Should I Think About Franchising Internationally?
My family owns and operates three ice cream shops. We’ve been in business for two generations and each shop is profitable. We’ve been approached numerous times by steady customers who ask if we plan to franchise. Each time we’re asked, we rethink it and then decide to not do it because we don’t want the responsibility of training and overseeing the support of new franchisees.
However, we had a question from a customer who immigrated to the U.S. several years ago. He asked if we’d consider franchising internationally and letting him and his extended family, still in Europe, buy a license to operate in overseas. This interests us because it might allow us to train his team and not have to worry about ongoing support. As I said, we’ve studied franchising in the U.S., but know nothing about doing it outside of the country. Any thoughts? If this is too general a question, could you suggest a website or other sources that can provide me with information on this topic?
Franchising Nationally & Internationally Are Very Separate Issues
You’ve got a lot to consider. First, your current business is profitable and you have three different locations. So, you’ve proven that you have a method, a process, for doing business. Those are to enormously important franchise considerations. In fact, if your question had to do with franchising in the U.S., then we’d say, go ahead and take your study to the next level. However, you’re faced with a whole different set of questions and issues.
You can find a wealth of information here that can help you determine how to move forward with franchising. For starters, read our section on franchising a business. That will help you in your decision-making. But even there, you’ll be challenged with general questions, not issues concerning international franchising.
Now to the answer you might be looking for. TAKE IT SLOW. Franchising, while potentially a highly profitable method of distribution, takes time, patience, people and capital to do it right. And, of course, even doing it right does not guarantee a successful venture. If you were open to domestic franchising, our advice would be to start as close to home as possible. But you want to skip that step. So, as attractive as it may sound, it’s probably fraught with more dangers than rewards.
Franchising internationally sounds like big business, and it can be. In reality, and particularly for someone without a franchise background, it’s a big headache.