earth a habitable place. Popular green choices for new franchisees are businesses such as Oxi Fresh Carpet Cleaning, which uses oxygen to clean carpets rather than harmful chemicals.
Healthy living is another trend that’s here to stay. From healthy eating franchises such as NrGize Lifestyle Café to spas such as Massage Envy and gyms such as Burn Boot Camp, franchises that cater to the health-conscious are proving to be good investments.
Traditionally, the franchise paid marketing companies thousands upon thousands of dollars to create marketing campaigns that would benefit franchisees. Meanwhile, at the local level, franchisees could hand out fliers and partner with local Little League teams, but that was about it. Now, social media has opened new doors.
Influencers are people on social media who have hundreds of thousands or millions of followers and can help grow brands. Franchisees are finding success in pairing with micro-influencers — social media savvy people with significantly fewer followers who are more engaged. Approaching community leaders with strong followings and offering them deals for posting pictures or mentioning a business can attract customers.
Arguably the biggest obstacle to overcome for aspiring franchisees is securing funding for franchise fees to get the business off the ground. Fortunately, there are more options than ever for those seeking capital, even if a bank loan isn’t enough.
An increasing number of franchisees are turning to crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter and GoFundMe to get the money they need to open a franchise. Be sure to tell a compelling, relatable story that will entice people to support your effort and share a link to your crowdfunding effort on social media — if all goes well it could go viral and you will have plenty of capital that doesn’t require repayment. Offering incentives such as free items and supporter discounts, T-shirts, and other promotional items can also help the crowdfunding succeed.
The threat of economic uncertainty plagues every small business owner. Even in times of a strong economy there are prognosticators anticipating a quick downturn. Entrepreneurs who do not want to constantly fret about such things turn to recession-proof franchises when looking to start a business of their own.
Recession-proof businesses are typically those that provide services people need, regardless of how much disposable income they have. Examples include: auto repair businesses such as Midas International; child care franchises such as Children’s Lighthouse; and plumbing or home repair services such as Mr. Rooter. Of course, franchisees will want to have a background in whatever franchise they start in addition to finding one that is recession-proof.
Evaluating current trends is important for businesspeople of all stripes, but it is even more vital for franchisees looking to get their first business off the ground. Being aware of what has made fellow franchisees successful as well as what customers are looking for provides valuable insight.
This overview of franchise trends should give business owners an idea of what to expect and what works generally, but it is important for franchisees to also evaluate their specific market and be aware of trends and consumer attitudes that are developing at a local level.