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Franchise Growth Markets: What Your Brand Should Be Focusing on for Franchise Development.

Franchise brands need to clearly define their growth markets and make that information easily available on their development websites to reach franchise candidates.

The coronavirus pandemic has forced franchise brands across many industries to shift their focus and operations, but one thing is for certain: Franchise brands are still interested in growing and expanding their footprint. For this reason, brands shouldn’t hesitate when it comes to marketing their franchise opportunity and clearly identifying the markets in which they’d like to expand. 

1851 publisher Nick Powills and franchise legal expert Charles Internicola of the Internicola Law* Firm addressed this topic in their webinar series #TheGreatReturn, in which they spoke with a variety of franchise brands across several industries about how those brands have navigated COVID-19 and how they plan to come out strong on the other side of the crisis. 

Powills and Internicola noted that brands who are successful at franchise development drive momentum through strong leadership, analytics, strategic planning and more. Franchise brands that do not focus on these important areas are missing pieces to the development puzzle and will fail to generate buzz within the industry. 

For these reasons, the leadership teams of franchise brands that want to expand their footprints need to ask themselves some key questions: 

  • Have you clearly outlined where you want to grow?
  • Have you clearly defined your growth markets?  
  • Have you built content that tells your ghost leads (in other words, prospective franchisees who have visited your franchise development website but have yet to inquire) stories about why your brand wants to grow in a particular market? 
  • Who are your top validating franchisees? 
  • Do you have room to grow in that market? 
  • How many additional locations can that designated market area (DMA) hold? 
  • How many current units do you have in the state? 
  • How many more units could the state hold? 
  • Do you have growth opportunities in neighboring states? 

Franchise brands must continue to market their franchise opportunity during COVID-19 — this is not the time to slow down. FranConnect President of Franchise Operations Keith Gerson believes that, in terms of growth, COVID-19 is what franchise brands make of it. He noted that he has spoken with a variety of franchise brands and has seen some trends. 

“I try to collect as much data as I can, and as I’ve been conducting our franchise sales index rollout for 2020, I’ve been doing live polling,” Gerson said in one of the webinars for #TheGreatReturn. “One of the things I’ve seen is that there is a self-fulfilling prophecy. There are those that are just not spending on marketing right now because they are afraid that the time’s not right and that the tone isn’t going to be correct. Then there are others that are doubling down right now. So, we tracked that there were 37 percent of franchisors that are now actually seeing more leads today than they were prior. I think that the answer to the question that was asked is very situational. There are so many factors, including what industry you are in, what kind of brand awareness you have, etc. I spoke with three franchisors today who told me they’ve never been busier than they are right now, and I’m even talking about industries that are shuttered, like the health and fitness space and salons. So I think for some, it’s what you make of it. If you don’t spend, you’re not gonna get.”

Two franchise executives who shared their insights on franchise development for #TheGreatReturn were Lightbridge Academy* Chief Marketing Officer Brenda Febbo and Sylvan Learning* Chief Marketing Officer Amy Przywara. They discussed the importance of aligning brand stories and making sure everyone within a brand is on the same page. 

Wherever brands decide to market their franchise opportunity, the human element is crucial.

“That common thread with franchisees is really understanding that personal interest and that problem that you’re trying to solve,” Febbo said. 

Authenticity, balanced with franchise development goals, is also key. 

“The elegance in all of this is to never lose who you are,” Przywara said. “We’re not a tutoring company. We’re a personal learning establishment. Our story about the consumer and the franchisee is ‘We are your neighborhood education place to come. We want to just talk to you. If you just have questions, we’ll answer them.”

*This brand is a paid partner of 1851 Franchise. For more information on paid partnerships please click here.