Meeting the challenges and opportunities facing your franchise brand: smart management makes an honest and strategic assessment of opportunities and challenges.

Author:Mitchell, Bill

THE LAUNCH OF A new calendar year is always a good time to review business goals, milestones achieved and areas for potential growth in the year ahead. Every type of business offers its own range of unique opportunities and challenges, and this is certainly the case when it comes to franchising.

Opportunities and creative ways to implement them are as rich and varied as are the types of franchise businesses, but challenges also abound. A marketing tactic that works for a franchisee in Los Angeles may not be quite so successful in Des Moines. An incentive strategy that is a home run in New York could be a recipe for failure when offered in Berlin or Munich. And then there's always the ever-present challenge from competition.

Smart management will make an honest and strategic assessment of both the opportunities and challenges in myriad areas that can range from international expansion to store design, from new franchisee recruitment incentives to solidifying relationships with existing franchisees, and from focusing on operational excellence to expanding technology tools and systems.

Authentic, Fresh and Relevant Store Design As with all assessments, best practices should always be filtered through the sharp lens of the particular brand. What might work for a health and wellness company may not be appropriate for a business in the education space. Strategies that rocket an ice cream franchise's sales may not apply whatsoever to a tire business. Keeping the brand and its unique characteristics at the forefront of all decision-making will allow a brand to stay authentic to its heritage and design creative ways to stay fresh and relevant to its customers.

Being fresh and relevant for Baskin-Robbins meant rolling out a new store design in 2013. The new design featured "supergraphic" artwork showcasing our brand's "31 Flavor" legacy juxtaposed with a new brand logo and an updated theme. Other creative touches included digital menu displays and our brand's iconic pink spoon incorporated throughout the redesign, even in novel, spoon-shaped door handles. Not only was the physical store image updated in multiple ways, we implemented a revived focus on the current franchisee profitability model and rolled out robust, new prospective-franchisee incentives.

Incent Franchisees--New, Existing and Military

Incentives can be a great way to attract prospective franchisees to your system in both new and existing markets. Strong consideration should also be given to franchisees...

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