The growth of the ‘franchisepreneur’

Franchising has an image problem. In our current culture, where we’ve reached peak entrepreneurship obsession, when it comes to channels for business growth, we’re far more likely to hear about IPOs, venture capital, crowdfunding, mergers and acquisitions, or licensing. Franchising? Decidedly less so.

I believe that somewhere along the line the public mood shifted. Franchising came to be considered a less exciting prospect, quite separate from entrepreneurship. How did this happen?

Franchising has long been one of the best ways for entrepreneurs to quickly yet sustainably grow their businesses. And it is those entrepreneurs that continue to be the heart and soul of Australia’s biggest franchises. So why is franchising losing some of its sheen with entrepreneurs?

What makes this image problem even more confusing is that franchising is actually on the rise in Australia. According to the Asia Pacific Centre for Franchising Excellence*, the franchise sector grew by $2 billion from $144 billion to $146 billion from 2014 to 2016 alone. There are roughly 1,200 different franchise systems operating nationally with almost 80,000 franchisees. Australia continues to have one of the highest rates of franchising in the world.

The growth of ‘franchisepreneurship’

Perhaps what we need is a new word to describe the culture of entrepreneurship that continues to thrive in the franchising industry – I suggest ‘franchisepreneurship.

Franchising is an excellent way to scale a business. Just ask franchisepreneur Rob Deutsch of fitness franchise F45, who has experienced phenomenal growth through franchising in less than three years. F45 is set to have opened 1,200 F45 studios worldwide by the end of the year.

Or ask Simon Crowe of Grill’d Burgers whose business is now worth $314 million or Janine Allis whose business Boost Juice is now in over 15 countries. Both are excellent examples of franchisepreneurs. Of course, the list goes on and on.

Innovating from within

And let’s not forget those franchises which are innovating from within.

Kwik Kopy was recognised in the 2016 FCA Excellence in Franchising Awards in the Franchise Innovation category for their work on online print management solution Zenith Hub. Leather Doctor was also recognised for their work innovating in a niche, high demand and low competition segment.

Being able to continually deliver innovation is one of the strengths of our industry and is why many of our most successful franchises have been around for decades .

I’m proud to be a part of the team at Hire A Hubby which is also committed to innovating from within. We’ve recently launched Franchise Cloud Solutions, an end-to-end franchising system which can manage every possible function in a franchise.

Over six years ago, Hire A Hubby embarked on a digital transformation project to develop a bespoke franchising system to manage every part of the business digitally. During the development and rollout, we quickly realised that the system had untapped potential to become a cost effective, flexible and scalable industry wide solution. This is our way of giving back to the industry’s thriving culture of ‘franchisepreneurship’. It’s great to be recognised by the industry too –we won last year’s FCA Excellence in Franchising Award in the Franchise Innovation category. We’re among excellent company.

While the franchising sector may have an image problem, it masks an otherwise dynamic and growing sector of which I am proud to be a part. The entrepreneurial culture at the heart of franchising has a bright and long future, driven by the next generation of franchisepreneurs.

* 2016 survey shows franchising is on the rise in Australia, Asia Pacific Centre for Franchising Excellence,