Are you the owner of a successful chain of franchises? If you’ve fine-tuned your franchise formula to create a well-known, thriving brand within your own country, then you may consider expanding into overseas markets.
But you can’t do this alone. You’ll need a master franchisee to appoint franchisees and oversee the franchise network in each new territory.
Here are the seven qualities you should expect them to possess.
1. Liquid assets.
Before franchise prospects can invest in a franchise opportunity, the master franchisee must spend money in making it available to the market. That involves an outlay not only on the master franchise itself, but also on the infrastructure of a corporate office, staff, marketing, legal services and more besides.
2. Suitable experience.
A great master franchisee often comes to the table with a resumé that says: “I know how to build large businesses with many moving parts.”
Maybe they have successfully established other franchise brands that are not in direct competition with yours across the same geography. Or maybe they operate businesses that are not franchised operations, but still include management oversight, training and support across multiple offices dispersed over a large territory.
Similarly, the prospect may operate in your very industry, but perhaps they are looking at a franchised business to build on what they already have. Whichever scenario applies, there is a skill to establishing, growing and overseeing such demanding organizations – and that track record will speak volumes about a master franchisee’s ability with your brand.
3. Leadership skills.
Franchising is a relationship business. It requires a leader to build a strong head office as well as a strong franchisee team.
Personalities are very important. When putting your brand’s operations in another country into the hands of a master franchisee, you want the kind of leadership qualities you see in successful CEOs.
4. Ability to build a culture.
This will set the moral and ethical tone for the company, ensuring that not only the head office team understands and believes in the business, but also that the ethos is communicated to franchisees and their teams.
The franchisees’ teams will have contact with the end customer and the end customer must be a beneficiary of the company culture. This culture should be deep rooted and ongoing, and it takes a talented master franchisee to communicate it properly to all points of the growing network.
5. World-class training.
Master franchisees must be able to train people.
People are drawn to franchise opportunities because they can become their own boss without having to build something from the ground up on their own. They can learn how to follow systems that will help them emulate the success of other franchisees in the network.
And training must be ongoing. It should be world-class training, not one-class training, because it will exist at multiple levels.
The perfect master franchisee must know and support this with a strong home office staff and the selection of strong franchisees and talented employees.
6. World-class business consulting.
Another foundational trait a master franchisee should possess is skill at business consulting. The master franchisee has an enormous responsibility to coach franchisees on how to run a small business. It’s a necessary service with win-win results.
7. Replication capabilities.
Copying and pasting a system created in the U.S. or another home country into a new territory, with no modifications, rarely works, as the local culture and way of doing business is a very important consideration.
In fact, this is one reason why master franchisees can be more adept at expanding a franchise concept in their own country. They know the local culture better and will be close enough to day-to-day operations to see the nuances of the business taking shape.
This is why the master franchisee must have both the right attitude and required skills to transform the U.S. or home country processes into a similar process that meets the needs of the local culture and sometimes even local laws.
Getting the right candidate – one who scores reasonably or highly on all seven criteria above – could make or break your business in new markets. So, take your time, pick the right candidate then watch your global development take off.
Mike Bidwell is president and CEO of Dwyer Group , headquartered in Waco, Texas, which has more than 2,700 franchisees across 14 service brands in 11 countries.