1851 caught up with the franchise development professionals of various brands to learn more about the state of the industry and their predictions for the year ahead.
1851: What's the number one thing franchisees are looking for in the conversations that you're having with prospects?
Jessica Fuller, Founder and CEO at The Hot Yoga Spot: A lot of times, they’ve never owned a business before, so they want to see that you have systems and processes in place and are set up for success. It’s a big investment, and they want to feel safe with your brand.
1851: Do you have an ideal franchisee in your system, and what are their qualities?
Fuller: I’m a brand-new franchisor, so we don't have any franchisees quite yet, but I know what we’re looking for: someone who wants to make a difference in their community. As a yoga studio, we prioritize health and wellness and being a leader in the community by setting an example. We’re looking for someone focused on those things who wants to give back and make a difference in their community.
1851: What's the biggest challenge facing franchise development right now and how are you overcoming it?
Fuller: Because the economy is doing so well right now, it’s tougher for franchising. There’s less motivation to leave a stable job and find the motivation to take your career into your own hands. The stable economy makes it harder to be motivated for a big change.
1851: What's one thing prospective franchisees should know about your brand and franchising in general before buying?
Fuller: I think the important thing for new franchisees to know is that we are a new system, but not a new business. We’ve been open since 2010 and have six locations that are thriving. We have really sophisticated processes and people on the team to give the same level of support of other brands with hundreds of units. Other fitness concepts have tons of locations, but those franchises will never work with the people who founded the brand. I know what it’s like to take out a loan, sign a lease and have your family depend on the business working. With a new brand like the Hot Yoga Spot, there’s a lot more opportunity for that kind of support.
1851: Why should franchisees invest in your industry and in your brand specifically, and why should they invest now?
Fuller: In general, fitness is such a big market right now. For such a long time, obesity and not working out were the norm. Those people started to feel worse and worse, and there's a revolution now to prioritize your health and quality of life. In general, this is a great place to be for health and wellness franchises. We’ll help people feel better, and it will also be lucrative.
Some people come to the Hot Yoga Spot every day and don’t go to any other studios, and they feel great and it works well for them. Others come as a supplement for other workouts. If you are doing other programs, you still need the yoga to counteract what you're doing in those workouts. Our business complements other fitness brands instead of competing with them—we’ll team up with other places and do events. It gets new clients in our doors and shows them the benefits of hot yoga that their current workouts don’t cover.