Getting a business off the ground is one thing, but taking it to the next level is another. Small business owners looking to expand and jump there business up a level or two may be considering franchising as a growth mechanism. Before you begin looking for potential business partners, you need to fully understand this profitable next step. After all, franchising is not just running your small business on a larger scale; it is a business model all its own.

Presently Own a Successful Business

You may have an amazing business idea that you think will explode across the country, but no one will buy into your business opportunity until you have proven that it is profitable. After you have created an in-demand product or service, you need to begin selling it. Once you have proven that the product or service can be sold successfully, you can begin selling the business. One of the major keys to a successful small business franchise is creating a solid business model that works for a variety of people in a variety of locations.

Develop Your Brand

After your product has been established, the business model has proven profitable, and the operating systems have been streamlined, you’re ready to establish your brand. Begin by developing an official operations manual and a franchise disclosure document for potential franchisees. These documents will establish the standards, guidelines, specifications, and practices of your company. You also need to document all of the tools, procedures, and anything else that has led to your business’s success. New franchisees will be able to use these tools to successfully sell the products and services of the brand in their geographic markets.

Understand That Franchising is a Business

You might have been the most successful sandwich shop in your town for years, but after making the decision to franchise, you’re business will be taken to an entirely different level. This may mean that you will have to change some of the operations in order to allow the company to expand exponentially. You will also have to learn new laws and regulations. If you feel that you may not be able to run a franchise company and your original business at the same time, you may have to hire a general manager to run the business or a franchise specialist to handle your franchising.

Acquire the Help You Need

Some small business owners who decide to franchise find that the simple act of creating their franchise disclosure agreement can be a difficult task. You may know your business like the back of your hand, but you might need help understanding all of the aspects of franchising. For help, begin by looking for a consultant and a franchise attorney who can help you develop the details of your franchising plans.

Find the Right People

Once you have the details ironed out and are ready to begin screening potential franchisees, there are specific things you need to look for. Taking on franchisees is quite different than hiring staff for your business. You need to identify and choose people who are motivated to succeed and share your same core beliefs and values. Obviously, you can’t clone yourself, but you can develop specific selection criteria that will help you select people who you feel will make your business model as successful as you have, regardless of their chosen location.

Foster Creativity

Franchisees can bring their own innovative and fresh ideas to the table, which can make your business all the more successful. You obviously will want to have certain operating procedures and aspects of the business model that are set in stone for uniformity and brand protection, but you also want to allow flexibility and creativity that will allow franchisees to adapt and succeed in their specific markets.

Protect Your Brand

As you’re taking your business to the regional, national, or international market, you need to ensure the protection of your brand. In doing so, you need to obtain registered trademark rights and consider investing in a trademark monitoring service that can help protect your brand.

Keep the Customers in Mind

The more responsibilities you take on, the further you may stray from your customer base. When establishing a small business franchise, it’s important to always keep the customer in mind. You want to bring the warmth and neighborhood feel of your original business to all of your franchise locations.

Keep Your Original Vision

Many people don’t start small businesses with strictly the numbers in mind. A business may have begun by wanting to offer a terrific product that the public wanted or by simply having the desire to make people happy. When franchising a business, it’s important to retain the same core values and vision that originally led to the business’s success.

If done correctly, franchising a successful business can be a financial windfall. If you have developed a profitable business and are ready to turn it up a notch, then franchising may be ideal. By following these tips, you will be able to develop a successful franchise and spread your brand far and wide.