From joining a system that’s flexible to change to creating unique opportunities for personal and professional growth down the line, 1851 Franchise spoke with emerging franchisors to determine the top benefits that come with becoming a franchisee for a newer concept.
Aspiring franchisees who are in the process of determining which brand to become a part of often limit their searches to established brands that they’ve heard of in the past. And while there are many advantages that come with joining an established brand, from heightened awareness among consumers to proven business practices, there’s another option our there for prospective candidates: emerging franchises.
Signing on to become a franchisee for an emerging brand gives entrepreneurs a variety of unique opportunities that can’t be found with established brands. 1851 Franchise spoke to the leaders behind three emerging brands to determine the top 10 advantages.
1. Open to Change
Because emerging brands are smaller and are working with a smaller number of franchisees and units, it’s easier for them to implement changes across the board. That means that initiatives designed to improve operations and promote success are more likely to take shape in a timely manner.
“As an emerging brand, we’re incredibly flexible to change. We’re willing to make improvements to our system, services and products as needed—our number one priority is making our system the absolute best that it can be,” said Mo Pandoria, founder and CEO of Idolize Brows & Beauty. “And then, when we make those changes, it doesn’t take us long to execute or implement them. That’s one of the biggest benefits of working with an emerging brand—the chance of positive change is always high.”
2. Closer Relationship Between Franchisee and Franchisor
Another benefit that comes with partnering with an emerging franchise brand is the direct access that local owners gain to founders and their leadership teams. Not only are emerging franchisors more reliant on their first franchisees to perfect their systems—they’re also fully invested in each individual franchisee’s success on a personal level.
“I think the relationship between franchisor and franchisee is a lot better when you’re working with an emerging brand. On a communication level, you’re easily able to share thoughts and ideas, which then leads to collaboration,” said Pandoria. “We want to work with people who have an entrepreneurial spirit—this isn’t a one-sided business ownership opportunity. As an emerging brand, we’re listening to those valuable opinions and ideas.”
3. Flexibility to Negotiate
There are parts of the franchise business model that will never be up for negotiation, from operating costs to systems that need to be practiced. However, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a little wiggle room available for franchisees of emerging brands to explore.
“Emerging franchisors are more open to negotiations. Of course, that doesn’t mean that we’re going to negotiate the terms of our franchise agreement or the core of what our concept is. But it we’re willing to have conversations that will lead to system-wide improvements down the line,” said Erika Lupo, president and CEO of Acting-A-Part. “If a franchisee has an idea that they can work into our model that’s going to bring about a positive change, that’s a conversation that I want to have.”
4. Having the Franchisor’s Ear
By having more open conversations between franchisees and franchisors, local owners are able to ensure that their voice is being heard. And because there are fewer franchisees in emerging brands’ systems, their voice has the potential to be more powerful.
“As the founder behind an emerging franchise concept, we’re listening to our franchisees in the same way that we’re listening to what goes on in the corporate office. The first franchisees to come on board are going to have a stronger voice because we’re looking for that extra input and support,” Pandoria said.
5. No Middle Men
Franchising isn’t an individual activity—it takes a lot of people to make a system successful. However, emerging brands are able to get rid of some of the middle men when it comes to operations, which can be beneficial for local owners.
“As someone who worked as a franchisee for a bigger brand before starting my own franchise, I can say from first-hand experience that there are a lot of middle men and pockets to fill in a large system. That part of the equation is eliminated by joining an emerging franchise brand,” said Pandoria. “Not only does that give our franchisees more direct access to the leadership team of a brand, but it also has the potential to cut back on costs.”
6. Getting in on the Ground Level
In addition to having open lines of communication between franchisees and franchisors, local owners of emerging brands are able to get in on the ground level of their new concept. And that competitive advantage can lead to major opportunities.
“By joining an emerging franchise system, you have the opportunity to be a part of a brand that’s solidifying its place in the industry. That means you can be a part of something that’s completely new, unique and never been done before, which is an opportunity that doesn’t pop up a lot in business,” said Lupo. “Emerging franchises are more open to change, and are more likely to be on the cutting edge. It’s a lot easier to make changes with a handful of units than it is with hundreds.”
7. Being a Part of a New, Fresh System
Because franchisees break in on the ground level of up and coming concepts when they sign on to develop and own a location for an emerging brand, the system that they’re walking into is newer and fresher than other alternatives. From cutting edge technology to an up to date view on consumer behavior, emerging brands tap into the latest and greatest that the franchising industry has to offer.
“Everything is fresh when you come into an emerging franchise brand. Founders like myself have already taken the time to get rid of the kinks, and are looking for franchisees who can take their new and improved model to a new market,” said Amelia Courtney, co-founder of Pretty in Paint Parties. “That’s a huge benefit, especially for today’s generation that’s made up of millennials who prefer everything to be updated and top of the line. It’s up to us as brands to stay ahead of those trends, rather than having to catch up with the times.”
8. One-on-One Attention
Another benefit that comes with being a part of a smaller system is gaining access to one-on-one attention and guidance. Local owners who join emerging brands are never going to be overlooked in a crowd—in fact, their opinions and experiences have the potential to determine a brand’s future best practices.
“When new franchisees join emerging brands, it’s likely that the leadership team—including the founder—will be making trips out to the new locations to ensure that things are running smoothly. That type of one-on-one attention isn’t found at larger, more established brands,” said Lupo.
9. Get Ahead of the Competition
While franchisees are never competing against one another, the franchising industry itself is incredibly competitive. But entrepreneurs who join emerging brands have the opportunity to find a unique segment or niche that has been previously underserved.
“Because emerging franchises are often tapping into new segments of the franchising industry or creating their own unique spin on a segment that’s already experiencing success, their franchisees are able to capitalize on that point of differentiation before anyone else. Having that leg up on the competition shouldn’t be overlooked,” said Courtney.
10. Opportunities for Growth & Leadership
One of the biggest advantages that comes with joining an emerging franchise system is the opportunities that it creates for growth down the line. As brands expand and break into new markets, the franchisees who were there from the beginning become experts across the entire system.
Lupo said, “It’s pretty cool for the franchisees who are among the first to join an emerging brand. They get to be a part of the brand’s overall growth from day one, and have a front row seat to the concept’s evolution. And because they get to see that growth over time, those franchisees are then the ones who go on to be guides for other local owners down the line. That opens up the door to a ton of leadership opportunities down the line.”