To ensure a franchise system is on target for healthy, sustainable growth, a franchisor has to filter through its infrastructure and adapt accordingly. As franchise brands reach milestone after milestone, they are faced with new sets of challenges and objectives – how to ensure responsible growth? How to enhance the shared long-term vision? How to effectively scale for quality?
N-Hance Wood Refinishing recently celebrated one of these major franchise milestones, reaching its 500-unit mark. The brand closed out 2017 by awarding its 500th unit in just 12 years since it started franchising in 2003. The international company has sights set on continued growth, with plans to award 85 new franchises in 2018. So, how did they do it? What is the secret to sustained franchise growth? Below are five tips for franchisors determined to stay on their path of consistent excellence and grow their franchise systems.
As your franchise system grows, consumer demands, technology, and the marketplace are changing. Without addressing those changes head-on and adapting accordingly, your business will flounder. The key is to balance heritage with innovation – adding and improving, not replacing your core.
The leadership team at N-Hance credits much of its success to continued product and service innovation. While the brand started out only providing services to refinish floors, floor refinishing now generates just 25 percent of its business as cabinet refinishing has become by far the most popular service.
Invest in Research & Development
Many franchise brands invest in R&D because they want to grow by developing new products and services; you should never settle for your current offerings. It is difficult for any company to remain competitive if it does not stay ahead of marketplace trends. Instead, continue to provide new avenues of revenue for franchisees that appeal to consumer demands. In the short-term, R&D is often viewed as an expense and drag on profits, but its long-term impact can have an immense effect on the brand’s overall success.
Continued research and development have led N-Hance to introduce numerous new products and services each year, which has strengthened the franchise model and helped to attract new franchisees to the system. Over the past few years, the brand announced the launch of its Lightspeed instant-cure hardwood cabinet and floor refinishing treatment. The innovative process provides one-day hardwood refinishing with minimal dust and odor. The company is outselling its competition, by leading the industry with the latest technology and research.
Your most important asset to the business is the relationships you build along the way – with customers, suppliers, franchisees, and others in the supply chain. Understanding where your franchisees and clients are coming from or understanding their pain in dealing with a problem works wonders for building a relationship. The result is the growth of long-term franchisees and happy clients.
For N-Hance, this was the key to the success and the growth of the brand. As an organization, leadership believed in the power of listening. When you listen…really listen…you build a relationship and learn. Great things can be done when there is strength in the relationship.
Build a Strong Corporate Team & Culture
Company culture has expanded beyond just a buzzword. Culture is an important differentiator that sets your company apart from the competition. It is also what attracts the right talent and brings in the right customers. The N-Hance team put a focus on creating a diverse, talented team with people who will challenge each other, pushing towards common goals. Taking an active approach to company culture will help build brand identity, increase loyalty among employees, attract and retain talent, and naturally create brand advocates.
Enhance Franchisee Training
The most important factor in a healthy franchise organization is happy and profitable franchisees. It is critical to focus on improving the franchisee experience and building their success. Promote transparency, planning, and open communication to grow your brand to new heights. For example, N-Hance is debuting a Quickstart coaching program to regional training. A Quickstart coach will support the franchisee during his/her first year of operation to help launch the business, continue to provide education on the brand, and set individual business goals. Additionally, the brand is rolling out N-Hance University – a 24/7 online training program. By improving educational opportunities for franchisees, you will see in increase in top-line sales and profitability.
In addition to reaching the 500-unit network size, N-Hance has seen continued increases in top-line sales. Since 2014, the top quartile of franchisees has seen over 30 percent growth year-over-year. The franchise network’s continued growth and success have truly pushed N-Hance to new heights, and the sky is the limit for what’s to come. There’s no quick fix or simple solution to strengthening your growth strategy. It takes time, patience, a commitment to innovation and an investment in your product and people. By addressing these five tips, you can ensure your brand is on track to achieve the most prestigious franchise milestones.