Franchises for sale which have great support networks
David Banfield| President | The Interface Financial Group
There are many franchises for sale, but only some who provide great support. We spoke to a newcomer to the Australian market, IFG. IFG have achieved major recognition in the USA and Canada for the quality of the support to their franchisees. They have arrived in Australia and we caught up with Head of their International operations- David Banfield to find out what universal truths are important to franchisees in support and training, and what learning’s from the North American market will be applied here.
David is the president of the alternative financing firm The Interface Financial Group,which is North America’s largest alternative funding source for small business. IFG provides short term working capital funding in the form of a unique Invoice Discounting service, where receivables are turned into cash. The company serves clients in the manufacturing, service and construction sectors. Interface operates from a base of more than 150 franchise offices in Canada, Singapore, the United Kingdom, The Republic of Ireland, the United States and now New Zealand and Australia.
Having the systems in place to respond to franchisees queries and questions quickly and effectively, is an essential part of a great support network. When putting new franchises up for sale; even in different locations, we universally offer franchisees the same systems in one country that we offer in all countries where we operate. I believe when offering a great support network live people working in a real time environment are what make a difference.
When a franchisee has a question or concern they are looking to talk with someone that can address that issue from a ‘been there and done that’ approach and want to have that answer at the time of the call. Voice mail is a necessary tool that we all work with and when we have to use it a speedy response must always follow. So if you are looking at franchise sytems that are new to your region get a feel for whether they will have hands on support to help you in real time.
"It is important to acknowledge when you are looking at franchises for sale, that you will have a slightly different agenda regarding what support and training you require and expect from a franchisor, compared to other franchisees"
The initial training supplied by the franchisor is something to consider when looking at franchises for sale. We have universal initial training systems in place across all of our locations. We endeavor to have a large portion of our training delivered by what we would consider ‘experts’. The best experts are, in our opinion people that are actually doing the job. Therefore we strive to have senior franchisees work on our training team to lead others forward. There is no better experience than to get information from someone that is actually running a successful and profitable franchise.
How helpful a franchisor’s Field Representatives are should be a major consideration when looking at the support network offered by a franchisor. Our marketing approach to the end customer is a referral driven process. The majority of business transacted by Interface franchisees will be business that is actually referred to them. In order to get our franchisees to really understand the methodology of building such a group, our field representatives physically go to a franchisees location and work with them-one on one-to create the initial referral group. This is a system we have been using in North America and will continue to develop in all of our regional locations. When looking at franchises for sale try to get an understanding of whether the support you will receive from field representatives will be in areas that will drive your franchise business forward.
It is important to acknowledge when you are looking at franchises for sale, that you will have a slightly different agenda regarding what support and training you require and expect from a franchisor, compared to other franchisees. We realise franchisees work at different velocities, therefore we tailor a mentoring/coaching programme for each franchisee. This program enables franchisees to work one-on-one with a senior Interface executive to ensure that they are moving forward during the crucial start-up period.
As a framework for this programme, we have designed a written 13 week road map that takes franchisees through the start-up process on a week by week basis. It is measurable and allows the mentor to work on specific aspects of the roll out. Again this works in all areas and forms part our support and training programme, that is geared to work as far as possible in the all important one –on- one environment.