Small can become big
You can never refer to an international development project as standard procedure. Every client and project is different and each deserves and gets an individual approach to ensure they achieve their objectives. However, this is a nice example of a great client, who was fun to work with and whose journey towards international success was a relatively straight path.
The client was a family run bistro concept with three outlets in Malta who was referred to us by their bank. Whilst the client was essentially a small independent business, they were very open minded and innovative and they were keen to turn what they had into something really special on the international stage.
The project was text book for us; work with the client to develop a vision and goals for the business, develop the franchise strategy, define and document the franchise operating system, develop and document the international franchise offering, take the offering to market.
This attractive offering, properly developed for international markets had great appeal. Initial successes included signing a joint venture deal with one of the largest international hotel operators, signing a master license agreement for India and being chosen to represent their country at the World Expo in China.
The client put their complete trust in us which enabled us to manage the project and guide the client through the process one step at a time to a successful conclusion. Great client, great fun and we continue work with them on the road to achieving their dreams for the business.
It pays to get it right from the start
This client was a small, family run business that was a victim of its own success and made a classic franchising mistake. Fortunately we were able to put things right and guide them to great success.
Customers of the business can make personalised jewellery inspired by their children. It is a charming and highly popular product which instantly hit the mark with the public. It was inevitable that at some point someone from overseas would see the concept and ask if they could franchise the business in their country.
Many businesses get into international franchising via such ad hoc approaches and they often end in disaster because of insufficient preparation. As with any form of franchising, international franchising should be based on a sound financial and operating model that can be rolled out in multiple territories.
The owners were so excited that someone on the other side of the world wanted to bring the concept in to their country that they had a master license agreement hastily put together and dived headlong into international franchising. At the time the company contacted us, things were going wrong but they were getting more enquiries to franchise into other countries.
We worked with the client to develop a properly structured international offering, restructured the existing international operation and helped them roll out an international franchise programme based on the new model. The client has since achieved good international growth based on sound, sustainable franchising principles and even achieved recognition in the category “Best International Franchise”, coming second only to McDonalds.
The lesson was that the client would have achieved success and the associated financial rewards sooner and avoided the initial costly mistakes if they had invested the necessary time and money in getting their international franchising package right in the first place.
Working in your best interests
International franchising is very exciting and the idea of spreading your brand around the world is very attractive. Whilst we help our clients achieve this, we also have a great deal of experience in international expansion and bring an outside view and different perspective to the project.
This particular client in the domiciliary care market was seduced by the prospect of international growth. As requested, we worked with them to develop an international offering and operating structure. The client went on to recruit their first international franchisee and all went well.
However, during the process it became clear to us that they still had huge potential for growth within the UK. After bringing this to their attention and helping them review their overall business growth strategy, they decided to concentrate on domestic growth in the short term.
There was no pressing strategic reason for the company to achieve international growth and the “Low hanging fruit” was certainly the UK market which offered the most obvious route to quick, profitable growth. However, they were now in the nice position of knowing that when the next good enquiry from an international market came, they had the structure and documentation in place to proceed in the right way with a now tried and tested system.
Our long experience of working with businesses of all sizes means we have more to offer our clients than just producing documentation. We become part of the strategic planning process, offer new ideas and contribute in many ways to helping our clients achieve their overall goals.
Turning a sows ear into a silk purse
Our client bought the European master rights to a children’s activity franchise. Unfortunately it transpired that the operating system was not defined and documented to anywhere near the standard it should have been and the level of support from the franchisor was found wanting.
Despite this our client used their own knowledge and experience to successfully franchise the concept in the UK. In fact it was so successful that they soon started to consider franchising into other countries and it was at this point that they asked for our help. Although they had operated successfully in the UK, they were savvy enough to realise that to be able to promote a credible offering elsewhere in Europe the package had to be developed and presented to a much higher standard.
We guided the client through the process of refining the franchise model, detailing the operating system and producing the required documentation. Armed with this powerful package, the client was able to realign the existing UK franchisees and recruit new sub franchisees in Europe. The new offering proved to be very attractive to the market and the success of the overseas franchise operation lead our client to approach the franchisor and request the rights for the Middle East. Eventually they bought the whole business from the franchisor.
The lesson here is that if you do not have absolute confidence in your international franchise offering we can help you and it is never too late. Better to put it right now and reap the dividends than to keep rolling out an offering with inbuilt problems that will come back to haunt you.
The rifle shot approach to finding a master licensee
Our client is based in the USA and was looking to make their first move outside of the States. This project needed a particular approach; it was the clients’ first attempt at international expansion and so naturally they were looking for us to guide them through the maze of finding a master licensee with minimum risk and the best possible outcome to launch their international programme.
Also, because they operated in the senior care market, they were looking for a partner in the UK who were not only proven commercial operators but shared their value system. The clients viewed this as paramount believing that a caring culture for the business was essential and that it should be lead from the top.
Our task was to put five qualified candidates before the CEO when he came across to the UK. The brief meant that we had to be very focused in our marketing to find this combination of business acumen and shared values.
We developed and undertook a highly targeted marketing programme which proved very effective. A short list of five candidates emerged for the visit of the CEO and two were selected to visit the head office in the USA. The master licence was awarded to the candidate that met the profile perfectly and is now operating successfully.
A more flexible approach
A major German food producer and high street retailer was seeking to expand into the UK. Our brief was to find a master licensee to invest in and develop the UK market.
However, at the time an extensive marketing programme failed to produce a corporate investor of the type envisaged by the client as the ideal candidate.
At this point we suggested a different approach and asked the question; what was most important, the ability of the UK partner to invest in the project or finding the right person with the experience and skills to drive the business? After some thought, the client decided finding the right person was the most important thing.
We now had to take a different approach and we scoured our database and list of contacts for suitable individuals. One stand-out candidate emerged and the parties were introduced.
The client was delighted and had absolute faith in the candidate’s ability to develop their business successfully in the UK, albeit not operating under the business model they had originally anticipated.
Two for the price of one
A major Australian service industry franchisor asked us to find a UK master licensee.
They were very keen to spread the net wide and see as many good candidates as possible. We instigated a major marketing campaign which produced a good number of well qualified parties interested in taking the master licence.
The short list was whittled down to two candidates who were both superb, one being more of a hands on operator and the other an investor with the funds to develop a team.
Both candidates went to meet the franchisor in Australia who could see the attributes in each. The result was that the two candidates were introduced to each other and they formed a joint business with their combined strengths benefiting the operation. Needless to say the client was very happy!