Almost every small business reaches a point where they search for ways to quickly grow their brands and business. As a business owner, you feel like you have a great business model, and want to expand that model quickly to help reach more customers, so you might evaluate the option of offering your business as a franchise. Franchising could mean quickly expanding your brand and reach, plus, receiving franchise fees and having others incur the cost of starting the expansion of your business. At different points during the development of Writing for the Soul Workshop™, TGIM explored the best ways to offer our program and expand our impact, including the concept of franchising Writing for the Soul Workshop™. After re-evaluating the pros and cons of franchising, we have thousands of reasons why we would never offer the program as a franchise …and all of those reasons have a face, a name, and a story. But for now, here’s five:
Reason One – Restrictive Operating Plans
Most new business owners decide to franchise because they want to own a business, but don’t necessarily have their own product or service to offer. The customer base of Writing for the Soul Workshop™ is very different. Our businesses and organizations are already established, and have a mission to impact their communities in various ways. Writing for the Soul Workshop™ was developed specifically to complement what organizations offer today, and to help them continue in that mission. As a franchise, these organizations would be required to follow our specific operating models for Writing for the Soul Workshop™ within their entire organization, which could change how they operate today. We respect that our organizations have unique procedures and processes, and our goal is to compliment the organization, not dictate how they should operate. While many of the operating strategies used in Writing for the Soul Workshop™ are best practices for any mentoring organizations, we want to empower the organizations we serve, not dictate their operating procedures.
Reason Two – High Costs of Starting a Franchise
When you decide to purchase into a franchise, there are specific upfront costs that you can expect. These include the initial franchise fees, a location, furnishings and supplies. Typically, within the Franchise model, these items must be purchased from the specific vendor approved by the Franchise to ensure consistency, which can raise cost even higher. With Writing for the Soul Workshop™, we work with our organizations so that they can pay for their certification process though proceeds generated by the program, and tailor our approach to each organization. Key marketing materials are provided electronically, allowing organizations to use their local resources and keep costs low.
Reason Three – Advertising and Brand Promotion
One of the key benefits of franchising is that you don’t have to worry about what kind of advertising to create, what your menu’s should look like, or what you should say to promote and advertise your business. You pay money for advertising fees and for promotional materials, and the key promotion of the month is delivered to your location. If your business is only about selling hamburgers, that might be just great. Writing for the Soul Workshop™ serves diverse organizations with different missions, cultures, and ways of promoting their programs in the community. While we will always provide guidelines around the use of the our program and brand, these can be integrated into the promotional plan already in place for our organizations.
Reason Four – Independence with Support
As a franchisee, your ability to be independent in your operating model is limited, and as noted above, your advertising and brand strategy is determined for you. Your promotional materials are pre created, and you have to purchase your supplies directly from the approved vendor, many times with inflated costs. Writing for the Soul Workshop™ ensures that our program providers receive our key marketing material, and guidelines for use, however, we do not dictate any organizations marketing and branding strategy. Writing for the Soul Workshop™ offers a multitude of WOW factors, so organizations have the flexibility to choose to promote the key factors that impact the customers that they serve. Organizations that focus on academia can talk about our Curriculum which was named a Boys and Girls Club Academic Success Program. Organizations that strive to reach at risk youth can focus on how the program fosters strong mentoring relationships that offer lifelong behavioral change for participants.
Reason Five – Avoiding Negative Brand Publicity Generated By Others
When you own a franchise, you get to benefit from all of the advertising and positive word of mouth generated by the brand. By the same token, you are also impacted by the negative publicity as well. One viral Facebook post about how your franchise actually uses non FDA approved meat, or a viral YouTube video of a customer finding a hair in their dinner, and your can face a tremendous impact to your business. Organizations that offer Writing for the Soul Workshop™, don’t have to worry about the impact of the president of the local charity embezzling funds, because the negative publicity is focused on the organization, not the programs they offer. This helps insulate an organization from the impact of a scandal that has nothing to do with their programs.
Franchising can offer some great advantages for individuals and small businesses, but there are also potential pitfalls that can mean the difference between the survival of a business or organization. When we evaluated the best ways to expand Writing for the Soul Workshop™, our primary goal was to ensure that our customers, and the customers that they serve have an amazing, viable program that will complement and improve the financial stability of their organizations, while minimizing the cost and impact of launching a new program.
Include Writing for the Soul Workshop™ as a viable component to your Youth Programs, State Agency, School or Mentoring Organization. Financing is available. Simply complete the Contact Form below and a Registration Packet will be emailed to you.