The Experiential Edge: How a Franchise System Can Help Set Up Distributors for Accelerated Success
If you’re a business owner, chances are good that you’re a driven individual. Many of us have had dreams of creating the next great entrepreneurial venture and becoming a rapidly growing success story. And there’s no doubt that our industry is a great place for that story to begin.
But, there’s a hard truth to striking out on your own, even with a strong entrepreneurial spirit: Building a business from the ground up is extremely difficult. There are countless tasks to stay on top of each day. Customers must be won and relationships fostered. Vendors must be managed. Finances have to be tracked. And, delivery of the highest quality products and services must continually take top priority.
You’ve probably heard the statistics before: Nearly 35 perfect of all new businesses won’t ever celebrate a two-year anniversary. Fewer than half will make it to five years.
Tackling these monumental challenges alone can be tough.
That’s why franchises thrive so well in our industry. The business model is designed to take a well thought-out and tested concept and bring it to scale. Successful print distribution, promotional products and business services franchises are often structured specifically to help support distributors. Franchisors have a unique ability to excel in that charge, because many have already tackled the hard truths and, in doing so, gained valuable experience that is transferable to franchisees. These learnings, sometimes by trial and error, often perfected over decades of experience, result in a streamlined business model that sets up distributors for success from day one, rather than requiring months of difficult process work before a new small business owner rolls the dice.
Simply investing in a franchise business without doing due diligence can also result in missteps. It’s critical to partner with the right franchisor to help ensure you’re on a strong path to growth. Those who stubbornly adhere to the “old way” of doing business and fail to recognize the needs of contemporary business promotion are primed to falter. Those who have put in the time to create forward-thinking plans for expansion, on the other hand, will be able to present the ideal mix between successful printed marketing materials and the extended reach of new and exciting digital marketing applications. Franchisors who are able to merge a strong base of printing and marketing experience with a growing array of digital products are flourishing.
It’s also the reason why a growing a number of independent print distribution, promotional products and business services businesses are now joining forces with successful and proven franchise systems. They recognize that a national brand, the support from a major network of distributors, the increase in variety of products and services they can offer to their customers, and the experience in operations the franchise system brings offers them a new advantage over their competitors.
R. Scott Sutton, CFE, is vice president of Safeguard Acquisitions Inc. and vice president of franchise development for Safeguard Franchise Sales Inc. At Safeguard, Sutton is responsible for the company’s Business Acquisitions and Mergers (BAM) program. In 2014, he was named a Dealmaker of the Year Award winner given by Franchise Times® magazine. He is a board of trustee for the IFA Educational Foundation and serves as vice-chair of its strategic planning committee. Follow Sutton on Twitter @rscottsutton