The secret to a successful global franchise lies in partnering with the right master franchisees.
As with any franchise brand, partnering with the right franchise owners is critical to successfully scaling the business – a tactic we’ve perfected domestically at N-Hance, resulting in a thriving network of nearly 500 U.S. franchises. However, this takes on a whole new meaning and importance when expanding internationally. At N-Hance, we’ve chosen to take on the master franchise model for global growth, a system that has worked well for us for years and has prepared us to expand globally.
We’ve structured it in a way where N-Hance master franchise owners and their teams are able to provide a full roster of wood refinishing services, from floors to complete cabinet makeovers. The business model is designed to perform well in any market with teams able to meet the high demand in their specific countries. N-Hance’s fast, durable services, market-competitive pricing and industry-leading technology, such as Lightspeed, are creating substantial opportunities for N-Hance master franchise owners in the global marketplace.
However, brands can’t simply rely on structure alone to grow their business across international lines; in fact, it’s critical to partner with the right master franchisees in order to successfully expand. Below are a few ways the leadership team at N-Hance onboards the right master franchisees.
Allow for structured flexibility
Outlining the goal and the role is essential to finding a quality candidate that’s capable of upholding brand standards no matter the location. For N-Hance, there isn’t one single model that a master franchise has to follow to expand in a country or region, which is one of the strengths of our concept.
Currently, our master franchises have followed one of three models around the world. Some have chosen to run the business on their own by self-funding and managing their expansion with their own team. We also have master franchisees who follow the more traditional model of selling sub-franchises in their region to expand the brand. Lastly, we’ve seen some take more of a hybrid approach where they choose to manage a certain territory with their own team but expand by selling sub-franchises in other parts of their territory that may be more remote and less efficient for them to run on their own. The flexibility in our model has been a benefit and an advantage for our master franchisees, giving them the opportunity to expand in a way that best suits their talents, capabilities and business goals in order to meet the needs of their markets and customers.
“One of the best ways to approach a master franchise partnership is to treat the hire as an extension of your leadership team”
Franchisors need to be prepared to adjust certain aspects of their model – ranging from the customers they target to their marketing materials and training techniques – to suit the local culture and allow their master franchisees the flexibility to apply their brand’s model in a way that meets and fits with the local opportunities.
Treat the relationship as a leadership hire
Once your team has determined a structure – or several – for the master franchise program, it’s time for your team to understand the role so that you can market the opportunity and refine recruiting. On top of looking for an entrepreneurial individual with the portfolio and management experience to back up their resume, it’s important to find someone that believes in the brand so strongly that they can uphold standards even if they’re thousands of miles away from corporate headquarters.
One of the best ways to approach a master franchise partnership is to treat the hire as an extension of your leadership team. Finding someone that believes in the mission of supporting franchisees in order to help them reach their goals is key. Hiring the right people who embrace that core value and mindset as a collective organization has allowed us to adapt and determine the best way to support our network, which is now stretched across a variety of different countries and regions.
Equip them with tools to succeed
It’s not enough to simply partner with an impressive candidate that believes in your mission – it’s now up to your team to support them on their journey to success, and there are other factors that need to be taken into consideration when working globally. For example, one aspect of this is the logistical need to accommodate the schedules of master franchisees in more than 29 time zones. Another is to provide creative marketing templates and labeling materials that our international partners can customize to fit their local cultures and languages. We have also built out our corporate team to include people that can speak multiple languages in order to streamline communication.
All successful international franchise brands share a common quality: a strong model and systems that have proven successful domestically before expanding internationally. And, as brands make the move to expand into other countries, partnering with the right master franchisees is a must. Franchisors should also consider hiring support staff who can operate in diverse languages and cultures. Finally, they should be prepared to be flexible with their model, yet remain true to their core principles and brand identity in order to set these master franchises up for success.
Joseph Manuszak is VP of international franchise development at N-Hance Wood Refinishing.