If you’re new to the world of franchising, you may have two distinct camps in mind – franchisees and franchisors. But, there are so many other critical roles within the space. One of those roles is “supplier,” and Aubree Coderre, National Sales Manager at C Squared Social, is one of our favorite suppliers.
A supplier is an approved vendor who can offer its product or service to franchises. C Squared Social, for example, is a digital marketing agency that specializes in the branding, recruitment, and “secret sauce” each brand uses to market and grow. ‘
Aubree has immersed herself in the world of franchising since she first got into the space about four years ago. Here, she shares the greatest lessons she’s learned about the industry so far.
What’s Driving Your Path to Franchise Ownership?
Fit is everything in franchising – Aubree learned this lesson while working at Zoracle Profiles, a supplier offering assessment tools to help determine franchisee-franchisor compatibility and to predict franchise performance.
So, her first piece of advice for a women considering franchise ownership or investment is to determine your values, what motivates you, and what drives you. Once you have these clearly laid out, you can find a brand that aligns with your values and will help you best meet your long-term goals.
Keep an open mind. You may think you’re interested in one brand, then come to realize a concept in a totally different space is best for you (like Debbie Lou from College Nannies, Sitters, and Tutors who initially thought she wanted to invest in a pet franchise).
The franchising world is hugely expansive, so keep this in mind when doing your research. Don’t limit yourself to just one type of business, and don’t immediately jump onto the first concept that excites you. If you keep an open mind and really buckle down to do your research, you’ll be better able to find the business that’s the best fit for you.
Determine the Type of Franchise Owner You Want to Be
If you’re thinking of buying a franchise, you know you want to be a business owner. But, what kind of owner do you want to be?
Do you want to be innovative and use your creative thinking skills to help improve your franchise system? Or, do you prefer the safety and security of following a step-by-step plan without any room for improvisation?
Do you want to be a hands-on owner, involved in every aspect of your business each day? Or, would you rather be an absentee owner who leaves the nitty-gritty to a manager?
There is a huge difference between the ways emerging brands with only a few locations (or even just a corporate location) and enterprise brands (like a McDonald’s) operate. Newer brands typically allow owners more room to help shape the growth of the business, while legacy brands tend to have cut and dry systems without room for creativity.
Determine which type of business ownership aligns best with your motivations and personality type, and then find a brand that matches. Always be authentic and always be honest. It’s all about fit, so be honest with yourself and with the franchisor to find the business opportunity that’s truly best for you.
The Importance of Networking, Education, and Mentorship
There are three keys to thriving in your franchise system – networking, education, and mentorship.
Business ownership is all-encompassing, and the feeling of always needing to work on your business can feel isolating. Luckily, one of the greatest benefits of buying into a franchise system is the benefit of being part of a larger community and network.
If you’ve been spending time in the franchise space, you’ve almost certainly heard someone talk about “being in business for yourself but not by yourself,” and this is truly a huge advantage over other types of entrepreneurship. When you buy a franchise, you have instant access to a network fellow franchisees and suppliers who can help you grow your business.
You also will be joining a community of people in franchising outside of your own brand. Attend conferences and meetings to get to know these people. The more people you meet, the more you’ll learn, and the more you learn, the better equipped you are to thrive.
It’s also beneficial to find a mentor. People in franchising, particularly women, are eager to pass the torch and share their knowledge with others. If you ask for help, you’re going to get it. On the other hand, if you’re the type of person who prefers to work alone and do things your own way, franchising is probably not the best fit for you.
Where can you meet people to learn and network? Aubree recommends connecting through your regional Franchise Business Network meetings, and conferences like the annual International Franchise Association Conference and Multi-Unit Franchising Conference.
But, don’t underestimate the power of networking and learning from others in person. You’ll have limited time as a business owner, and you can really make the most of it by engaging with inspiring, knowledgeable experts, both inside and outside of the brand you buy into.
There is so much to learn when it comes to the franchise space, and a plethora of resources to help you figure it all out. Meet people, educate yourself, and find a mentor to help you realize and meet your business goals.
Aubree’s advice is to “Show up. Be present. Get involved. Be engaged.” Do this, and you’ll be on your way to franchisee success.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended as an offer to sell, or the solicitation of an offer to buy a franchise. It is for informational purposes only.
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