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Retail 2009-08-05

Franchising a predefined route

Describing franchising a predefined route Mr Singh shares his views and experience on franchising and encourages young entrepreneurs to opt for franchising to be a successful business

By Director (retail projects)
Franchising a predefined route

The year 2000 was a stepping stone for me as I became the part of an organised retail sector in India. Our brand Samsonite was well qualified to join this changing face of the Indian retail industry!

It may be noted that at this point of time Samsonite was already a part of an organised retail across the world however the prevailing international retail model was not that easy to be implemented in an emerging market like India. This gave birth to a franchisee model which was tailor made for the Indian market. This was considered as simple yet elaborative to be understood well by the new franchisees. We created 160 plus franchisees across the country (i.e. in addition to 50 company operated stores). Most of them are continuing with us since its inception.

 I wish to share my personal experience while passing through this journey which could be of use to the youth who intend to take up franchising as a career. While opening one after another franchised store I noticed that all our franchisees were freshers in this travel goods industry business. Most of them were managed by a beginner passed out from college or women partner of the main investor and even in a few cases the owner himself chose to manage the day to day operations. However as mentioned none of them had any previous experience or qualification to take up travel goods’ brand franchisee for that matter. May be it was easier for them to follow a predefined business model which was readily available through internal guidelines/trainings which included  store’s fitout guideline,  what to stock, how much to stock, how to display, how to handle a customer etc  

 I noticed that such franchisees being fresher and with an open mind to learn new things approached us as an advantage to implement emerging thoughts/ideas more conveniently. These young and fresh minds shared lot of valuable ideas/thoughts in turn.

 A common factor amongst the relatively better successful franchisees is that they were personally involved in their business and were adequately passionate about it. Hence a prior experience was not at all to their disadvantage.

 The purpose of sharing my personal experience with the new entrepreneurs is to make them aware of these pre requisites before taking up a franchise. They should choose a product/line of business for which they have passion and can also take the help of the brand to undertake required ground work such as location suitability and catchment potential analysis.

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