By Aaron Davis, Multi-Unit Franchisee of Little Caesars and Workout Anytime
Diversifying your franchise portfolio is an ambitious undertaking, and with the right attitude and resources, it can be done with highly beneficial results. Before I decided to diversify my own portfolio of brands, I had 16 Little Caesars franchises and wanted to get into the booming fitness business. In 2017, I officially expanded my franchise portfolio with the fitness brand Workout Anytime. Today, I own and operate two Workout Anytime locations, in addition to the 16 Little Caesars restaurants. I am thrilled I made this decision. Not only have I grown and developed as a business owner, but I’ve also done so in a way that benefits my family and allows me to be in another field I enjoy.
As someone who has successfully gone from food to fitness, here are my five tips for those looking to expand their portfolio into new segments.
Franchise with a concept you’re passionate about.
If you’re going to franchise with a secondary concept, make sure it’s a concept about which you are truly passionate. The franchise should excite you. You will be selling the brand every day, so it’s important to believe in the business — otherwise, that lack of buy-in will come out over time and lead to a negative culture among employees. Also, franchise with a concept that complements what you’re currently doing and holds different peak hours. QSR and fitness concepts, for example, have different peak times. This ensures you are not constantly running in every direction and positions you to better deliver a great product and/or service.
Connect with the corporate team of your prospective venture.
The franchisee-franchisor relationship is always extremely important. Make sure you touch base and get along with the new concept’s corporate team early on in the discovery process. They are your partners throughout this journey. Both you as the franchise candidate and the leadership team of your prospective franchise opportunity should feel comfortable with one another. You have to have that comfort level and be able to speak freely and ask questions. Of course, also make sure to go in with an open mind and a willingness to learn. When you are on the same page as the corporate team, you will have a clearer vision of success and what you need to do to achieve it, making for a positive experience.
Utilize existing resources for a smooth transition.
Even though you are franchising with a new concept, you can treat it as an additional franchise location and leverage your existing resources. You do not need to spin your wheels to find and create a new support system. You can use the tools and people you already have in place. Use your same attorney to help with legal matters. Use the same payroll services to pay employees. Use the same online application tool to find new employees and the same real estate agents to scout possible locations. Using your existing resources and working with familiar faces will minimize your learning curve and help you stay focused on your business and making it profitable.
Stay in touch with your existing business.
Any franchisee with multiple units knows that issues can arise quickly when one location is overlooked in favor of another. Adding a different franchise concept to your portfolio can be time-consuming. That said, you must make sure to stay on top of your existing business. Make sure you spend equal time within all of your businesses. This will ensure no issues get out of hand and help you avoid unnecessary stress.
Franchise with a concept that’s close to home — literally.
Having all of your franchises within a realistic commute from your home will make it much easier to keep your finger on the pulse when it comes to your businesses. Keeping your franchise close to home will also help with real estate site selection. You already know the area thanks to your existing business, and, since your franchise concepts are non-competing, you can even place them close to each other and build upon your existing community and business relationships.
Branching out and franchising with a new concept is a rewarding experience. By franchising with a concept that makes you happy and utilizing your existing resources to the fullest extent, you can expand your portfolio and continue to develop as a business owner.
Aaron Davis is a South Carolina-based multi-unit franchisee with Little Caesars and Workout Anytime