To get the most out of franchising your business, you need a road map to guide you from where you are to where you want to be in the future, and to show you where you are along the way. That road map comes in the form of your franchise business plan, a document that brings together in one place all the essential thinking and information about your franchise business.
There’s no standard format to a franchise business plan, but normally it includes a list of your franchise business goals, marketing and management strategy, current and future budgets, detailed plans for financial, sales, marketing and operational matters, along with an organisational structure and an executive summary that sums up the ‘highlights’ of your franchise business plan.
Normally a franchise business plan will look forward over the next three years, with interim milestones showing where you expect to be at the end of Year 1 and Year 2.The very act of writing this document will force you to think long and hard about your business and the vision you have for it. This alone makes a franchise plan an essential tool for anyone who wants to become a successful franchisor.
It contains all the important information that potential investors, franchisees and banks or other lenders will expect and want to see.
It’s also a measure of how well you are achieving your goals, both in the short and medium-term. If you can see from your plan that you’re not hitting your goals, then it also acts as an early warning system that tells you to make changes in the way that you’re operating.Keep it simple. If the plan is too complex, then the prospect of putting one together may be too overwhelming and you may never get started on it. A brief plan covering just a few pages is far better than none at all.
Don’t get sucked into trying to create the ‘perfect’ business plan. Many businesses get bogged down writing huge documents that attempt to nail down every detail. We all know business life isn’t like that and changes will happen that are out of your control – and you won’t be able to second guess every one. So focus on what really matters and ‘don’t sweat the small stuff’ too much.
Review your plan. Left in the drawer of your desk it’s no good to anyone.
If things change, be prepared to change your plan to reflect this. While a well-written plan will help keep you on track, there is no point stubbornly sticking with it if the assumptions and numbers on which it was based are now fundamentally different.
Writing a franchise business plan isn’t rocket science but it does require careful thought if it is to mean anything. Numbers and dreams on a page are of little value if they don’t take into account reality or the means by which you are going to achieve them.
You can find many good templates you can use to create your own franchise business plan on the internet – www.business.gov.au is a good starting point.