Published in Franchise Buyer Magazine, June 2016
and Franchise Asia, Vol 32, November 2016
Published in Franchise Buyer Magazine, Vol4., August 2016
Published in Franchise Buyer Jan/Feb 2016
This should be the biggest question asked in selecting and opening a new business.
If the business is already operating, then the past sales are a fairly good indication for the future sales.
On the other hand, if the business is a new business, how do you estimate what your revenue is likely to be? Whether it is a large franchised brand, your own independent coffee and/or cake shop, an ice cream or yoghurt store or any other retail business, the same basic questions need to be addressed.
How do you realistically estimate the sales in dollar terms that your new business will do?
If you are joining an established franchise chain, the Franchisor may offer to provide some information, such as the demographics of the area, and maybe a listing of phone numbers of other Franchisees for you to talk to. The final word from the Franchisor is along the lines of “Do your own due diligence, as I cannot say what sales revenues you will generate” (and you will probably be asked to sign a document confirming this).
When you are about to buy a franchise you must look at the competition both from others companies, and from the franchise brand, and ask what is a reasonable distance between stores?
Competitors are normally not a great problem, and in fact, as in the case of homemaker centres and certain types of shopping centres or shopping strips, neighbouring competition can actually be an advantage.
This is what we call “clustering”. Name a reasonably sized homemaker centre/precinct, and count the bed stores, furniture outlets and electrical retailers. Experience has shown that these retail outlets actually work best together, as the combined drawing power of the homemaker centre far outweighs the advantage of being out on their own.
Article was published on Expert Advice page, Business Franchise Australia & New Zealand Magazine Sep/Oct 2013 and Franchise Asia October 2015
Creating a Territory Plan or having Preferred Marketing Areas is a desire of most franchise systems, however evolving into a good system can be a nightmare.
Most Territory Planning exercises we handle begin from the “Beer and Pizza” approach, and in many cases have evolved at people’s discretion. The “Beer and Pizza” approach is normally when a group of management (and some franchisees), converge around a map on a Boardroom table with beer, red wine, a couple of pizzas and a black crayon, and some good ideas! Inevitably it is built around where existing stores are, or where dominant Franchisees want to have as their exclusive territory. The downside is uneven opportunity in territories, overlaps and spaces in between, which we call no man’s land.
I am a very keen Hawthorn fan, and now have the personal record of attending 7 Grand Finals in which they have played – and seen 7 Premiership wins.
So what does Hawthorn do differently from the other 17 teams in the AFL? They work to Their Rules – and do it the best way possible. Whilst I cannot say I am an expert, these are my views – and I think they have a real business connotation:
Hawthorn has been amazing at identifying young talent, and then developing it over a few years. Some of this talent comes in quickly, but they are not scared to wait and let the bigger boys develop, even if they play in the Box Hill Hawks for a couple of seasons.
Published in Franchise Asia 2015
I am surprised by how many businesses decide to opt for a franchising model with no plan for how to properly achieve it. I see businesses that have tried to do it themselves, engaged a lawyer as a consultant, or just tried a shotgun approach and fired off volleys whenever they see a problem fail miserably.
Let’s start with a franchise consultant who can take an overview of the development of the franchise.
Franchise consultants are specialists who act like conductors of an orchestra, Their job is bring in (and out) the various instruments as and when required. In our case I say our business is the first violin – needed for strategic network planning, site selection policies and territory planning – and then we pass our work back to the conductor and the client to move to the next steps.
If you are buying a retail franchise you need to understand what makes a great location.
While we can list 10 or 20 drivers or factors that lead to the success of a retail business, they have different levels of importance depending on what you are selling, and how.
For example if you are selling petrol and convenience goods, your first driver is probably the numbers of cars passing the site. If you are a restaurant owner, and have a drive through as a major part of your business, this still may be your number one driver. If you have a local restaurant – sit down and wine and dine – then the area, demographics, competition and other factors will probably be more important than traffic driving past.
Published in Business Franchise Australia and New Zealand
Many businesses we deal with are structured at marketing to other businesses (Business to Business - B2B), and therefore the logic of how to establish a territory that is normally used when you sell to consumers (Business to Consumer - B2C) goes out the window.
Many B2B businesses sell a product, the likes of printing companies such as SNAP and KwikKopy, and many sell a service. The service may be couriers such as Fastway, changing office light bulbs, or providing business loans or business insurance. Both products-based and serviced-based franchises normally need to give a territory, especially if there is central ordering, and jobs are allocated to franchisees. You want to be sure you receive all the jobs you are entitled to!
The core thinking in this type of business is we want to know where the customers – other businesses are, rather than where people live.
I have recently felt the need to send this article (a bit tongue in cheek) to a couple of friendly clients of ours who seem to move from one drama to another without any longer term thought, especially on their site selection policies. I hope you enjoy it, and if you feel it fits your situation – then it probably does! Feel free to pass on as you see fit.
When you are up to your arse in Alligators it is hard to remember that the plan was to drain the swamp...
Peter Buckingham is the Managing Director of Spectrum Analysis Australia. He is a certified Management Consultant, and a Fellow of the FCA and IMC.