Although some clever entrepreneur may one day launch one, there presently exists no “University of Franchising,” offering instruction to those with businesses they wish to franchise.
Sure, information is available to budding franchisors, some of it fairly worthy. An internet search on franchising a business will turn up articles enough for many hours of reading. Bookstore shelves hold the latest in hardcover wisdom on the topic. And some of us have friends or family who’ve taken their start-up along the franchising path, and who possess experience and tips to share.
The Franchisor School of Hard Knocks
But like so much in life, there’s no substitute for walking the walk. This means opening a couple of franchise units and gaining experience of one’s own – experience that’s often costly and painful. Textbook learning, of the kind that might be offered at a Franchise U, has its place in a complete franchising education. Franchisors in the real world, however, always benefit greatly from an internship worked in the field. In other words, they just do it, and learn the hard way.
Even the most seasoned, astute business people launch franchises with carefully-laid plans, have studied and read and listened, and still take their lumps in the marketplace. Why? Because franchise businesses are a world apart, unlike any other small business enterprise the typical entrepreneur will encounter.
Here are some first steps that give a new franchisor the best chance at success: first, get your franchise started. Second, count on spending some money, making some mistakes and, most important, learning a great deal. And third, consult with an experienced, reputable franchise development company.
A Place to Mingle With People You Will Learn From
The International Franchise Association (IFA) is the single greatest source of knowledge, experience and ideas available to a new franchisor outside of starting and growing a franchise on one’s own. Business people brand-new to the franchising industry reap huge benefits from contact with IFA folks from all walks of franchising life, ranging from old pros holding thousands of franchise units to newbies just like themselves. Joining the IFA and soaking in all that the membership and staff have to offer is a must for new franchisors.
The best education for the person with a killer franchise idea and the ambition to set it in motion? Don’t overlook what experienced professionals can teach – they’re the tenured professors of franchising. But down in the trenches is where the most valuable lessons are learned.