Franchise Templates and the dumbing down of franchise consultancy

Franchise Templates and other undesirable flat packs!

Avoid the hidden pitfalls of using franchise templates to franchise your business, unless of course you have a franchise specialist doing it for you, in which case you might as well hire a franchise specialist in the first place! Flat pack franchising (as I like to call it) has no advantages to a prospective franchisor and those that choose this route are illustrating to the masses that they don’t fully understand what makes a great franchise in the first place. Most that do it fail and amongst those that sell flat packs or franchise templates and other editable literature are convicted criminals, disqualified directors and amazingly (but true) not many previously successful franchisors!

Flatpack franchise templates are the murky waters of business advice peddled to star struck business owners keen to find a pot at the end of the franchise rainbow. Worse still, those franchisees who then invest their life savings with these new amateur franchisors end up, in many cases, as lambs to the slaughter losing their life savings along the way.

The availability of templates or other often plagiarised content heightens the risk of failure because as with many things in business, it’s not what you’ve got but what you do with what you’ve got that matters the most. It’s also when you do it, at what cost, who implements it, and where it’s all done. All the aforementioned are mission critical elements that skilled franchise consultants get consistently right. Implementation, judgement and experience is everything in business, particularly in a new area of business like franchising and anyone who thinks they can get that from a template is naive.

Having been in this industry for 24 years now I’ve made every mistake there is to make, sometimes I’ve made the same mistake twice before learning from it but every mistake has added to me being one of the most consistently successful franchise consultants there is in the UK. An experienced franchise consultant working as part of your management team is worth his (or her) weight in gold. By bringing that skill set in-house and applying it to every little and big decision that is attached to the franchise function the cumulative effect of that input adds up to success, and in franchising the consequences of a single bad decision can be catastrophic for the franchisor and each franchisee.

A successful franchise set up requires a lot of thinking time, and also time to learn a business model and how that model can be adapted to be a successful franchise brand. Good franchise consultants are intertwined with the best franchise launches and their time, accumulated knowledge and judgement goes into the creation of the new franchise at every level. You can’t get that with a flatpack, or even a flatpack with a so called helpline! Don’t kid yourself on this, because me and numerous other proper franchise consultants keep getting asked to rescue failed brands that thought they could do it with a franchise template.

Exponents of franchise templates just want your fee, and have no vested interest at all in whether or not you are successful. A franchise consultant like Andy Cheetham on the other hand links fees to the success of the franchise launch and so everyone wins! I am in daily contact with my clients and members of their franchise network, I live and breathe the brands I work with and fully understand everything that’s going on. We discuss every issue and know the kpi’s intimately. Consistently over the last few decades brands that have worked with me have outperformed the franchise industry by a significant margin. No franchise template will do that for any brand and anyone who tells you otherwise is having a laugh at your expense.

“But franchise templates allow me to launch for £5,000” I hear you cry. No they don’t because you haven’t registered your trademark in that cost and you haven’t even paid for a single franchise advert or exhibition yet. Without proper advice you’ll waste a lot more than £5,000 advertising your franchise I can tell you!!

Perhaps the most serious point of all is this; if you’re only prepared to invest £5k in your franchise launch and step into the unknown without the right advice then why on earth should a franchisee invest more than that with you? Worse still, if you’ve only got £5,000 to launch your franchise then how successful is your business anyway? A good business format franchise should be a clone of an already successful business and if you haven’t got a pile of cash by doing what you’re doing with all the experience you have then how on earth can a franchisee earn a profit? Remember that they’ll have a lower Gross Profit than you as a result of the royalty on turnover or higher product costs. And, please don’t give me that old chestnut that a franchisee will earn a profit because you now know what they need to do! If you aren’t making consistent profits already then refine your business until you are, then stress test it and then call me!

I’m tired of seeing unsuitable brands enter the franchise industry by cutting and pasting franchise templates and manuals and then failing and wondering where it all went wrong. If you knew what I knew you you wouldn’t touch a template in a space suit unless it comes with a franchise consultant like me who’ll spend the time ( a lot of time) getting to know your business before advising on anything to do with a franchise for you.

If you are a suitable potential franchisor then you’ll understand that one of the key benefits you offer is your guidance, training, experience and support so why don’t you secure the same for yourself with a franchise specialist who’ll help you to get it right first time. I now routinely turn down requests to save failed franchise brands, it’s not worth the aggro for me or any other bonafide franchise consultants that I know because my time is spent with successful brands only.

All of the available evidence is that templates don’t work, where as skilled franchise consultants do. So, if you’re planning a franchise launch my advice is to drive a deal with a franchise consultant who’ll work alongside you to create a compelling franchise program with you. The fee may be higher but the success usually follows. Ironically, by watching which brands launch badly consultants like me can hook up with their competitors and soon overtake them by doing it properly! This is way too important a project to solve by cutting and pasting from a scrapbook and then thinking you can succeed against your competitors who will hire the likes of me or other genuine franchise specialists. You’ll fail, so too will any unwary franchisees you find and my clients and those that hire other genuine franchise consultants to work with them will launch competing franchisees and eat you for breakfast.


My Dad always said to me, “if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well” and that advice has never been more true regarding the above!


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