Franchise Opportunities: Buying Into A Big-Name Brand
by FranchiseKing, Guest Blogger
- Created: December 5, 2012, 8:08 am
- Updated: December 5, 2012, 10:14 am
A significant number of the people that I’ve provided franchise advice to over the years have insisted on looking at franchises that have a recognizable brand name.
I understand why they start their franchise business searches with “the brand” in mind, but do you? You will if you read this post.
Definition of a brand
Legendary marketer Seth Godin* has a great definition:
A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another. If the consumer (whether it’s a business, a buyer, a voter or a donor) doesn’t pay a premium, make a selection or spread the word, then no brand value exists for that consumer.
Now that you have the definition, let’s look at the number one reason that prospective franchise owners are attracted to the “idea” of owning a well-branded franchise.
Most franchise buyers think that if they buy a big-name franchise, they’ll be entering the world of franchising at a much lower level of risk…financial risk. Is that true? No. Here are a few reasons why:
Let’s say that you decide to buy a food franchise with huge brand recognition, but you do so knowing full well that you have zero food-service experience. Do you really think that the brand name of the franchise chain can prevent your business from closing if things get bad enough?
(I use a food franchise as an example because it’s one franchise type in which franchisees, in most cases, can increase their chances of success if they actually have food-service experience.)
If you buy a franchise—and do so with a miniscule financial cushion to help you get through the very challenging first 12 months or so—no brand in the world can help you print money.
One of the most important things you can do that can actually increase your chances of success as a franchise owner is to have your finances in order. To do that, you need to figure out how much you have to invest and how much you’ll have for working capital and living expenses as your franchise business ramps up.
If you’re part of a big-name franchise brand, your local business can benefit from some the good things that corporate does, like charity-related events, for example. It gives you a chance to roll up your sleeves and really get involved in your community. For a good example, take a look at how College Hunks Hauling Junk has partnered with Habitat For Humanity*.
Of course, getting publicity isn’t always a good thing. For example, it was revealed that several restaurants of a popular franchise chain were closed down for health reasons. In this case, the “brand” couldn’t prevent these franchisees from losing their business.
While it’s true that the franchises in that story were only located in NYC, it’s possible that other media outlets (from other areas of the country) picked up the story and reported on it. Sometimes consumers only hear or read part of a story and assume things. So, it’s possible that owners of this chain in other geographical areas were affected negatively by this news story.
Publicity can be good or bad, and most of time you don’t have very much control over it. And sometimes, bad publicity can affect your finances.
In franchising, it’s important that you don’t get enamored by the brand name alone.
If you make sure that you’re a good fit for the business type, have your finances in order and understand that you won’t be able to always control what is being said or written about your brand, you’ll increase your chances of success as a franchise owner.
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