TIPS FOR LAUNCHING YOUR OWN BRAND: Code Wiz founder and NextGen winner reveals six essential steps on the journey to launching your own brand.

Author:Agbaji, Ruth

You've built a wildly successful business with your blood, sweat and tears. You're passionate about your product or service. You know in every fiber of your being that your idea will fly. Yet, nagging doubts can prevent you from taking the leap into franchising.

The truth is that the road to franchising is thrilling and terrifying--and often both at the same time. However, when you have the right tools and the right mindset, you'll be better equipped to relish the roller coaster ride and gather wisdom along the way.

Here at Code Wiz, we decided to dive into franchising when we realized that we had a new concept that was replicable. We evaluated our systems and knew that we could empower potential business owners to help create the next generation of engineers. With the high demand for STEM afterschool programs, our strong brand and our well-defined processes, we chose to embark on the franchising path.

Based on our experience, here are six steps that will prepare you for your journey.

  1. Value your knowledge

    You are the expert. Full stop. You gave birth to your business and know every achievement and misstep you took on the path to your current success. To prepare for franchising, it's critical to document that knowledge. After all, your franchisees will need to replicate each system you've designed and each process you've implemented. It's also valuable to chronicle your reflections about your hits and misses. This allows you to recall why an initiative didn't work--because it might in a different location--and the rationale for the choices you made. At Code Wiz, we found that putting our operations manual together was relatively straightforward because we could easily reference documentation we'd created since day one.

  2. Find mentors

    While you're an expert in your own company, you don't start out as an expert in franchising. At the same time, it's important to build your franchise on a strong foundation. That's where mentors come in. Your best resource is people who have walked the walk. Franchising consultants can guide you through difficult situations and help you avoid stepping on landmines.

    The IFA is a great place to find people who are willing to give you advice and point you in the right direction. Good guidance sets the stage for long-term success. Finding the right consultants to work with can be tricky. This is where you rely on the network you have grown. Referrals from other businesses is your best bet for vetting the...

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