By Sam Christopher Lim
Senior Vice President, Francorp Philippines
With the Philippine economy booming, never have more brands wanted to come into the Philippine market. Every week new foreign franchise brands have been opening, and a question we always get is, what would smaller scale business owners have to do to become master franchisees of foreign brands?
Contrary to popular belief, big conglomerates are not always the top franchise partner of foreign brands, what’s important to them is to find someone who is an able, suitable & willing franchise partner.
Able: a would-be master franchisee would need sufficient business experience in order to start, grow and run a foreign brand. A good understanding of customer service, marketing and financial & business acumen would be important for a would-be partner. Equally important is of course the ability to fund the capital requirements & get locations. A foreign brand will look to you to develop multiple locations, and would rely on you to find the right locations for the brand and fund the development of the first few stores. So when evaluating your capital, it is best to ensure that you have enough capital to open a few stores and not just 1.
Suitable: Foreign brands would be looking at someone who can follow the systems they have developed. They would look for someone who can help localize, but still keep the essence of the brand. And as with any partnership, they would look at your values and your company’s values. It is critical that there is a fit in brand values as this would ensure a smoother partnership.
Willing: Foreign brands would prefer that as the owner & investor, you would be actively participating in the business. They know there’s no substitute to an owner being involved in growing his business and his investment, so they will want to understand how involved you will be. This is the advantage of smaller scale business owners, as oftentimes, acquiring foreign brands is a significant step for your group and will surely merit a lot of your attention & expertise.
If you think you are an able, suitable & willing master franchisee, then do take the next step and pursue a foreign brand. It helps if you show initiative – whether flying to meet the franchisor or already pre-selecting locations and preparing a business plan. In addition, introductions or referrals go a long way, whether getting introduced by a partner, consultant or franchise brokers. Also, make sure you attend franchise shows where foreign brands are participating, as it’s your chance to talk face to face with multiple foreign franchise brands and find the right one for you.