As the esteemed CEO of Svensk Franchise, Johan Martinsson knows what works in the Scandinavian franchising landscape. We sat down to talk about the latest trends, and what advice he has for up-and-coming entrepreneurs.
What do you think makes Scandinavia a good region for franchising as a business model?
JM: Sweden is a very stable country, and it’s the Nordic country that has been the most stable for a very long time. There’s very good purchase power within the region.
Do you think that all countries within Scandinavia can be taken as an umbrella, or should brands target specific regions?
JM: It’s absolutely not an umbrella, because there are so many differences between us. It’s a totally different market. Sweden has always been international, and we’re very proud of that. A lot of international brands come into Sweden first, to try the Nordic market.
Would something that works well in Sweden not be guaranteed to work as well in Norway or Denmark?
JM: No. For example, in Norway, logistics are a nightmare. There are a number of fjords, which are difficult to access; however, within each fjord, there is a small population with extremely high purchase power. You can make money from a small unit in a small place, but in Sweden, that isn’t the case.
Are there sectors that perform particularly well in Scandinavia, or trends of note?
JM: The service industry is a global trend, and you find more service companies coming into the market. Whether it’s elderly services, home cleaning, window cleaning – services are popular.
Scandinavian countries are rich, and we have a very good social system. People say to themselves: ‘I want to live and breathe healthy’. There is a need for healthy food, and many franchises are trying to live on that trend.
Are there any specific regions in Scandinavia that work best for franchising?
JM: I love Norway, Denmark and Finland – but Sweden is the hub. It is the Nordic capital, and Stockholm is the city of the region. If you want to establish yourself in Scandinavia, you should go to Stockholm to test your concept. Perfect the suburban style of Stockholm, before trying to get around everywhere else.
What would your advice be for franchisors looking to enter the Scandinavian market?
JM: I think when you enter any market, you have to do your research properly. If you want to come to Sweden, you have to know that there’s not a robust financial system surrounding franchising. The Nordic countries don’t have a complete structure for that.
There are currently no large trade shows, and if you want to find the right person to be your master franchisee, you have to be smart and use your money wisely.