Today’s global marketplace has made it easier than ever to grow a business internationally, and franchising offers a proven way to achieve that expansion. Even though international franchising is a growing trend, going global is a big step that comes with lots of challenges such as cultural differences, language barriers, unexpected costs, unfamiliar regulations and legal issues, as well as the simple logistics of operating a business from a different country. If you’re considering going international with a new or existing franchise system, keep these tips in mind.
#1 Get an Impartial Business Evaluation
Have an experienced franchise consultant evaluate your business model and advise you whether it’s suitable for and ready to franchise internationally. An evaluation can tell you whether your business meets a need in a particular foreign location, if it can be easily replicated there and if it’s likely to appeal to both consumers and franchisees in that country.
#2 Research Country-Specific Franchising Regulations
Different countries have unique rules and restrictions regarding the buying and selling of franchises, and the documentation you’ll need to provide to franchisees, so you’ll need to research the regulations for the markets you’d like to enter to learn exactly how to proceed.
#3 Factor in Cultural and Social Differences
Every country has its own unique cultural and social differences that you’ll need to define before you begin your expansion. You may need to adapt the product or service your franchisees offer, the way the company interacts with its customers or your overall approach to marketing.
#4 Protect Your Brand
Once you’re aware of any cultural or social differences and have made the appropriate modifications to your current branding, apply for trademarks and copyrights in the country where you plan to expand. This should be done early on, before you begin marketing efforts.
#5 Define Your Target Market and Unique Advantages
You’ll need to be able to show prospective franchisees that you have a concept that can compete in their marketplace. The more knowledge you have of the local market, the better you can communicate with potential candidates.
#6 Develop an Achievable Expansion Plan
You’ll need a business plan with a realistic budget and achievable goals, as well as training, support and marketing programs tailored to the specific country or countries where you plan to expand.
#7 Have a Verifiable Track Record
Viable international candidates will want to do their own due diligence about your concept’s track record in the United States.
#8 Establish a Company Intranet
An intranet is a cost-effective method for managing your business and providing 24/7 access to training and support for your international franchisees, regardless of what time zone they’re in.
#9 Develop a Monitoring Strategy
Make sure that your business standards and reporting processes are well defined, and develop a system for monitoring your overseas franchisees to ensure that they are following your procedures.
#10 Seek Out Expert Guidance
- Input and feedback from someone with a track record in international franchising can be invaluable when you’re just getting started.
- You can gain industry insight, and get help and advice on all the unfamiliar aspects of international expansion, such as the:
- Feasibility and intricacies of entering different foreign markets.
- Fine-tuning of your concept and brand.
- Creation of financials, franchise disclosure documents and master sales agreements.
- Development of procedure, operation and marketing guidelines.
If you’re ready to learn more about international franchising, contact us today at Accurate Franchising.