As the franchisor of diddi dance and regional London chair for EWIF (Encouraging Women into Franchising) I wanted to share some insight into franchising as either an option of expanding your business or a way to have your own business without having to come up with that idea from scratch.
What is franchising?
“The Right to replicate a proven business format.” When you franchise your business a potential franchisee pays an upfront fee for the rights to run the business in their chosen location. This also includes branding, operation manual, ongoing support, training and guidance from Head Office. There are also ongoing management service fees monthly to cover the work Head Office continue to prove to all the franchisees. A franchise differs to a licence, which is the right to use a product or service owned by a 3rd party. There’s usually minimal training and the licensee has more flexibility to use those products or services as and where they wish. There isn’t the ongoing business support and this can create a diluted brand with by-products or without that continuous guidance.
So, is franchising right for your current business?
There are many things to consider before looking into franchising your business. Here are just a few questions you will want to ask yourself:
· How long have you been in business?
· What is proven?
· Have you tested a pilot franchise?
· Are these above average industry benchmark?
· Is there enough margin for two?
· How big is your market?
· How volatile is your market?
· Does it have mass appeal?
· Is there consumer acceptance of your product / service?
· Is your product or service easy to sell and deliver?
· Is your Intellectual Property protected?
· Do you have the management skills and capacity to create a new culture?
· Is your business professional and well presented?
· Do you have well documented processes and systems in use?
· How is Information Technology used in your business?
diddi dance started in 2003 when I noticed a lack of preschool dance classes for children aged 16 months upward that allowed them to freely explore movement in a fun yet structured environment. With high demand for the classes, which initially were just in London, to run across the country and a proven system in place franchising seemed like the best option to help the business develop. So in 2006, after diddi dance’s initial success, I realised that a flexible business opportunity for individuals wanting to find that perfect work/life balance was also possible.
So, what about becoming a franchisee?
If you have the drive a passion to run your own business but not the idea or the capital to start one from scratch franchising is a perfect option for you, then. Firstly, look for something you’re passionate about or really enjoy; running your own business is hard work and if your heart isn’t fully into it you will lose drive and run that business negatively. No franchise is guaranteed to succeed and always come down to the determination & motivation of the individual running it. The great part, though, is that all the set-up and background work is done for you. There’s no website to build, no branding to create, no email system to implement, no product or service to invent. You are given a business in a box, as we like to call it at diddi dance, and then have the freedom to run that business on your own inline with the franchise’s business system. Head Office will offer you support but you are the one calling all the shots. For us at diddi dance we use the phrase:
In business for yourself not by yourself
and that really sums it up well.
Any franchise business you choose to run you should be able to pick your hours so you can work flexibly around your family, however look into the nature of the business and when the most suitable times for that service run. If it’s a product does the online selling take care of itself or will you need to be available to answer customer queries late at night due to time differences or peak buying times? If it’s a service are the ideal times for that service at evenings and weekends or during normal working hours? At diddi dance our services runs during school hours, usually between 9am and 3pm, so our franchisees who have families are able to be there for school drop-off & pick-up while also being available during peak business hours. Any ethical franchiser will ask you to consider your working life and available support when exploring their offering so they know you have thought about the day-to-day running in-depth but also should encourage you to analyse if that offering would actually work for you.
You should always go and see the business in action on a discovery day or one-to-one meeting and be prepared to ask whatever you need to help you make a decision on whether it’s the right business right for you, but don’t be offended when they interview you as they have a brand and network of other franchisees to protect so they need to make sure every new person they award a franchise to will represent that brand’s values. At our Open Days you come to you come along to view a class taught by me, learn more about how our business works and then have one-to-one discussions with myself and our Franchise Director to really help everyone determine if this is the right fit for us all.
Buying a franchise can take anything from a few months to over a year (one of the largest franchisers in the UK insists on potential franchisees working for their brand for a year) and most agreements are a minimum of 5 years so it’s a big commitment too so decisions shouldn’t be taken lightly. However, once you find that perfect business for you it can give you the ideal work/life balance you need and, after the initial hard work to get it off the ground, the financial income too.
For more information about franchising or to learn more about what it would be like to run your own diddi dance franchise come visit us at the Manchester Mums Enterprise event or email Franchise Director Rebecca.email@example.com today!
Anne-Marie Martin, Founder & Franchisor of diddi dance
Click here if you are interested in registering for a FREE ticket to meet Anne-Marie and our other awesome exhibitors.
Click here if you are interested in becoming an exhibitor