An Introduction to Franchising
Four tips to starting a successful franchise.
By Cambridge Who's Who Lifetime Member and Contributing Author Harold Kestenbaum
My name is Harold Kestenbaum, and I am a franchise attorney. Many of you may be wondering what a franchise attorney does. I realize that franchise is not a well-known sector of the legal profession unless you work in the industry as either a franchisor or a franchisee. Here is how I became involved in franchise law.
In 1977, at my third job out of law school, I worked for a solo practitioner in Manhattan who represented many corporate clients, some of whom were publicly traded. One company happened to be a franchising company. One day my boss said to me, “Kestenbaum, I need you to learn about franchising, so that you can handle our franchise client.” Not knowing what in the world he was talking about (I had done everything but franchise law up until then) I found every book I could on franchising (there was no Internet in 1977) and for the next four years I immersed myself in franchise law. When New York State passed a new franchise registration law in 1981, I decided that it was time for me to become a solo practitioner and left the practitioner I was working for. I have been practicing franchise law ever since.
I have written a book, “So, You Want to Franchise Your Business,” that will be in stores on August 1, 2008, and delves into the way a company embarks on the franchise path. It includes the dos and the don'ts of franchising your business. In my book, my co-author, Adina Genn, and I discuss what makes a company right for franchising and how to go about turning a successful business into a franchise company. Here are a few key tips from my book:
- Have a successful model. It is impossible to create a franchise program without having at least one successful operation, a pilot, if you will. It is not feasible to think that if your core business loses money and is unsuccessful, that a franchisee will be any different. It is imperative that your franchisees be successful, otherwise franchising does not work.
- Make sure your business model is replicable. You must be able to build clones of your operation, otherwise, the system will not work. Have you ever seen a McDonalds without the infamous golden arches? That is just one example, but it goes beyond the look. It is the method of operation that must be duplicated.
- Attain capital for your franchise. You must have capital in order to roll out the franchise program. You cannot believe that franchising will cure your cash flow issues, you need to have money in order to roll out the program. Do not view the program as a way to fund an undercapitalized business model.
- Prove your model works! The concept that you are trying to franchise must lucrative. You must demonstrate that your concept works before you try to offer it to the public as a franchise. If the business model is a failure, your franchisees will inevitably fail as well. Franchising can be a wonderful business model, but your initial model must work first, otherwise franchising will not be possible.
Read Harold Kestenbaum's Article on Franchising Your Business