How do I franchise my business? (The Right Way)

Building your business into a franchise system is one of the most important and expensive strategic moves you will make in the next 10 years. Why would you risk launching it without some seasoned, been-there-nailed-it guidance?

Most Canadian franchise systems have less than 10 units; the average is about three.  But no founder starts a franchise system with the goal of only reaching 10 locations. So why aren’t more franchise systems in Canada successful?

The answer can be traced back to their start-up.

Most franchisors don’t start the right way, and then can never get on the track to success and profitability. How Do I Franchise My Business (The Right Way)?

How do we know?

At Franchise GrowthLab, our team has founded, built and scaled some of the largest systems in Canada, so we truly know how to start a franchise business. Since selling our own franchise systems, we have helped start some of the fastest-growing brands in the country. And we also study this stuff methodically. It’s our specialty.

We have spent decades honing our Hartify Method for Starting a New Franchise.

Plus, we have pulled together the most experienced team in creating and launching successful franchise systems in Canada. 

Why would you entrust the most important decision you have made since you started your business to someone who has never built their own system before?

Franchise your business, sales and operation

Do you want to franchise your business? Here is a snapshot of the Hartify Method for Starting a New Franchise.

A full deep dive, immersive business analysis:

We love getting deep inside of your business. This is where the magic really happens. We will get to know everything there is to know about what you do and how you do it, developing a full business and unit economic model.

The Franchisor Business Model.

How do you maximize profit for both the franchisor and franchisee? This is a fine line that we have honed for years to define the key components of the business model such as royalties, franchise fees, tech and marketing fees, territory sizes, etc. This makes a world of a difference between running a highly-profitable, expanding operation, or one that just gets by. 

Operations Manuals.

Over the years, we have seen hundreds of manuals and 99% of them look and sound the same, full of boilerplate, nondescript pages of stuff that your franchisees likely won’t ever read.  The real value of our Operations Manual process – when you take the time to write a truly useful document that packages your most important systems in a clear, concise and detailed manner – can be found in two places:

  1. In the S.O.P.s, checklists, and step-by-step procedures for your most important, essential, non-negotiable systems.
  2. The fact that your Operations Manual will form the basis for your Franchisee Training Program.

You can choose to write your own manuals – that’s what I did when i started my franchise system(it took me a full year, allocating every Friday morning to writing), and it is the best way if you have the time and the ability to do so. But most founders can’t afford the time, so they outsource this function.

Training

One of the most important stages in the success of any system is launching new locations. If the Operation Manuals is the warm up, the Franchisee Training Program is game time. Really, the Operations manual process builds the training process, so these two shouldn’t be done in silos. Make sure whomever writes your manuals also has a big hand in shaping your Training Program.  

Very few founders make good trainers. I certainly do not. It drives me crazy – I simply don’t have the patience that a strong trainer has to have. Nor do I truly understand how to train someone properly. I do know that you must get super clear and detailed on your must-have systems, and then tailor the training program to suit.

It also can also be a make or break for your franchisees – you don’t want to get this one wrong. Down the road, a good Training Program can be the sole difference in your franchisees hitting break-even 6 months faster because they were trained on the right things, at the right time, in the right way. Spend some money here if you have it and can.

The Onboarding Process

The metrics and numbers will define the franchisee launch and onboarding process. Franchisors are often surprised at this, until we explain it. Your entire onboarding process needs to be filtered through one lens: how do we launch every franchisee as successfully as humanly possible? The metrics will define this number (what we often refer to as the “Magic Number”). Once we know this number, then we can build everything according to suit, from the day a franchisee signs a franchise agreement to the day they launch their location.

Our Start Up (and ongoing) Marketing Systems

One of the most important parts of starting a franchise business (to me, it is THE most important) is setting up an Opening Marketing program. We have the Magic Number to achieve success once a franchisee opens the doors, now how do you execute on this? What levers do you need to pull to empower your franchisees to achieve this? What kind of pre-sales process do you need? The unit economic model will define everything from the amount of money spent, to the timing of the entire marketing process to the lead generation tactics and strategies to get a new location up and running and thriving. 

Franchise disclosure and agreements.

How many Franchise Disclosure Documents do you think our team has analyzed over the years? Hundreds, and hundreds. In fact, a member of our team has a strange fascination with them – he loves to read these documents (he will remain unnamed in order to protect his dignity). We are not lawyers, but if you work with Franchise GrowthLab, you won’t get a boilerplate agreement that is a one-size-fits-all draft. Your FDD will contain your must-have compliance programs tied in with the actual ops of your business..

We embed the mechanisms around the right operational standards and then develop a plan for you to execute so that you have a beautiful, consistent brand. (These are the things most franchisors finally learn to do at the 50+ locations mark).

We will share our insights with your legal team or happily introduce you to some of the best franchise lawyers in the country to help protect everyone involved. We will also show you how to demystify the Franchise Disclosure Document for potential candidates in the franchise sales process,  as it can be a large obstacle for many.

A compliance system.

You are aiming to build a strong brand and it’s your duty as a franchisor to protect it. There are really two options for doing that, the carrot and the stick. We will help build out a robust system of what the carrot option will look like for your system. Having this system in place will greatly mitigate having to turn to the stick method, which is no fun for anyone.

Franchise Sales Lead Generation Strategy

In a typical franchise launch, it can take a long time to begin to generate enough leads to convert to a franchise sale. Often a sale never comes. With Franchise GrowthLab, if you build it, SALES WILL COME. We can guarantee that. Franchise lead generation is one of our specialties, and our New Franchise Launch clients are starting with 50-60 non portal leads in the opening month and climbing from there. That will get you some traction right off the bat, because  you will need it.

The Hartify Method for Franchise Sales

Once you generate the right leads, you better maximize the conversion of these leads into franchise sales. But it is easier said than done and Franchise Sales is often the system emerging franchisors struggle with the most. Franchise Sales are a different kind of sale than anything else you have ever sold. Have you ever sold a product that will cost someone their life savings and includes a 250-page legal document that will essentially take it all away with one mis-step? We believe that Franchise Sales is a science and our team will teach you this science so you can master it. We are so good at it that we have designed an entire product around it (it is our most in-demand tool).

The Hartify Method for Coaching, Operations & Support

Once a franchisee is up and running, you will need a Coaching System that will help drive the performance of your franchisees. What are you coaching your franchisees on? How do you structure the franchise support program? How do you ensure your partners focus on the right things at the right time? What are the benchmarks you want to help coach your franchise partners to achieve? What happens when things go wrong, when your franchisees don’t follow your system? This is just a small taste of the systems we will build into your business and teach you to execute.

Scale up plan

As your system grows, you will need to be a step ahead in your growth as a franchisor. At Franchise GrowthLab, we have seen (and been part of) systems that have successfully grown from 0 to 300+ locations and have also learned that to achieve this, you need a great team in place. We also know the specific technology you will need to implement to make your team as efficient as possible and allow you to scale more effectively (while watching the bottom line). Key Outcomes of this part of our Method? Future hiring requirements and a plan, plus the technology and vendors to help you scale your franchise system.

What I’ve mentioned so far is a lot of stuff to do. There is more to building your franchise system, but that’s enough for today. For the extra keeners, we have a Blog full of research on this.

Why Should You Work with Franchise GrowthLab When Starting Your New Franchise Business?

We will save a lot of future pain and suffering (guaranteed)

We will build a model and system that will allow you to not only start your franchise system but also SCALE it. We don’t want you to merely launch; we want to see you build a powerhouse brand and truly scale your impact across the country. We will achieve this by helping your team incorporate the correct systems from DAY 1, that you will use to build and grow your business beyond  50+ locations.

See why this is important.

We will save you a LOT of money.

So how much does it cost to franchise your business? You can read it here. Whether it is missing systems we will identify and build for you, the money you save by using our preferred suppliers, the money we will make you by nailing the right royalty/franchise fee structure, or the fact that you will sell franchises faster and they will get off to a quicker start, we save and make our clients a lot of money.  In fact, I bet our lead generation strategy alone will save or make you more money than you spend with us to get started the right way.

We will help you scale your impact a lot faster.

Our clients have fast starts. They have all launched generating an average of 60+ leads per month which a lot of leads for a new franchise system. Did we mention we were experts in lead generation and franchise sales?

Just take a look at look at some of our results:

In the past 12 months:

8000: # of (non-portal) franchise leads we have generated for our clients (if you don’t know what “non-portal leads” means, make sure you call us so we can fill you in)

78: # of Franchise Sales

3: average # of franchises sold by our Franchise GrowthLab New Launch clients in the first 3 months. (1 per month – that is pretty awesome for a start-up considering that 67% of all new franchisors do not have a single franchise location 2 years after launching!)

1600: # of pages of Operations Manuals written.

Franchise consulting services

We only work with a select number of start up franchise businesses per year.

We get super deep, super engaged and super passionate about the start-up franchise brands we work with. It is intense work that requires a lot of our energy and focus, so we only take on a few launches each year. This means we get to be highly selective in who we choose to work with. The companies we choose are founded by passionate entrepreneurs who have the hustle and desire to build a truly national or international brand, and have built a base business that is doing something highly unique in their space.

If you would like to understand how to start a franchise business the right way, here is what you need to do:

  • Download a copy of the 10 Habits of Best In Class Franchisors here
  • Book a call with us. Don’t worry, it will be fun. We will talk all about franchising. Make sure you are ready for it because even if we don’t work with you, you will get a lot out of our calls as we make sure  a) you are ready to franchise (we actually talk a lot of potential franchisors out of franchising for the time being) and b) you learn what needs to go into launching your system.
  • Join our waitlist (Yes, unfortunately, we do have a waitlist. Our “How to Start a Franchise Process” is super time intensive, so we will only work with a select number of new start up franchise businesses at any given time.)

Franchising is a MASSIVE Decision.

You will spend a lot of time putting everything together to start your new franchise system. Then you will spend a lot of money on finding the right franchisees. Next, you will spend A LOT of money on training and supporting those franchisees. But you could bypass so much of this spending, so many of the mistakes that you are likely going to make, by giving our team at Franchise GrowthLab a call.

We get a lot of questions on our first call. Here are the answers to some of them.

This is the magic question. We have one price for all of our New Franchise Launch clients. It’s no secret. Book a call to find out how to start a franchise and how much it will cost. 

Before you begin selling franchises, you will need:

  1. Your Business model and Operations Manual ready to go (this usually takes about 3 to 4 months, depending on the complexity of your business).
  2. Your Franchise Disclosure Document (this takes about two months). Only then can we begin to develop your:
  3. Lead generation strategy and Franchise Sales process. Then together we continue to backfill the rest (like Training!).

We usually can start to market around five months into the process.

We can work with just the Founder to build and get launched. However, once we start marketing, you will get 50,70,100+ leads per month, which is a lot of leads to handle!  At that point, you will either need a dedicated Franchise Sales person, or we can introduce you to our in-house Franchise Sales team, and they can help you bridge the gap until you are ready to make the full-time hire. 

Once you launch a few locations, you may also need an Operations person. Again, we build the system, you put the person in place. We end up helping you make that hire: the who, the what and the how, and then get them trained up so they can raise the game for your franchisees.

Why do we put so much work into this? Because we know that the right system+ right person equals the start of a successful franchise brand!

We can work with just the Founder to build and get launched. However, once we start marketing, you will get 50,70,100+ leads per month, which is a lot of leads to handle!  At that point, you will either need a dedicated Franchise Sales person, or we can introduce you to our in-house Franchise Sales team, and they can help you bridge the gap until you are ready to make the full-time hire. 

Once you launch a few locations, you may also need an Operations person. Again, we build the system, you put the person in place. We end up helping you make that hire: the who, the what and the how, and then get them trained up so they can raise the game for your franchisees.

Why do we put so much work into this? Because we know that the right system+ right person equals the start of a successful franchise brand!

We kind of did. We were lucky enough to hire a COO from one of Canada’s fastest growing franchise systems to help show us the ropes in the earliest days. I also built a Board of some of the best franchisors in the business. I would say this all helped us to leapfrog our start-up and learning period by a 10x factor. Hartify Franchise Consulting brings the exact same expertise and know-how to new Franchise systems as I had when we started out.

Hmm. I could write chapter after chapter on this one. Read the blog posts on this site for sure. But quickly:

 – We were fastidious learners. I went to every show, I hired every smart franchise person I could, and we executed on what we learned. Learn. Execute. Repeat.

 -We focussed on our company’s culture early on. It sounds blasé, but it is the real secret to franchising. We architected it from the ground up.

 -We never lost sight of the fact that our partners always had to make more money. It drives me. It drove us. We were constantly figuring out how the business model could make more money for franchisees. And over time, franchisees really appreciate that.

It’s a common question and the simple answer is: we all do. Our team at Hartify Franchise Consulting – see here – is seasoned in franchising. The Hartify Method is a patented process and system we have developed over many years. One of our launch specialists is the lead – Patrick and Serena. But we all become involved at some point. John gets serious on strategy, all things marketing and sales (consumer model and franchise); Patrick is our numbers and metrics geek; Hersh and Travis implement the Hartify Method for Franchise Sales; Julian comes in when it comes to tech. Serena keeps us all on track. We have a well-oiled machine and you will meet each and every one of us at some point. Everyone on our team, no matter how much or little you see them, will know and get your company’s core values, culture and brand. That’s a promise.

P.S. As a team, at Hartify Franchise Consulting, we talk about your business every single week – week in, week out.

It’s simple. Franchise launched; project complete. We are all free to go at this point. Of course, we are always happy to continue helping. In fact, so far all of our clients have kept working with us after the launch period. We will make it super easy for you to do that. Whether it is sales coaching, or onboarding your first zee, we want to be there when you take your baby steps, so we’ll make it work. 

Ha! Every single client asks us this. The answer is no, he can’t. He would be doing speeches around the clock if he said yes. But we will help you structure and run a kick-ass event.

First, we put a lot of time into vetting you as a prospective client. We only want to work with groups we like. So right away, that’s a pretty good start. Second, it has never happened. So far, it’s working out pretty well for us. Third, if something did go astray, then we would probably both feel it. And trust me, I am far past the point of working because I need to make money. I only do this because I love it. And if we don’t love working with you or visa versa, then no problem. Finito!

The 10 Habits of Best in Class Franchisors

The Only Framework You Need To Scale Your Franchise System

John built one of the fastest growing and best operated franchise systems in the country before he exited in 2019 by being highly disciplined in using Verne Harnish’s Rockefeller Habits checklist. Through his experience and his learnings from other best in class franchisors, he adapted this list specifically for the franchise industry. 

The Top 10 Habits checklist provides the 10 most important functions that should be on autopilot for your franchise business to grow and scale predictably  and smoothly.

The 10 Habits of Best in Class Franchisors

The Only Framework You Need To Scale Your Franchise System

John built one of the fastest growing and best operated franchise systems in the country before he exited in 2019 by being highly disciplined in using Verne Harnish’s Rockefeller Habits checklist. Through his experience and his learnings from other best in class franchisors, he adapted this list specifically for the franchise industry. 

The Top 10 Habits checklist provides the 10 most important functions that should be on autopilot for your franchise business to grow and scale predictably and smoothly.