By Jennifer Tucker
Vice President of Business Development at Homewatch CareGivers International
Taking a look at the new enterprise franchising trend.
Modern franchise owners are changing the franchise playing field. They want more and are capable of more than just sustaining the old business-in-a-box model — they have the experience and drive to rapidly launch and expand a business. Franchisors who recognize this phenomenon can support these business-savvy owners while still allowing them the freedom to grow their businesses with their own unique approach.
This new trend is Enterprise Franchising, where the franchisor works with a franchise owner to create a marketing and sales strategy based on the needs of the local community. A franchisee can then adapt the specific tools and techniques offered by a franchisor that fit their market.
The concept of Enterprise Franchising is ideal for these visionary, ambitious and self-motivated franchise owners — many of whom already have business experience under their belts. These franchisees bring a new energy to franchising that is fueling this business model.
Rather than simply maintaining a business and an existing brand, today’s franchisees do best when they are given the support, flexibility and freedom to run their businesses based on their own experiences and strengths. While working within brand guidelines, these franchisees can grow their business in the local community in unique ways that may not be as relevant to their fellow franchisees in other markets.
5 key components of the Enterprise Franchising model
- Develop market-specific strategies. In the Enterprise Franchising model, the franchisee and franchisor work collaboratively to discover unmet needs within the market and provide targeted solutions to set themselves apart from the competition. This plan also allows the franchise owner to truly understand market demographics and competition, and play to their own strengths, interests and expertise. For example, in the home care setting, franchise partners will receive equal amount of support and tools to succeed in their community, whether they decide to focus on serving clients with dementia, or establish partnerships with local hospitals and veteran’s affairs offices.
- Customize your message. Tailoring marketing materials to specific audiences is key. The messaging that works, for example, in a city, may not work in a more rural area, even if it’s in the same state. Following the Enterprise Franchising model, franchisors create marketing campaigns for various populations that can be easily adapted by franchise owners based on their market needs.
- Utilize a franchise toolbox. The franchisor should work to create an easily accessed set of tools for their franchisees. For example, for a home care franchisor, this could mean providing education and training materials for caregivers and office staff to successfully interact with a range of clientele. The tools might include anything from understanding clients living with specific chronic conditions to honoring traditions of individuals belonging to a particular ethnic or cultural group. These tools can create a framework for the business owners to follow, while the specifics may vary by location.
- Listen to your customer base. This is especially important in a service industry, where the franchisor is marketing to both consumer and business markets. The franchisor should use an approach that permits the business owner to identify and provide solutions for their clients’ unique needs and tailor their sales message accordingly. It allows the franchise owner to provide their clients with options that make sense for them, rather than overwhelming them with all the choices the company has to offer, whether they are relevant or not. This brings credibility to the owner’s expertise and lets the client know they are being heard.
- Share your story. A home page that allows the franchisee an opportunity to add local news stories, personal videos and location-specific services will allow them to make their business model their own. This also helps franchise owners ‘localize’ their pages, so that their site is more easily found and accessed by their potential clients or partners.
Today’s franchise model puts a greater emphasis on the modern franchisor meeting the entrepreneur halfway with a proven system and tools, and remains open to all that the franchisee can bring to the brand. With its targeted marketing and sales strategies, Enterprise Franchising gives franchise owners an element of control and a sense of ownership in the brand, allowing for a stronger, more successful franchise network.
Keep in mind that this new franchise model doesn’t work for every franchisor. It takes immense dedication of time and resources to develop a customized, robust toolbox of strategies for franchisees. However, well-established brands that engage with their network on this level can generate unprecedented value for their franchise owners.
About the Author
Jennifer Tucker is vice president of business development at Homewatch CareGivers International, an innovative home care franchisor. To learn more about the Enterprise Franchising philosophy of Homewatch CareGivers, visit http://www.homewatchcaregivers.com/franchise/advantage/enterprise-franchising