February 13, 2020

Extending the franchise

Enfranchisement: verb (used with object), en·fran·chised, en·fran·chis·ing.

  • to grant a franchise to; admit to citizenship, especially to the right of voting.
  • to endow (a city, constituency, etc.) with municipal or parliamentary rights.
  • to set free; liberate, as from slavery.

Franchising creates a business within a business, where the management of a branch of the original business is outsourced to a third party, who pays for the privilege.

Franchising works because it balances autonomy with responsibility.  If I buy a franchise, I own that business, I get to keep most of the profit, I manage my branch as I see fit.   At the same time I have a responsibility to the parent business and my fellow-franchisees to maintain and even enhance the brand.

For this reason, good franchisors recognise that they need to communicate ‘how their business works’ to franchisees.  Not just technical stuff, such as how to put together a pizza or prescribe a pair of glasses, but the customer experience stuff too.   Sometimes, if my potential franchisees are unlikely to be business owners already, even how to monitor business performance.   Then they let the franchisee get on with it.

A good franchise takes a lot of effort to set up, but once set up it is relatively straightforward and quick to replicate and expand.  Done properly, franchising is a brilliant way to grow a business without killing yourself in the process.

It’s possible to give yourself a head start.

Enfranchise the people inside your business first.