You have a new English language business franchise, and you want to turn it into a successful company.
What do you do to go from zero to 10? The simple answer is that you go from zero to one, and continue from there. When a language business is in its infancy, it needs to be handled differently from when it is a strong company with a history in the community.
Here are four tips that help a franchise owner get from zero to one:
1. Renting vs. Buying a Building/Office
Many business owners dream of owning their office space, but is that a wise choice in the beginning? Whether you choose to rent or buy a commercial space depends on the following:
a. The availability of a good property for purchase
b. The cost of the property, and the mortgage payments, interest rates, etc.
c. Appropriateness of the office space in the future
Firstly, consider how many business properties are for sale in your area. At many locations, there might not be many. That is because many commercial business properties are for lease; not for sale. Therefore, do not take it for granted that there will be properties available for purchase or investment in your chosen location. Conduct research to find out if there are suitable commercial spaces that you might be interested in.
Secondly, check if the mortgage payments are less or more than the rent. This will affect your expenditure over the years. How would the purchase impact your business in the long-term? How much would the cost of your property go up in the future? Weighing the cost of renting over buying over the years will help you to manage your finances efficiently.
Thirdly, find out if the office space you want to purchase would meet your business needs in say, seven years. What if your business grows substantially over the next two years? Would the office space you purchased be sufficient to meet your requirements? Would the demand for your products/services change in the area over time? If you are uncertain, it is better to lease first and buy later.
With New Horizons, some of these factors have been researched for you, so make sure to follow the advice given by the franchisor.
2. Hiring Experienced Staff
The staff are the backbone of any franchise. Usually, the employees of a company are the first touch point for your customers. Additionally, an experienced and efficient staff helps to build the reputation of the business. To hire professionals who turn into devoted employees, you may use the following steps:
a. Advertising the appropriate positions
b. Interviewing prospective employees
c. Onboarding and training
When advertising the position, make sure to be very precise. Target the skills and qualities that are essential for the job. Before the interviewing process, provide the candidates with information about your company, and what they can expect from their job position. Prepare the questions of the interview beforehand, keeping in mind the specific qualifications, skills, and attitude the job requires.
Once the hiring is completed, you can begin onboarding. Familiarize the new employees with your company’s rules and regulations, behavioral guidelines, and work environment. Provide training to employees who require instructions before beginning work. Also consider continual training for specific groups and positions.
New Horizon’s franchisees will benefit from the large volume of employee-related research and data culminating from over 25 years in the education franchise industry.
3. Marketing Locally
If a large percentage of your customers are from your local area, and the suburbs around, you need to think micro. Find out about places where your potential customers go. For an education franchise, those places can be libraries, schools, and universities. Use those places to communicate with your potential customers.
Communication can be in the form of a flyer, freebies, shows or paid advertisements. The more frequently you connect with your potential customers, the more chances you have of converting them into customers.
For marketing your products/services online locally, you may use these tips:
• Set up location-based accounts on Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.
• Use location pages on your company website
• Use targeted advertisements on social media based on location, age group, gender, etc.
• Create local profiles on social media to gain a local following
• Engage your potential customers in conversations on blogs, social media, and company website
Word-of-mouth is an impressive marketing tool when it comes to local marketing. To get people to know your business, you must gain knowledge of your local area. Study the establishments that are related to your business. For example, an English language franchise can find out about the local schools, libraries, and education-related institutes. These are places where your audiences are. By spreading the word at these places, you are more likely to get a good response. Other tools for local marketing that a franchise can use to gain customers and build a reputation include:
• Sending news about your company to the media (newspapers, TV centers, online news portals)
• Joining the local Chamber of Commerce
• Sending your business’ information to organizations such as the Better Business Bureau
The more visible you are online and in the physical world, the more people will remember and trust your business. Through continued targeted efforts to connect with potential customers and the media, a franchise can continue to gain customers.
4. Getting local PR
Public relations help a franchise to stand out of the crowd, build a positive brand image, and earn credibility. If PR is conducted with creativity, it can create the necessary buzz. A franchise can use these ways to gain local PR:
• Press releases
• Local news shows
• Stories and news in local publications
• Business support groups
When doing PR locally, it is important to stick to news and stories that are relevant to the local public. To catch their attention, create news pieces around local trends that interest and excite them. Participate in local events related to your business that are covered by the local press. Additionally, present your skilled employees as experts in their field and have them share their knowledge in local news channels.
Setting up a language education franchise locally, and building a strong brand image, becomes easier with precise planning and consistent effort. Even if your franchise is new or hasn’t even come into existence yet, you can begin your research and create the steps that will take your franchise to the top of local industry.