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December, 2014

FRANCHISING YOUR BUSINESS

3 STEPS TO CREATING YOUR BRAND STRATEGY

You have gone through the hard yards of setting up your business and now it is performing really well. You have loyal customers, the business is turning over a profit and you are offering a product or service that there is a growing demand for. The question is now, what next? Have you thought about replicating the success of your first business in another one or two or fifty just like it?

Franchising is a growing trend in the business world and could be worth considering for your business. Australian brands Souvlaki Hut, Xpresso Mobile Cafe, and Zambrero are just a few of the businesses that have gone from one successful business to many over the past couple of years. What makes franchising a popular model for growing your business? You may have heard about the turn key revolution in popular business books such as Michael E. Gerber’s E Myth. What makes your business successful and special is more than just the product you sell. It is the experience you offer your customer and the business systems that allow you to offer that experience consistently time after time.

1.    Do you have a stand out brand?

Developing your brand, your customer experience and what sets you apart in the market is what attracts customers to you and makes your business a success. What value does your business offer your customers? What experience does your customer associate with visiting your business? How could you replicate this in another store or another ten stores that would provide the exact same experience? Finding your answer to these questions is the first step in developing your franchise model.

2.    What experience do you offer that keep your customers coming back?

I have worked with business owners of cafes, restaurants, burger stores, barbers and beauty salons who have one or a handful of successful business and want to franchise. My response is always the same, before you can franchise something you need to know what experience it is you are trying to replicate. Your customer experience is more than your logo and the colour of your shopfront, your customer experience is everything your customer sees, hears, feels and associates with your brand. It may be the bubbly girl at the front counter or the recycled armchairs in your coffee shop.

3.    Can you replicate your success?

Do you know why you are successful? Do you know what your customers love about your store/ coffee shop / salon? Before you create copies of something you want the first one to be as close to perfect as you can make it, this is your franchise model. I ask my customers not only what they love about their brand and their current store but also what they don’t like. Is there anything you are unhappy with or would like to change? Once you know what you want (and don’t want) in your store document EVERYTHING. You may choose to work with a designer and a franchise consultant to document the look and feel of your business, the layout and  the business systems that keep the experience your customer expects from your brand the same every time.

10 Design Tips to Attract Customers and Turn them into Regulars (Part Two)

Six – Be Unique
With chain coffee stores a dime a dozen, customers are seeking out boutique cafes because they want quality and desire something different. How does your brand communicate a point of difference to your customer?
-Have a strong concept. Your concept may be French patisserie, Modern coffee bar, Rustic Italian; whatever your concept all branding and décor should relate to this theme.

Seven – Be Fresh
Customers are attracted to sit and stay in a café because it is fresh and inviting.
Easy ways to make the experience more inviting:
– Make sure tables and chairs are in good repair. Give tables a fresh coat of paint and add new cushions to chairs for an instant refresh.
-Replace table ornaments or accessories, place fresh flowers on the tables
-Make sure menus are in good condition and easily readable

Eight – Colour
Colour is a powerful tool to attract customers and make them want to stay longer.

– Warm tones (reds and oranges) can be used to stimulate appetite and conversation
– Green to stimulate thirst, promote calm and project a “healthy’ vibe

Nine- Music
Music is essential to creating ambience; however the wrong music choice can negatively affect your business.
-try a variety of music and ask for customer feedback

Ten- Outdoor Areas
Outdoor areas are often overlooked and can offer great variety for customers. The key to great outdoor spaces are;

– Shelter, provide umbrellas or a sun roof to make a space feel more comfortable
– Provide greenery. Planter boxes and large pots are ideal
– Connect visually with the rest of the space of the street outside

10 Design Tips to Attract Customers and Turn them into Regulars (Part One)

One – Street appeal
Critical to drawing new customers into your Café is the image portrayed to potential customers walking or driving by. What is your customer’s image of your business from outside the front door?

Easy solutions for Street Appeal;
– Provide casual seating or tables
– Include planter boxes
– Refresh signage
– Use colour in furniture, signage and flowers

Two – From Passer-by to Customer
You know your business supplies the best coffee and meals in the area but how can you communicate this to your customer? Your customer’s desire to buy the product relies on your presentation of your product.

Easy solutions to turn a passer-by into a customer:
-Make the menu appealing and visible from the front door
-Show how fresh the product is; the customer should see the coffee being poured and smell the fresh beans
-Display the fresh products; sandwiches, cakes and retail products

Three – Who is my Customer?
Not every customer is equal and they will want different experiences from visiting your café.

Easy solutions to know your customer:
-Who is my ideal customer?
-What experience does my customer want from visiting my café? Eg. If my ideal customer is business people looking for casual meetings, they will want a quiet place to sit with access to Wi Fi.

Four- What does my Customer Need?
Once you know who your customer is, work through what ‘extra’ services you could offer to set yourself apart from competitors.

-Do you offer free wireless to your customers?
-Do you have spare electrical outlets that could be used for phones or laptops?
-How do you let your customers know you offer these extra services?

Five – Make my Customer Feel at Home
Outside of their Home and Office, your café is one of the places your customer will visit most regularly. Making them feel comfortable is the key ingredient in making a one-time purchase into a regular customer.

– Offer a variety of inviting seating: couches, tables and single booths
– Vary furnishing and lighting to create cosy niches and takeaway bars