Packing franchise from A to B

  • Tutorial
This written work does not pretend to a detailed manual on how to build a successful business, but during the existence of the ROBOKOR Robotics Centers, invaluable experience was obtained, some of which I would like to convey in this article.

1. Background

Just over a year ago we opened the first robotics circle in a small city. Now there are already 5 of them in cities of various numbers and the packaging of the Robotics Centers franchise is almost completed. During this time we had ups and downs, interesting and frankly dead-end solutions, but first things first. 

The idea to open a children's robotics circle came from pain - in small towns there were no children's circles aimed at technical development. Preparations for the exam are enough everywhere, private tutors in their number will soon catch up with sectarians from arileme and other network solutions. There is also a lot of sports in small cities, but if a child does not like sports, how can he spend his leisure time? The decision "on the reverse" was elementary - no? - do it! University skills in programming, electronics, and the fundamentals of robotics were an excellent foundation for the primary analysis of a survival project. According to the classics of the genre, there was very little money to open the first circle. Enough only for the purchase of primary electronics. Furniture was requested at the nearest school - they shared with us decommissioned school desks and chairs. Renting a room with payment immediately for two months ate our budget finally. I had to advertise according to the law of the streets - wherever possible, by any means. After purchasing the board and other office small things, our balance became negative, but despite all the difficulties associated with the discovery process, we firmly believed in success, and therefore we firmly decided to go to the end. 

Did anything worth it come out of it? You can judge for yourself - now we can already call ourselves a network of children's robotics centers, and just the other day we closed the deal on the first franchise.

2. Background

Franchise is a great opportunity on the one hand to develop into the breadth of the main organization, on the other - to offer a turnkey business with minimal risks. On Habré there is a very interesting article ( about the general principles of franchising, which provides data on the life cycle of businesses - for 5 years of work of franchises, only 14% are closed for various reasons, against 85% of the closure of independent companies. Indeed, this year we filled a lot of cones and lost a lot of money for various studies and experiments, and now, having documented each single cone, we maximize the chances of potential franchisee’s success.

In one of our past articles, we have already mentioned an interesting concept of the franchise of the children's center. Today, the lump-sum fee (one-time payment) of most companies developing through a franchise to the lion’s share is concluded in Brand - theoretically, opening a new point you just need to go outside, shout the brand name, and customers will come to you right away. In fact, everything is more complicated. In small and medium-sized cities, most likely, no one knows about the Brand of the franchise of the company you are going to buy. 

A very interesting concept that I once heard, it seems from Kiyosaki, sounds like a question - Why do the poor only get poorer in time and the rich get richer? If you think about it, the roots of this issue go to something fundamental that can be transferred to other industries. Why is there a hypercompetition in large cities in every niche, and in small ones - often even a coffee house isn’t normal? Try to open sushi / rolls delivery in Moscow in 2018 without UTP. You can take bets, how many days you will last in the market. At the same time, when analyzing niches in cities up to 80 thousand, in 7 out of 10 there was no delivery of sushi / rolls at all, or the offer was of very low quality. All persist in competing in the regional centers with high costs of existence, while losing sight of the huge market opportunities of small cities.

Before the opening of the first circle, we briefly analyzed the existing solutions in the franchise market for children's robotics. Omit the already agreed mark-up for the brand. Of course, the cost of a one-time fee also includes guidelines for starting a circle, its promotion and management, as well as instructions for conducting developmental activities. Remember the percentage of the termination of projects for franchises? So for such a low percentage of the franchisee also pays at the entrance. In fact - for fairly modest investments, franchisees are taken by hand and adjusted to the average profit with which the company is already starting to work with a positive balance.

Of course, the trend of franchises was picked up by bad people who pack everything into the franchise that moves and makes as many sales as possible without any kind of support and advice. Unfortunately, recently I come across such cases more and more often. For the market, this is definitely a negative side, with which the market itself tries to fight, and in particular the legal system of our country, but some of the pests always parasitize on profitable niches. Therefore, the choice of a franchise should be approached as versatile as possible - check all the information that you can check in order not to fall into the clutches of bloodthirsty franchise trolls.

But back to the positive waves.
3 months after the launch of the first circle, we decided that it was time to move on, and opened another circle in another city. Was it too ambitious? Of course. We would try with a rather raw offer to get into the market of children's leisure of regional centers, we would fly out into the tube, and not open. However, around the regional centers are dozens of cities in which there is nothing like it. Direct competition zero. There we set our sights. By the way, according to our modest estimates in Russia at the moment 75% of cities from 40 thousand to 150 thousand people in which there are no commercial circles of robotics. School circles are sluggishly developing, in particular thanks to the Deripaska “Volnoe Delo” foundation, however, in the midst of commercial circles, due to greater competition, development is taking long strides, therefore, whatever these funds are not great, offers of commercial circles will always be more relevant for the end user. Opening the second Robotics Center, we relied on the experience already gained in this field, which made it possible to close all KPIs to the proper level much faster.

As we replicated, we began to realize that in each new city advertising, and other small processes work differently. Of course, there were common points that, over time, revealed that now when opening a new city, even faster to achieve the desired results, but at the beginning this circumstance was akin to magic. Two cities, located 30 km from each other, with the same number and infrastructure could give a diametrically opposite result to the advertising campaign.

When the third circle was opened in another 2 months, we somehow reached the audience of local rich people. The children were brought to us on the new Mercedes, and a small number of children with parents' wealth were lower, they felt uncomfortable in the circumstances. Of course, in certain situations, an overpayable audience is good, but it frankly interfered with us, because we could not raise the price 4 times and conduct classes for 20-30 rich children, ignoring everyone else. Calibration of children in groups according to their temperament partially solved the problem. We found the complete solution in the training of our mentors in conflict management and other disciplines related to the organization of the work process in a team.

On the financial side, we finally figured out all the intricacies of organizing children's leisure, and were able to reach a margin of 60% - 65%, which is quite good, with an average subscription price of 2500 rubles per 70 clients per month.

3. First steps

After the opening of the third circle, for the first time, we began to receive offers from friends, about opening the next circle at their expense, with the division of profits. And then we thought about the franchise. Since that time, another 2 circles have been launched, mostly for testing blind zones in management and development, which we did not fully understand at that time. A cursory analysis of the launch opportunities for the franchise revealed two solutions - try to pack everything yourself, or entrust the professionals.

Initially, we considered the possibility of packaging on the side, but rather quickly realized that along with the avalanche of franchises that covered the Russian market several years ago, the trolls came — packers who worked for quantity, imitating ekpertnost. Those few packers who showed themselves from the best side were worth unreasonably expensive. Poking a finger into the sky, with the hope of getting into a competent contractor, we did not want. Therefore, we decided that if we do not succeed with the franchise, then we will not succeed in this, and we will be entirely guilty of this rather than the contractor we have chosen to fail all on the side. (of which we will be guilty, of course, the same) Plus for us the packing of the franchise will become an invaluable experience.

After choosing the solution for the packaging of the franchise, we began to actively explore this issue: to consult with existing franchises, attend seminars and training on packaging and much more. Not to say that after studying a ton of articles and attending many trainings, we became packaging experts - of course not. But there was an understanding of what to do. In my head gradually formed the path that you need to go further.

First designed the structure of the package. Everything is built around a single document - a brand book (or franchbuka, or something else. Each calls it differently), which describes all the processes from signing franchise agreements at the very beginning of the way to moving the circle through various advertising sources in half a year or year after launch. Brand book is a bible of franchising, where you can find answers to almost all questions. The brand itself is divided into two parts: instructions and comments on the launch of the circle, and instructions and comments after the official opening of the circle.

At the very beginning the answers to the following questions are given:

- Registration of legal entities. person or sp. The choice of taxation system.
- How to integrate franchising into an existing business.
- Options for placing a mug.
- Subscription pricing policy.
- Analytics of competitors, places of concentration of the target audience. Search and Passing target audience.
- Sources of advertising. Planning an advertising company.
- Media planning.
- Training of mentors for leisure activities. Standards for interviewing.
- Formation of promotional products.
- Description of the methodological recommendations for classes.
- Goals and objectives for each age group of customers.
- Legal issues of organization. Obtaining the necessary permits, the formation of contracts with customers, etc.
- Opening event.

All points are interconnected by common logic; a single algorithm of launch actions has also been developed.

After the opening, detailed recommendations are given on the initial promotion, possible promotional activities and the coordinates of the “reefs” about which you can break. We have already filled all possible bumps for the franchisee, duplicating errors will not be optimal.

The legal side of the issue is so extensive that it deserves a separate article. If you need advice on legal packaging here and now, we are ready to meet on Skype for free and discuss everything.

The most difficult aspect for us to pack a franchise was the unified formation of guidelines for conducting robotics classes. Before that, everything was built on high-class mentors with a broad outlook, ready to answer any question. Of course, we wrote a lot of blocks from scratch - electronics, programming of games and animation, programming of microcontrollers, 3D modeling, and much more. If you draw an analogy with the house, then all of the above will be bricks, and the mentors will be the “solution” that will connect the bricks to each other. The most difficult thing for us was to document the “solution” so that even a random person from the street would immediately understand everything. In general, the main indicator of the success of a brand book of any franchise is the maximum comprehensibility of a casual person from the street of all its components.

I think that there will be enough information for this article, especially since we still have the entire alphabet ahead. Wait for us in the next article - “Packaging franchise from B to C”.

Also popular now: