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Why Understanding Your Brand’s Assets is Crucial for Franchise Growth

Winning at franchise growth takes more than money; it requires internal asset management. 1851 spoke with Eric Martin of Happinest Brands, Laura Coe of Snapology and Pete Baldine of Moran Family of Brands to discuss internal leverage points.

When franchisee candidates contemplate investing in a concept, there are many factors that play into how they ultimately make the decision to buy. Evaluating a brand’s assets is essential to understanding how to appeal to new candidates, close sales and promote franchise growth. 

A Mission-Driven Product

First, franchisees need to believe in the product or service that the brand offers. They need to know that the product or service that they will be selling helps to solve problems, adds value to the community and is part of a greater mission. Franchisees are also customers, and candidates need to believe in the transformation that the franchise opportunity represents. Therefore, it is essential to define the tangible, real-world assets that help customers and franchisees achieve their mission. 

Laura Coe, CEO of supplemental education franchise Snapalogy, notes how important it is to leverage a strong foundation and pivot business models in order to position franchisees for success in today’s world. “The tangible assets of a consumer offering, operating model and support infrastructure are critical when developing a sales process,” said Coe. “Whether it is a CRM system or a proprietary curriculum, tangible assets are what sets brands apart from the competition. When candidates buy a franchise, they want to be able to follow the model and succeed. It is also important to be constantly evaluating consumer-facing assets to ensure that they are relevant and engaging.”

In order to appeal to new franchisees, a brand’s mission should be primarily focused on the problems that they solve for customers. Franchisees value mission and want to be a part of the greater good. No matter the industry, brands aren’t just serving burgers, providing massages or preparing tax returns — they’re solving problems and improving lives. A brand’s mission needs to be built around that vision, and all content needs to align to validate the opportunity.

“We are in the automotive segment — it is a mature industry, so we don’t necessarily bring in franchise candidates because they love getting their car fixed,” said Pete Baldine of Moran Family of Brands. “Therefore, we need to show franchisees why we are such a strong business opportunity and the assets that we have to position them for success. In addition, there is a certain amount of education that needs to take place in our process to show that candidates don’t need to be an automotive professional, as we provide the tools needed to implement strategies successfully. We also have all of the statistics to show why the automotive industry is a good place to be. Still, a passion for our offering is a huge plus.”

In order to define the franchisee mission, a brand should ensure that it has a clear vision for how it will create franchise sales momentum and growth in the marketplace. Once that mission is put into place, stories and sales tools need to be developed and shared. Even if the candidate doesn’t have a background in a particular industry, the mission is what will bring them in.

The Leadership Team and Support Infrastructure

When it comes to leveraging the assets of an in-depth sales process, Baldine also notes how important it is to have the right team in the right seats. “A strong franchisee support infrastructure is perhaps one of the most important assets when it comes to franchise growth,” he said. “If you haven’t established that support culture, franchisees won’t be able to see the value of the system, the advertising efforts or the business model. The foundation has to be there first before focusing on development. For example, our brand regularly evaluates all of the team players, which really helps establish a strong culture. The end result of this data-driven analysis filters down to the franchisees and makes a big difference. We built our franchise development story based on who we are and how we support franchisees. One of the greatest connections is the confirmation that comes during Discovery Day — the actions of our team confirm everything we claim during the sales process.” 

While established brands may already have this support infrastructure in place, the benefits of an emerging brand include the ability to create a culture from the ground up as opposed to trying to instil core values after an acquisition. “Even if you have small teams, putting the groundwork in place is essential in order to leverage the people and assets that you have to promote franchise growth,” said Coe. “Strengthening our core has always led to growth for us — the money that we have spent on foundational support is our key asset. Happy franchisees bring in more franchisees.”

Franchisee Validation

That infrastructure of franchisee validation is also a crucial asset for growth. Franchisors should utilize the brand’s top validators and ensure that prospects can find those stories online. If a brand has great franchisees with great stories, the resulting franchise marketing, advertising, public relations and digital will now help in the diligence process. The franchise candidate should be directed to existing franchisees with similar profiles through content and stories on a brand’s site. The purpose of the website or online activities is to engage the candidate so they want to learn more.

Eric Martin, Vice President of Franchise Development for Happinest Brands, the umbrella company of Lawn Doctor*, Mosquito Hunters* and Ecomaids*, notes the importance of validation. “For our brands with a high number of established owners, Happinest leverages that validation to show value,” he said. “In terms of the questions that franchisees ask in regards to assets, candidates want to know how quickly they can succeed and how they can get in touch with other franchise owners. Establishing trust with franchise owners takes years — it is important to align all messaging so it is consistent across the network. Franchise Advisory Councils can be very beneficial in this regard. When a candidate reaches out to another franchisee, it is important that the development team has communicated with established franchisees to ensure that everyone is on the same page. When franchisees talk to prospects, they are the ones that are able to prove that this model really works.”

Once the validation is in place to create highly motivated franchisees, narrowing down the growth targets helps make sure the sales process is more focused. 

Territory Availability and Growth Stories

Next, make sure that the buyer can easily find the cost to open the franchise and knows where they can grow. When it comes to franchise development, it is important to have clearly defined growth markets. Creating content about why now is a great time to buy into the brand is also a strong asset. In addition, a well-organized list of dead leads creates a stronger opportunity for growth in particular markets. 

Hosting a webinar or Zoom meeting to educate dead leads about brand updates, including support and target markets, is more important than ever. Also, document a time capsule moment — a video or story in which the franchisor and franchisee highlight the validation of current support. To further emphasize growth, find the top five stories or media placements about the brand over the last three years and share them.

“When it comes to franchise development assets, we have a robust system of reviews, brochures, Zoom webinars and more,” said Martin. “It is all about having a story, especially as an emerging brand with available territory. That growth conversation needs to happen right away when talking to candidates.”

Through efficient management of a brand’s assets, the franchisor will be in a better position to appeal to new, qualified candidates. By leveraging the right points, franchise brands can ensure that they will create healthy growth by attracting the best people to their brand.

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