Should You Franchise Your Sign Business?
If you’re a sign business, or any kind of business, and are looking for ways to expand and grow your revenues, you probably know there are multiple ways to go about it. We’re focusing on one of those ways here: franchising! You have a lot to consider when making this decision, and shopVOX has some thoughts to give on that. Let’s get into the details.
Is franchising for you?
Let us first state explicitly that franchising is not for everyone. It requires a significant time and money commitment from you, the owner of the sign shop. In fact, we even recommend separating yourself from your operations to run your franchising. Let’s look at why. You first must create an FDD, or franchise disclosure document. Essentially, the FDD is a record that provides information about you, the franchisor, to a potential franchisee. The document contains facts about your company, the fees being charged, and other miscellaneous data about the business relationship between the two parties. To save time, you may want to consider outsourcing the creation of your FDD and preferably to a company that has worked on your business before. You may find some savings or other benefits there, such as having the company also create you a pre-opening manual. Aside from these cost and time considerations, it may also help you as the shop owner to get your employees’ opinions on franchising. If they love your small business and want to see other people doing what they do, this may get you over that hump of not knowing whether to franchise.
What are your hot points?
Once you have decided to go the franchising route, you then need to look at the hot points of your sign business. That is to say, what separates your sign company franchise from other franchises out there?
For you, hot points could be any number of things. Maybe a hot point is your focus on new and interesting products. Perhaps your expertise in 3D printing is unique among other franchises.
Your hot points could even involve different operational methods among you and your competitors. For instance, maybe you have a point of sale system or POS, that is connected to the back-end wholesale POS, and the two software interacted with each other. That kind of print shop software would allow you to know the price of goods from your supplier instantly inside your POS. This could make your business more efficient.
Perhaps you want to create a self-checkout process in your business. What would that look like? It may involve customers walking up to a kiosk in your store and buying sign materials like in a fast-food restaurant, selecting items from a menu. If no one else is doing that, this could be a difference-maker for you.
What separates you from other franchise opportunities?
We’ve mentioned already the importance of standing out from your competitors. Much of this will come down to whatever unique business practices you have implemented, but some of it will also come from your mindset. Let’s face it: you need the courage to succeed in business, let alone in franchising. You need confidence, pizzazz, and maybe even a little attitude. You have to know you are the best. That will surely come through in your marketing and how you approach customers. Don’t be arrogant; simply know your worth, and always follow through for customers. It is this approach that can indeed help separate you from your competition.
Understanding the costs of franchising
It is also worth reiterating that starting up a sign shop franchise will require you to take some time to understand all the costs associated with running any franchise opportunities that you secure. There are certain burdens that you know you simply have to bear to do this successfully. For instance, you have the FDD creation, trademark and copyright issues, and the creation of your operation, pre-opening, and training manuals (essentially your entire business plan). You may also look to invest in a support team or even outsource your franchise development. That last point is vital. Franchise development is where a lot of franchises fail, and it is because many businesses simply do not have the capital to hold themselves over until they actually start franchising. This is especially true when you consider that getting franchising leads can cost anywhere from $35 to $55 each. Additionally, it can take you 35 to 45 leads before you whittle those opportunities down to one good, solid lead. This is a lot of investment to make while you aren’t selling your franchise. However, if you can weather those huge commitments of time and money, franchising can be a fantastic way to expand your sign shop by getting your brand out to the masses.