When we talk about big e-commerce companies, we think of the usual Flipkart and Amazon, in India. While these companies were the ones that introduced the concept to urban Indians, little did they realize that next generation of online customers would need an e-commerce portal which could cater to their specific needs.
Shopclues is one e-tailer targeting Indians living in tier-2 and tier-3 cities, but Voonik is trying to be the fashion destination for non-brand conscious Indians who prefer value for money.
With a ‘lean’ marketplace business model operating without inventory and fulfillment centers, Voonik.com has entered the big picture delivering goods to consumers in over 28,000 pin codes all over the country. They have been a profitable forum for unbranded labels to compete with the big names in the online business and the start-up is also dynamically growing the networks in Handloom and Rural penetration.
Sujayath Ali is the Co-Founder and CEO of Voonik, the leader in the unbranded fashion category with an annual GMV rate of over 120 Million USD.
Rebranding the Unbranded
It has over 20 Million registered users, with 18 Million app downloads and Mr. Ali talked to Business Insider to give an insight about e-commerce that is not glitzy but practical,”We are very focused on the kind of people we want to attract. For an average Indian, fashion is practical and while they want to wear traditional garb, the definitely don’t want garbage. We have over 15 Lakh products from more than 25,000 sellers, from all parts of India. Our sellers are the masters of their craft; whether it is leather footwear from Agra or Silk sarees from Chennai, we put retailers online.”
Voonik has built deep technology to enable personalization that made it the most engaging eCommerce app in India with you finding a lot of options in the same app.
Ali sees the retail sector as a part of online commerce and that’s why Voonik is all-encompassing Indians at its core.
If you have a small business that can be effortlessly replicated, franchising is one of the best ways to expand it. And if you handle it the correct way, you can absolutely pump up the profitability.
The question here is, “How and when do you switch to selling franchises”
Can your business be replicated?
You have to examine if your company can be a homerun anywhere. It’s simple for entrepreneurs to underestimate how much value they personally add to the business, however, for a company to translate into a flourishing franchise, it must be ready to survive the everyday challenges and do as such without the founder’s personal touch.
Entrepreneurs should expect to have investing accomplices and in addition personal financial stake in the venture. Costs will rapidly multiply for brand development, courting potential franchisees, repaying experts and particularly covering legal fees. Franchises can’t get off the ground without inexhaustible cash flow, and if the franchise flops, it could all vanish. Individuals frequently look too hard at the potential earnings without considering the potential loss.
1. It must be pilot tested with company-claimed and worked outlets
2. Business must be successful, unmistakable and replicable
3. Take legitimate professional advice – Solicitor, Banker, Accountant and possibly a Franchise Consultant.
4. The Franchise Agreement must be composed by an accomplished Franchise Solicitor
5. Take time to compose an operations manual
6. Choose franchisees precisely and gradually
7. Avoid overselling and forecasts
If you’ve ever thought of franchising your business, know that the procedure of becoming a franchisor is generally long and involves considerable capital. Still, many entrepreneurs dream of seeing their brand become a household name with a chain of franchisees spread from east to west and north to south. Franchising a business can help the business grow by leaps and bounds, but becoming a franchisor does not necessarily guaranty success, especially in the kind of economy we’re living in today. In addition to making some really smart decisions, becoming a successful new franchisor involves wading through a lot of legal paperwork to comply with state and federal laws. Here are a few tips on how you can expand your franchise:
Since the time you established your very first franchise unit, you mfranchiseust have run into several obstacles. From selecting the perfect location to hiring the right managers to run that particular unit, you might have used different strategies on a trial and error basis and emerged successful eventually. Since you are now aware of the kind of problems you might encounter when starting yet another unit, it is only apt that you pass your teachings on to your store managers and employees. When you teach those under you how to run a successful business, they can replicate your model and use it to create another duplicate establishment which is as successful as the previous ones.
Create a strong brand identity
Make your brand a household name before expanding your franchise. For example, if your business sells women’s beauty products, your brand’s name should be the first thing that consumers think of when they want to purchase women’s beauty products. That’s how strong the recollection value of your brand should be. If you want your franchise to become successful, you need to come up with a business model that will make your brand popular throughout your country. The more recognisable your brand personality is, the more prosperous your franchise will be. This way, when you establish new units, they’ll instantly gain success as they’ll be strongly backed by your brand name.
Strike a balance between local and national
Your franchise may be national with several establishments strewn all over the country, but there still needs to be a balance between your national name and local identity. Each individual establishment needs to develop a connect with its local people by staying in touch with its community, doing local marketing, and acting as though it is a traditional small business. Relying on the brand name might work for the establishment in its initial few days, but it needs to foster relationships with the local people to become a hit in the neighborhood it operates in. The easiest way to do this is by hosting and participating in a variety of community events.
Keep the above tips in mind to ensure that your business approach is working well in the market you’re catering to. Spend wisely on advertising your franchise and you’ll drive sales to the growing chain like never before.
Buying a Franchise: What Steps Should You Take?Buying a franchise is a huge step and one of the biggest decisions you will ever make. With such a wide range of franchise opportunities available, how do you ensure that you’re taking the right steps towards a successful future? Top tips for considering, not just their franchise opportunity, but for any franchise opportunity. 1. Does the franchise fit with your existing skillset or interests?
When looking into any business opportunity, you must ensure that the franchise opportunity fits with your skills and interests. Think about the skills gained from your previous career, is there anything that you excel in? Choose a business that you will enjoy and can be enthusiastic about. To make sure your business is a success, you should be happy with the commitment you are making and understand that it is a long-term investment and not something you may lose interest in a few months down the line. This is one of the first steps you should take to help you narrow down your search and decide which type of franchise you would like to start.
Auditel provide all the ongoing training, mentoring and support you need to tap into their franchise opportunity but they also encourage you to put your existing skills and experience to good use. You will become part of a network that comprises of over 200 like-minded professionals with whom you can combine your skills to upsell services to prospective clients. 2. Can you afford the franchise opportunity?
When you’re looking into franchise opportunities you will find that there are a range of different investment levels. Consider what you can realistically afford and remember that you will also need to cover your living costs for at least six months after starting the franchise. Will the franchise opportunity provide you and your family with the lifestyle you’re looking for?
The Auditel franchise opportunity allows you to build a business that suits your lifestyle and needs. An Auditel franchise can be run from home in order to keep overheads, office and staff costs low and provide you with a better work-life balance. Should you wish, you can build the business and rent office space, once the opportunity arises. The variety of the business means that Auditel suits a range of investment levels and you can build the franchise opportunity to suit you. 3. Research the franchise opportunity
Complete your due diligence to make your chosen franchise opportunity is everything it seems. When starting a franchise, you will probably look at a range of opportunities before you decide on the one that’s right for you. Research the market and your local area to make sure there’s sufficient demand for the product or service you want to sell. Avoid crowded or fad markets when starting a franchise as this will greatly increase your chances of success and means that you won’t have a huge amount of competition.
Speak to as many people involved with the franchise opportunity as you can to find out whether or not the business will provide you with everything you’re looking for. Does the franchise match up to everything you’ve been told? Thorough research of the franchise opportunity will allow you to make a measured and informed decision about whether or not you wish to start the franchise. Source : franchiseinfo
Franchise Life : Lisa and Tom Noak have been business partners for almost as long as the 37 years they’ve been married.
After spending more than 20 years as owners of a six-unit convenience-store chain, the Noaks went into retirement for a decade. But a chance encounter with a Ben’s Soft Pretzels location led to a talk with the franchisor and, eventually, a business plan to open five Ben’s stores.
Tom Noak shares the advice he’s learned throughout his career with his wife, including selecting the right partner and making a shift to the franchise model.
1. Minimize your risk
During retirement, we were ready to jump back into something. We didn’t really have a good idea what we wanted to do, but we didn’t want to get back into the convenience-store business, so that left other avenues open. We never thought about the pretzel business, and certainly hadn’t had a Ben’s pretzel before. It surpassed our expectations and experiences—that was the first thing to make us curious.
We were looking for something that had a framework or design we could follow. We knew that, of the businesses that were not set up as franchises, a lot would fail. Knowing what Ben’s corporate stores had done, and how they were going about it, helped us formulate whether it was worth us going into.
The whole idea of owning a business set us up for being more prepared in what to expect at Ben’s. There are a lot of people who have no idea what they’re getting into when they get into an ownership situation. In the end, if you look at a franchise business versus the number of people who start a business and fail, I think you’re a lot better off sticking with a franchise that has a proven system and a proven record. What it’s really come down to is: What is your tolerance for risk? No matter what you do, if you’re going to be in business for yourself, the buck stops with you, and there’s no backboard. There’s nobody back there who’s going to stop you from falling, so you need to make the best decision. Part of that is looking at the system and seeing if that’s something that you can benefit from.
We have been owners ever since we were in our 20s, and the only thing that I ever wanted to do was be self-employed. All those years of experience handling all the things you have to handle in the convenience store business coincided with our current work. We are selling a different product, but everything else is basically the same.
2. Pick the right partner
Lisa and I have a system. We got in our first business a year after we were married, and it made us so much stronger. It’s so much easier to have somebody who is on the same plane as you, who is working toward the same goal, who has the same interests in mind, and who has a different set of tools than what you have. That’s the reason that Lisa and I fit so well together and spend so much time together. She has the ability to be more into the details and the paperwork, and I’m more of a management person who goes with the big picture, the handling of employees and attorneys, and all that business stuff.
When I talk to other people about us probably spending 20 hours a day together for the last 37 years, many don’t understand that. They say, “Oh, we would’ve killed each other by then.” But for us, it works out well because of the different talents that she has and the different talents that I have. And I always tell the young men I know that it’s a lot easier to marry somebody smarter than you.
I’m very anal when it comes to order and things being in their right place and things being clean. At Ben’s, I looked at the operation and did not see the two things that made me never want to own a food business: a grill and a fryer. I had previous experience with this because we had roasted chicken in our convenience stores, and that was just a nasty thing to have; it created so many different kinds of problems. It’s the grease; it’s the continual cleaning; it’s what you do when you throw out the grease; and it’s the smell. I decided that I didn’t want any of that at all. When I looked at Ben’s, I saw the simplicity of running the business and producing the product. We basically have a mixer and an oven, and you have the equipment to serve that product. As far as the rules that we have to adhere to, we have such a simple process; we’re basically serving bread.
With employees, it’s a two-way street. There’s an element of trust involved. You have to trust people to put out a product that is going to be a great experience every time the customer comes in. You also have to make sure that they understand that the customer is the person who is paying the bill, and without them, we don’t exist. From that standpoint, I want to try to instill the idea in them that we have their back. There are things that come up that maybe they might need a helping hand in. For instance, we had an employee who needed a car, and one of these dealerships was going to charge a 27 percent interest rate, so she’d be paying $300 forever. I was able to talk with one of the people I know in the car business. He ended up finding a car that was significantly less, and I was able to buy it, and the employee paid me $100 a month for a year, and then she had a really nice car.
There are times when we can jump in and we can do things for people and help them out—even above what they’re doing in the store.
Franchising : They’re the largest living generation in the U.S.
They spend more money in restaurants per capita than any previous generation, according to Restaurant Marketing Labs.
They’ve been credited with changing the restaurant landscape forever by seeking out brands that offer customized food choices, quality ingredients, freshness, authenticity, transparency, and environmental and social responsibility.
They grew up on more trendy fast-casual brands like Chipotle Mexican Grill, Panera Bread, and the dozens of fast casual 2.0 chains that came after them.
Millennials—those born roughly between 1980 and 2000 and comprising the biggest American generation, according to Pew Research Center—are coming of age as entrepreneurs and business owners. Maligned by some, millennials have been called apathetic, lazy, and narcissistic. But as the generation ages and matures, some of its members are transitioning from their roles as demanding teen customers and misunderstood entry-level employees to innovative managers and business owners.
And franchisors should be ready to capitalize on their potential.
What sets millennials apart
Chicago area native Sal Rehman is a millennial who grew up working in his family’s diner. He graduated from DePaul University in 2010 with a degree in human resources and worked for several years as a recruiter for corporate technology firms. Eventually, he felt the pull of the family business and decided franchising was the best route to operating his own restaurant. He opened his first Wing Zone in suburban Glendale Heights, Illinois, in 2015 at age 27. Two more Chicago-area locations quickly followed, and a fourth is in the works.
Rehman says he took his time and looked at many different franchising opportunities, but Wing Zone attracted him because he liked its business model as a fast-casual restaurant with delivery and a broad menu made up of more than wings.
“The look and feel was right,” he says. “Some franchises are not flexible, but with Wing Zone, it’s more of a partnership. If franchisees have something we think we can improve on, they take that into consideration.”
The prudent approach Rehman took to finding the right franchise opportunity is typical of the millennial generation, says Dan Rowe, founder and CEO of the franchise development company Fransmart. They want to work for the best of the best and will do their research to find authentic brands that fit their lifestyles.
In fact, Rowe says, franchisors don’t always need to recruit millennial franchisees.
“Millennials find you,” he says. “Just authentically do a great job, run a company that other people authentically talk about that wins awards and accolades, and they will come to you. Millennials are looking for brands that are already functioning at a high level.” He adds that, very often, millennials find franchise opportunities the same way they find everything else: through social media.
Paul Tran is senior director of development at Fransmart, and COO of Halal or Nothing, the Southern California franchisee of The Halal Guys, a fast-casual Middle Eastern concept. The 34-year-old says millennial franchisees like him view social media as “second real estate.”
“You need to have actual real estate that’s accessible and convenient,” Tran says. “But sometimes, with social media, people don’t even care where you are. If you pop up on their phone, you’ll be top of mind and they’ll find you wherever you are.” He adds that millennials are always on their phones, which helps as a franchisee because “you might as well be where the customers are.”
Because millennial franchisees are savvy about technology and social media, Rowe says, they are able to generate their own buzz without paying to advertise. In addition, social media can build a sense of community among a brand’s millennial franchisees.
“Franchisees communicate with each other, sharing best practices,” Rowe says. “They are also very savvy about press and public relations, and they’ll get on each other about social media scores. They’ll get alerts on their phones and send them around to other franchisees faster than corporate can. They are driven by things like Yelp ratings, and that matters because that’s what their customers are looking at, too. They are able to generate all their own buzz.”
The new franchise landscape
Technology has also created new ways for millennials to afford the dream of owning a franchise.
Companies like ApplePie Capital, an online lender solely dedicated to the franchise industry, have made it easier for potential franchisees to borrow money for startup costs.
“The target audience of these types of sites is millennials,” Rowe says. “We didn’t have that 10 or 20 years ago. Today, there are endless amounts of money available online, but you have to be tech-savvy and social media–savvy to get it. I’ve heard stories of people with no money at all who raised enough to open three restaurants.”
Still, as with other generations, millennials don’t want to have to do everything themselves. That’s partly why franchising is attractive to them, experts say; millennials are in tune with what they are good at—and what they aren’t.
“Personally, I’m not a chef,” Rehman says. “I have a passion for business and the food industry, not for cooking. I told my family if I open a franchise, there’s branding, funding, and background behind me. I like the model where I don’t have to do back-end work figuring out suppliers and logistics; that is already provided.”
Tran says he believes millennials have a lot of energy and a strong work ethic, two skills necessary in a franchise environment.
“We’re also willing to take advice from mentors and business people who have come before us,” he says. “We don’t know it all; we’re very moldable and adaptable to change. We’re also aware we can’t do it ourselves. We can’t do it without a good, strong team.”
Tran says members of his generation dine out more than any previous generation because they are starved for time. Because they eat out so frequently—and because higher-quality limited-service options have been available to them since they were young—they’ve become foodies who pay close attention to the quality of their meals. That ability to be discerning about the food they eat, he says, has led to being discerning when selecting a brand to franchise.
“[Millennial franchisees] are doing this because we’re fanatical about a brand, not just to get a paycheck,” Tran says. “We want to do something meaningful and share it.”
Why millennials choose franchising
Sharing is something millennials do a lot of, usually through social media. Andrew Gruel, chef and founder of the rapidly growing seafood fast casual Slapfish, acknowledges that he’s sometimes frustrated by millennials who care more about how his food will look on Instagram than how it tastes. But he appreciates the usefulness of social media for attracting franchisees to his brand.
“We get so many more leads off Instagram and Facebook than traditional lead generation,” he says.
The 36-year-old Gruel says another reason some of his peers, especially in tech-dominated California, are interested in becoming franchisees is that they made money at a young age in startups and are looking for new ways to invest their money.
“Restaurants are traditionally viewed as risky, but not to them,” he says. “They’ve gone through risky with tech. They see franchise agreements as a built-in insurance policy. They’ve got proven data, unit economics, operations manuals, legal protections … and that’s built-in safety.”
Gruel says there are some negatives when it comes to millennial franchisees.
“The human variable is not a widget or a digit,” he says. “If someone is coming from the tech space, technology is binary and there’s not as much of a human element. In a restaurant, if three people who were scheduled to work call in sick and you can’t find fill-ins, your service goes down the drain and you might get a bad Yelp review and it’s a slippery slope. A lot of millennials don’t understand and appreciate that human aspect.”
While some millennials are interested in franchising because they made money in the last decade or so and need a relatively safe place to invest it, others are interested because they lived through the Great Recession between 2007 and 2009 and are looking for opportunity.
This especially applies to fast-casual franchises, Gruel says. He points out that many millennials came of age during the recession, a time when fast casuals started to take off as casual-dining customers traded down. Private equity investments in fast casuals started to explode, he says, and many concepts started to go viral through Instagram and Facebook.
Tran says the recession set three things into motion. First, it taught millennials that nothing is guaranteed and the best way to control one’s destiny is to be your own boss. Second, he says, the recession “ruined” real estate markets, which made it more affordable for young franchisees to open restaurants.
Finally, Tran says, many people were laid off, giving them the push they needed to start a business. “The recession helped fuel franchise growth with new brands, and less expensive brands, and more unique brands,” he says.
Another characteristic attributed to the millennials is that they are the boomerang generation, moving back home with their parents, at least for a while, after college graduation. A 2016 study from Fidelity Investments found that 21 percent of millennials were living with their parents, up from 14 percent in 2014, and two-thirds of the survey respondents said it’s acceptable for children to live with their parents.
This shows that millennials likely have a tighter bond with their parents as adults than previous generations did, something that has led to more franchising partnerships between parents and children.
The lifestyle factor
While attention has shifted in recent years to fast-casual brands that have pledged not to franchise—thereby creating the impression franchising is more a thing of the past—it seems owning a franchise is just as attractive to millennials as it was to past generations.
“Being your own boss has great appeal,” Rehman says. “Being able to grow a business from the bottom and make it prosper takes a lot of work, and it’s exciting when you have it all set up and don’t have to be there 100 hours a week anymore.”
Tran says millennials are concerned about their quality of life, and franchising gives them the flexibility to either stop at one or two units or grow to 50 or more.
“It’s a personal decision; it’s a lifestyle choice,” he says. “We want to have quality of life. Some millennials want to work aggressively and have massive growth. There’s a prevailing philosophy that you work hard now so you can focus on family and have quality of life later. Personally, I think you have to have quality of life now or you’ll never slow down.”
Gallup reported in August 2016 that 21 percent of millennial workers changed jobs within the preceding year, and six in 10 were open to different job opportunities. Meanwhile, only half of millennials planned to be with their company a year in the future.
This propensity toward job-hopping is sometimes viewed as a desire in millennials to get rich quick. But it could also be a sign that many millennials are just looking for a perfect fit—a fit that franchising might be able to provide.
“Franchising is not a way to get rich quick, but it is a way to be your own boss quickly,” Gruel says. “At the end of the day, potential franchisees have to ask themselves if that is satisfying enough to endure the long hours and hard work of the restaurant industry.”