How to Franchise a Business

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Image by: Amanda Geiger
Jim Bodden expanded his small commercial painting business into a franchise by building up from a solid foundation.

Franchising is a great exercise in formalizing business operations.

Great ideas for businesses abound today, but successful execution is much rarer. The odds against growing a small business into a major enterprise become even tougher when a service is involved because so many service businesses depend on knowledge. However, a Richmond tradesman managed to turn his service business into a system so powerful he sold it within a year.


 

The Problem


Jim Bodden had been operating a small commercial painting business in the Lower Mainland for more than a decade when he had an idea to expand his business tremendously. But for years he had been a hands-on manager; his knowledge was his biggest asset. How could he turn that idea into an executable plan that would vault him into the business big leagues?



The Solution


Bodden’s idea was to paint houses and other buildings in just one day, thereby minimizing the disruption that comes with a typical painting job. In 2010, he called on a friend, business consultant Mark Wardell, to help him create a business around the idea. 


Wardell, who provides complete systems to businesses that want to reach new stages of growth, agreed that this was a ready-made franchising opportunity. Soon One-Day Franchising was born – a company formed with the intention of formalizing the one-day painting concept and selling it to franchisees.


An idea and a name do not make a successful franchising business, however. A plan is needed to guide every step of the business’s processes. Together the two men went through a proof-of-concept exercise, identified the primary lever of growth (the need to maintain quality while working at lightning speed) and laid out a plan to guide not only Bodden but franchisees in operating their businesses.


It was an intense process in which every step was itemized, described and written into a series of manuals. Under Wardell’s system, corporate foundations such as mission, vision and strategic objectives were determined first. Then organizational structure and management manuals were created. Next came marketing systems in which customer profiles were created. Financial controls and procedures also had to be instituted and itemized, as did operations such as research and development, production and delivery. Lastly, a sales methodology was described in detail. 


Eight months from its beginning, One-Day Franchising was in business. And very quickly the much admired Brian Scudamore, founder of the franchising powerhouse 1-800-GOT-JUNK, heard of the system. He was thinking of diversifying into other franchise systems so he called in One-Day to paint his house. 


Everything worked perfectly. Scudamore was so impressed by the operation’s precision he bought the company. It’s now called 1-888-WOW-1day Inc. Scudamore is the CEO and Bodden is the company’s director of field operations and a board member. 


He’s also the new company’s first franchisee.

 

Lessons


• A business’s processes are its main asset. This is especially true for service businesses that have no tangible assets beyond the owner’s knowledge and goodwill. Whether they become one or not, all businesses should be planned as franchises.


• Create a solid foundation. To grow quickly, precise and intensive planning is essential. Before a tall building is built, developers sink supporting platforms deep into the ground.


• Form an exit strategy. Many entrepreneurs start businesses without any idea about where they want to go. To be successful, a business should be able to stand on its own even if the founder leaves or the company is sold.



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