ATTRACTING MULTI-UNIT FRANCHISEES IN THE POSTPANDEMIC ERA
By Dan Israel, CFE, Goldfish Swim School Franchising, LLC
Four tips on how to grow your franchise system.
The multi-unit sector of franchising has seen significant growth and influence, especially during the challenging times this last year has presented. Prospects can be keen on joining a franchisor that offers the opportunity to own multiple units as it allows for quicker growth, greater stability and the potential to see more revenue. As a franchisor, multi-unit growth is a great way to expand the brand’s footprint with sophisticated franchise partners in a faster, more efficient way.
However, multi-unit franchising is only successful when done right — with the right prospect and a proven franchisor. Prospects must show a demonstrated ability to operate multiple units — potentially across territories — a successful track record, the ability to execute a proven business model and ambition to help grow the future of the brand. Below are some avenues to explore in growing in the multi-unit sector as we inch toward a post-pandemic era.
1. Look internally to grow with empire builders.
Growing your franchise system from within has its benefits. These individuals already know the brand, its systems and have likely reached, if not surpassed, certain set goals.
There is also a level of comfort and trust a franchisor has in all its current franchisees. You’ve already validated that they align with your brand and core values — and that they are the right people to help you grow the brand. An established franchisee is the ideal candidate to take on more units, and even push for regional growth. At times, expanding your brand’s footprint can be done effectively and quicker through the individuals who have contributed to its growth and success to date.
2. Build attractive factors that would incentivize current or prospective multi-unit franchisees.
There is a level of trust a franchisee needs to have in the franchisor — knowing that they will provide the right steps, tools, resources and support that will lead to success. Utilizing our proven model, Goldfish Swim School has opened over 100 locations in just over 10 years of franchising with numerous multi-unit owners. You must ensure you have an adequate and growth-ready infrastructure for support systems, processes and procedures. Ask yourself and your fellow leadership team if you have everything in place to support multi-unit operators.
Invest in an intensive training program that covers in-person efforts, management training, operations, marketing support and, pre- and post-opening support.”
Invest in an intensive training program that covers in-person efforts, management training, operations, marketing support and, pre- and post-opening support. Once these factors are in play, you can articulate it with current and potential franchisees.
3. Look to existing multi-unit operators as brand ambassadors.
Any franchise business is going to have top performers who can serve as success stories or case studies. Identify these individuals and highlight them on various platforms. These successful franchisees can help attract other likeminded individuals who are seeking multi-unit opportunities. During the due diligence process, your leads will want to talk to existing owners. Successful multi-unit owners can provide brand validation and justify your proven business model.
Successful multi-unit owners can provide brand validation and justify your proven business model.”
4. Provide the right tools and innovations that streamline efficiency for a multi-unit owner.
Capitalize on the right kinds of tools and innovations that streamline running multiple franchise locations. A large portion of this is showcasing to franchisees that you are constantly evolving to best support their needs.
As an example, at Goldfish Swim School, we developed an interactive COVID-19 Support Site which served as a resource for franchisees on topics including financial resources, operational guidance and more. We also created ‘Goldfish At Home’ which provided free, virtual dry-land swim exercises to families nationwide, so our franchisees could still connect with their membership-base and even drive new consumer leads.
The pandemic has created an entrepreneurial boom, and there’s a pool of aspiring multi-unit operators looking to grow with the right brand, and seeking the right support in order to do so. As we emerge from the pandemic, now is the time to home in on your franchise development strategy utilizing a combination of these tips to grow with multi-unit franchisees.
Dan Israel, CFE, is the vice president of franchising and general counsel at Goldfish Swim School Franchising, LLC. For more information and franchise opportunities for International Franchise Association (IFA) franchisor member Goldfish Swim School, visit franchise.org/franchise-opportunities/goldfish-swim-school.