What are the benefits of franchising? Experts shed light on business and franchise for sale opportunities
You are ready to be in business for yourself. Buying an independent business seems to have all the trimmings of the kind of fantasy that motivated you to become an entrepreneur in the first place. There is excitement about the idea of having vast freedom to set your own rules with your own vision, control over human resources, sole discretion over choosing suppliers to buy from in order to get off the ground, scouting and securing the best location AND of paramount importance, selecting the presentation of your concept – your ultimate brand message to be unleashed on an unforgiving and temperamental community of consumers. On your own, all these decisions and your success (or failure) are weighted firmly on your pumped-up, independent shoulders. With this much creative and innovative freedom, it sounds like a dream. However, very much like the 16 year old that takes off for Hollywood to become a renowned star, there are realities beyond the fantasy that need to be faced. While storming into the business world on your own allows for full creative and innovative freedom, your entire investment hinges on choices you might make on your own that even with great motivation and the best of intentions could very well destabilize your business.
One monumental and crucial task involved in opening a new business is developing a feasible business plan and constructing your brand image. When you choose to merge your creative vision with a reputable franchisor, you become infused with a lineage of success and become armed with an established, respected brand, which is the first of many advantages franchise opportunities offer. As you become part of their tradition, they are vested in your success with the force of a formula that has been proven over many years, with wrinkles long ironed out of the system. Your potential customers will flock to you by association with the right brand and the edge this provides in terms of trust, loyalty and long-term growth is valuable beyond what could possibly be attained on a lone business path. On the flip side, independent start-ups run big risks without such allies alongside them and have seen and unseen pitfalls that can cause failure and crushed dreams.
Proven Model Others Have Tested
Bob Davidson, successful owner of Minuteman Press in Tigard, OR, considered carefully the decision to go forward in business as a franchise owner, as he shares, “I was looking for a franchise opportunity specifically, because I had not been in business myself previously and my education was not in the business or management fields. My rational was that a franchise would offer a proven, tested and successful template to both guide and follow, ensuring a higher probability of success.”
Bob’s thorough exploration involved franchising as well as independent options for entrepreneurship. There came a time when a stand-out winner emerged among the “business/franchise for sale” options. He elaborates, “I had examined a number of business opportunities, some as franchises and some not. Of all that I examined, I found Minuteman Press to be the most practical, logical, well organized and easy to understand. I found the Minuteman staff to be believable, friendly, open and honest in what I was told. This was verified by my numerous visits to other local owners, both with and without the Minuteman staff present.”
Brand Awareness: The “Trust Element” is Already There
When deciding between a franchise and an independent business concept, consider your own personality and be realistic in terms of aligning your “dream” with a reality that will actually function to generate a worthwhile return. Starting a new business that you have imagined will yield wealth for you is essentially freewheeling with your own money, and for what? While franchises have some strict operating rules and pricing guidelines, it must be understood that the operational functionality of a well-run business as established by a solid system -this conformity- is of enormous value as it strengthens the brand image and your investment right along with it. Within this healthy framework, if you have never run a business, ample opportunity to gain experience as a successful business owner is done with a stress-relieving degree of protection. Similarly, if your personality is inclined towards flexing your managerial skills while being supported by a fleet of experts, owning and operating a franchise is simply ideal.
That people will know your name (the priceless familiarity afforded to franchisees) plus the instant confidence that the quality of the products and services will be consistently excellent extends directly into your investment. Free of the unruly and chancy assignment of starting from scratch, the trust element attached to the consistency of the product, store design and operations is a major benefit that a great franchise offers. Further, a banquet of customers will likely take less time to gather and secure long term, which could very well lead to bigger profits earlier than would be possible when starting out as an independent business.
You Are Never Alone When It Comes to Support
Greg Duffey, owner of Minuteman Press in Norwalk, CT, was enlightened by observing a friend who took advantage of a digital print, design and marketing franchise opportunity. This allowed Greg to have a first-hand opportunity for a Minuteman Press franchise review. Greg explains, “Back in 2003 when we were considering going into business for ourselves, we looked at a couple of independent shops. Because we were from the printing trade, we did “snub our noses” upon franchise printers as being companies that were not “real” printing companies. But having watched a friend of ours purchase a Minuteman Press franchise a year earlier, we thought we would give the franchise a look. 12 years later we are happy to say that it was the best decision we could have made. We are grateful for having been in the business prior to purchasing the franchise, but operating a business on a day-to-day basis was where we found the franchise to be most helpful. Not only did Minuteman Press International have a first class management software package, they also had name recognition in the quick-print industry which was greatly beneficial. Not that “Joe & Greg’s Printing” wouldn’t have done well, but we feel that buying into a Minuteman Press franchise gave us opportunities that an independent shop might not have.”
Greg’s decision to invest in a Minuteman Press franchise was the result of significant research and thoughtful consideration into independent as well as franchise opportunities, with the scales tipping well in the favor of a grand, successful tradition that would be a constant source of support, with alliances from fellow franchise owners throughout his journey. As he explains, “An independent shop is just that – alone. Whereas the franchise model is similar to being part of a large family – they are there when you need them. When times are great and all is well, you may find you need them less. But when times are bad, or you are struggling, or you simply want some business advice, it’s nice to know that MMP, Int’l is there to offer support and help in the growth of your business. And being part of this franchise also offers the camaraderie of other owners who can offer support, whether it’s technical or moral. The bottom line being that you are never alone.”
Mass Purchasing Power
Chris Lewis, owner of Minuteman Press in Woodinville, WA, reveals more of the reality that opposes the idea that independent business ownership means freedom because it is actually an illusion considering the many delicate negotiations you would be forced to manage alone. Chris shares, “Independent business owners do not have the purchasing power to negotiate purchase and maintenance contracts for their needed equipment. The savings can be significant on high end equipment. Independent business owners do not have estimating programs that are geared specifically to their business – franchises continue to monitor trends and update programs to ensure franchisee success. Additionally, with today’s society, web presence is significant. With a franchise reputation like Minuteman Press you are automatically a presence in your area due to the well-known name. A name that not only transcends the United States but several countries as well.”
Why not “Independent”?
Minuteman Press International Regional Vice-President for NY, NJ and CT, Jim Galasso shares a story to illustrate an answer, “How do you compete? Let’s say you decided to open your own hamburger restaurant. How do you compete with the ‘big name’ hamburger franchise opportunities? First off, you have to pay top dollar for everything you buy while they buy everything together; they buy the rolls together, the napkins together, the fries together AND they get a big discount because they are buying possibly twenty to thirty times more than you. Second, you could make the best hamburger in the world, but nobody knows it. They have a ‘big-brand-name’ franchise and their product is proven and well known. Let’s say you want to advertise your business by taking out some sort of ad and let’s just say the ad cost $500.00. If they want to advertise their business, they call up five other owners in the local area and buy a bigger ad and pays 1/5th the cost. So how do you compete? YOU CAN’T!”
So, it seems that camaraderie comes into play with the analogy offered by Mr. Galasso. It may be clichéd, but being part of a team means being fortified by allies under the same brand and if the brand is strong enough, your motivation and pride will couple with the mentorship and support granted by your franchisor and there could be virtually no limit to the heights your profits can reach. THAT is true freedom.
Learn more about Minuteman Press franchise opportunities at www.minutemanpressfranchise.com.