Consider how a brand can help you professionally

It is not uncommon that sometimes business owners are scared away from the idea of franchising, due to their lack of understanding. Here, Westrow’s Co-Director, Steve Rowbottom, has put together a guide to franchising, what to consider and how it can ultimately boost your business.

To franchise a business is not something that can be done without thought. To start with, my business partner, Marc Westerman, and myself put in an awful lot of time and research to ensure that our business model was efficient and able to demonstrate to potential franchisees that Westrow is a great option. We observed quite quickly that our strategy needed to be transferable, so that it could operate in multiple locations, using the same system, brand and quality. As a key point in this, the franchise model also needed to be something that was teachable and believable; there really is little point having a franchise that only one person in the world would be capable of running. You then need to make sure it is protected, by ensuring you have all the correct documents to secure your brand, alongside any appropriate legal advice.

When it comes to maintaining standards across multiple salons, you must be 100% committed to your brand. From day one it has always been quality over quantity every time for us. You must endeavor to surround yourselves with the right people, who share your passion and beliefs and who have an enthusiasm for the craft.

Location is everything when considering your expansion programme; we established ourselves at the start as city centre hairdressers, and we have now expanded those same beliefs and standards of service into affluent towns and suburbs in and around Yorkshire, which we have done without de-valuing the brand in terms of price, visibility or standards.

When choosing a brand to become a part of, choose a brand that you already believe in. Try to find a brand with similar ideas, vision and priorities – that way you can be confident that you can mould into the The key to creating a successful franchise salon, is to become part of a bigger brand, one that has its own established reputation and a dedicated following, while at the same time retaining your own identity and individuality. If you can successfully achieve this, you are on your way to creating a thriving business and a successful salon. Here are my top tips to achieving this balance: brand organically and grow alongside it very naturally. Unless you can align your views, goals and passion with a brand, it will be difficult to successfully fit in to it.

It’s equally important to choose an established and successful brand. By becoming a franchisee of a well-recognised brand name, you will benefit from a long-standing mission statement, core values, a business strategy and direction, which wouldn’t be in place for a lone salon starting out from scratch. If you are looking to specialise in, and succeed within, a particular area of hairdressing, look for a brand name that is recognised within your preferred geographical area, or that is known within the industry. If a brand has a dedicated following and strong community presence, you will benefit from collaboration.

Consider how a brand can help you professionally. Choose a brand that is well known within the industry, that frequently enters and succeeds in competitions and that can offer you the opportunity to grow, both as a salon and as an individual. If you choose to become part of a franchise model that has industry presence, both you and your team can benefit.

Remember to make the most of the extra support you’ll receive. Being part of a franchise group means access to financial, creative and personal support, that wouldn’t be so readily available to individual salons. Being a franchisee means being part of a family, and with the right brand, means a support system that is invaluable throughout your collaboration. Ensure you make the most of this support, and always ask for help, if and when needed.

And finally, consider the ways you can benefit from being part of a bigger, more powerful business. Does your chosen salon chain have good product buying power? Usually an established salon group will be able to benefit from competitive product discounts and better wholesale deals, so make the most of these.

Steve Rowbottom’s top 5 tips for salons that want to branch out/franchise their business are:

1. Evaluate your hair salon experience. If you’ve never worked in a hair salon, you might find it difficult to manage such a business. Also, small businesses, including franchises, are often more profitable when the franchisee works in the business.

2. Review the demographics of your desired area.

3. Set realistic budgets and seek expert legal advice.

4. Research, ask questions and learn as much as possible about the business, think about what you can do for the brand and vice versa to ensure a great partnership.

5. Be passionate and have a desire to succeed.