THE LINCHPIN OF INTERNATIONAL FRANCHISING: SUPPLIERS: International growth doesn't happen in a vacuum --and the right supplier partners can simplify the process for franchisors.

Author:Portesy, Tom

While franchisors know that the key to international growth is through master franchising, the franchisors that have the most success growing overseas are the ones that understand they get by with a little help from their friends: suppliers.

From brokers, portals and sales agents to attorneys, accountants, public relations firms and quality franchise expo producers, there are countless suppliers that each play an important role in a franchisor's international growth. In particular, franchisors should look to these professionals to avoid the common pitfalls associated with bringing on a master franchisee. The right suppliers can, so to say, clear the field of land mines.

Here are some tips for leveraging suppliers in your international franchising efforts.

Know the market.

Whether it's your first international expansion or you've been developing outside your borders for years, knowing the market intimately is vital to your success. Take advantage of IFA members that know your target region and the IFA's international trade missions, where you can gain market research and connections to the right partners.

Develop a network within each country.

Effective networking will help you build the network you need to grow. Local attorneys, for example, make sure franchisors are entering the market in the best possible structure by identifying the dos and don'ts early in the process. Financial professionals such as accountants and bankers can provide significant insight from the very start, as well.

Find the right partner.

The primary reason many master license owners fail is because they don't have the expertise and systems in place to act as a franchisor. Most are only trained to be good franchisees, falling short of what's required to develop a country. And we all know it's...

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