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Sell to a Franchisor

Pitching Yourself to a Franchisor

Prepare well, think smart, articulate your ambitions, undergo a tough interview process, and keep your eye on the prize if you want to own a franchise in South Africa.

How Will You Change the Game for the Franchisor?

From the start, you need to think about how you’ll ‘wow’ the franchisor. South Africans have a bold, entrepreneurial determination. How will you articulate this mindset in your application? What sets you apart from the other franchise applicants?

Expressing your views on leadership – how you plan to ‘rally the troops’ when the going gets tough – would be one example. Demonstrating that you are invested in South Africa’s success, with roots in your local community, would be another.

Conveying how you plan to uplift your neighbourhood by opening a franchise (by way of employing locals, or taking part in charity events) are all commitments you can make that will most likely be music to the franchisor’s ears.

Now, let’s get into more details on how you can become a successful franchisee.

Choose the Right Partnership

A successful franchisor has developed a formula for running a profitable business by offering a service or product that has developed valuable brand loyalty over time.

The franchisor will have developed stringent operating standards that it will expect its franchisees to live up to as they carry the business’s reputation on their shoulders.

They are heavily invested in the franchisee’s success on account of all the hard work that they have put in over the years.

Essentially, a franchisor will be welcoming a new member to the family when choosing their next franchisee. As such, being a candidate who can stand out from the plethora of franchisee applicants requires several key considerations. Among these are:

  • Are you the right franchisee? Is this franchise the perfect fit for your business and personal skills?
  • Have you prepared an outstanding franchise application?
  • How are you looking to advance the franchisor’s ambitions? What ideas do you have to take the franchise forward, should you be awarded the franchise?

Owning a South African franchise is a smart entrepreneurial move, but it’s not simply a question of coming up with the finance and then opening the doors. The application process can be arduous, with many in-person interviews and lots of on-site evaluations before the successful candidate is announced.

Let’s assist you in selling yourself to a franchisor, preparing your application, and taking into consideration what can help you find your perfect franchisor match.

Find out more: Still not sure which franchise you should invest in? Learn how to choose the right franchise.

Conduct Ample Research Throughout

prepare FS application

Before you start your application process, undergo a fact-finding mission to learn all that you can about the franchise you are interested in, allowing you to be informed and steadfast in your determination to be the standout candidate.

Franchise events in the form of conferences are returning as business opportunities open up since COVID-19. Often online, these are a great way to learn more about the demands of running a franchise as you narrow down your search.

The Franchise Association of South Africa organized a successful ‘Franchising For Africa’ Conference in August of 2021 and they are a great starting point for finding out about franchise opportunities in your area.

Understanding the macro business climate will better equip you when it comes to selecting your franchise.

A visit to the franchisor’s website is your next online port of call to assess how the business you are looking to partner with presents itself to the rest of the world. Coupled with a perfunctory Google search where you punch in the franchise’s “(name) + news”, you’ll soon have a list of headlines that you can read through regarding what they have been up to.

For example, ,aking franchise news in South Africa at the moment is more and more global brands suspending their business operations with Russia on account of the invasion of Ukraine.

Consider the political ramifications of buying into an American franchise – or indeed any franchise that aligns itself closely with a country’s politics, even under the auspices of satire.

Nando’s has weathered many a storm as a South African fast-food chicken franchise that makes controversial advertising part of its modus operandi. But what does that look like if you’re the new franchise owner, defending their latest ad to a disgruntled customer in your store?

These are the conversations you want to be having with the franchisor during the interview process to show you mean business and understand the complexities that will invariably arise working with a franchise in a country like South Africa with its own complicated cultural and political history.

Obtaining Experience in the Industry

Asking a franchise expert for advice and then seeking the relevant support as you move closer to the application process is your next step.

Franchise Coaches offer up a series of fascinating online interviews as part of their MasterMindSA series that shares franchisor information. The franchise directors of Jawitz Property, Nando’s, Sorbet, and Pick ’n Pay are all there, offering up their hard-earned industry knowledge for free.

Don’t be shy to ask your list of contacts if they know of anyone involved in the industry that you are considering working in. If you’re not sure about spending long hours in a restaurant, then now is the time to ‘pick the brain’ of a restaurant owner and weigh up the relevant pros and cons before embarking on a career in the service industry.

In the franchise ecosystem, some companies will help you succeed in franchising, from research and development to executive training. Groe Global is an example of a company that is getting involved in the South African franchise landscape, having sponsored the aforementioned ‘Franchising For Africa’ Conference.

Preparing the Application

Having carefully researched the franchise that you wish to buy, you are in a position to state the similarities that you share with the franchisor.

Qualities like a passion for equal opportunity, rewarding employee loyalty, and maintaining a high work ethic are examples of things that you can mention as you show commonality with the franchisor.

Added to this you will need to include a succinct overview of your company with an emphasis on your achievements, proven track record, and future ambitions all clearly stated.

Your application will in all likelihood need to be submitted online, and you then need to prepare yourself for the series of one-on-one interviews that will take place, should your initial application succeed.

This is your chance for your calm and assured personality to shine through: when you get to prove that your feathers don’t ruffle easily and that you can handle a bit of pressure. The basics around dress etiquette, being on time, and not needing to rely on notes during your interview all apply.

You should be able to look the franchisor directly in the eye and discuss their business – and how you can add value – in a candid manner that demonstrates your passion to get involved on account of the background research that you have done.

As with preparing a CV, you’ll want to give your referrals a heads up that they should expect a call from the franchisor, ready in an instant to sing your praises!

Be warned: most SA franchises will conduct a telephonic interview, an in-person on-site interview, and then follow that up with an on-the-job evaluation before being accepted into the training programme. Prepare yourself for this challenging process to last a few months.

Examples of Franchise Applications

King Pie would be an example of a good quality, low-cost franchise in South Africa. With over 300 franchises, they’ve been around for over 25 years. They offer great versatility too, from their mall stores to their mobile units.

Let’s assume that there was a new taxi rank or mall opening up in your area and you spy an opportunity to open a franchise on account of the increased footfall. Your next step would be to contact King Pie using their franchise contact form and they would then negotiate with the landlord on your behalf.

King Pie offers a professional team that will assess your application and match you to a site. Three days of theoretical course training at King Pie’s support office is then followed by two days of intensive practical training at a regional centre before the turnkey operation can then start trading.

Sticking with fast food, McDonalds has been in South Africa since 1995 and set the benchmark for franchise functionality. Once you’ve filled in their franchise application form, expect a phone interview should your initial application succeed.

Your sustainability will then be measured by a series of personality and ability tests, followed by a face-to-face interview at McDonalds head office. After that you will undergo an on-the-job evaluation where you will also meet other franchisees, providing you with the opportunity to discuss your concerns and learn as much as possible.

After this comes a 90-minute in-depth interview with McDonalds Management. Should your application then be deemed successful, you will undergo between 9 and 12 months of training in a McDonalds restaurant before becoming a franchisee. The stakes are high in terms of investment (time, money, and energy) – but the financial rewards are proven over time.

A successful franchise applicant is, therefore, someone prepared to jump through hoops while keeping the end goal in sight. They also need immaculate financial records and a strong personality that echoes the brand values of the franchise that they are wishing to become a part of.

Funding the Purchase of a Franchise

If this all sounds overwhelming, fear not. Some organizations can offer funding advice, and it is possible to obtain small business grants to fund certain elements of the business. If you’d like to find out more about this, you can read our guide on small business grants.

Banks also see established franchises as fairly resilient and so are more likely to afford preferential treatment to franchise applicants when applying for a loan. You can read our guide on loans to buy an existing business to find out more information.

Some other options include:

The National Empowerment Fund is all about growing black economic participation in SA and offers franchise finance as one of its products. They appreciate the risk associated with start-up businesses and aim to reduce those risks by providing amenable financing terms to successful franchisee candidates.

The ABSA Woman Empowerment Fund is just one example of a finance facility that offers lending of up to R15 million if you are a woman-owned business. Similar organizations include Enablis Acceleration Fund, Isivande Women’s Fund, Masisizane Fund, and Africa Trust Group.

All of these organizations are also well positioned to assess your franchisor’s potential and help you tackle the necessary application process.

Find out more: Want to know more about the franchise agreement? Read our guide to find out what it is and why it’s important.

It’s Time to Sign the Dotted Line

Embarking on the process of owning your own franchise is a challenging process that will force you to assess your personal strengths and weaknesses as well as scrutinise whether you have the appetite and mettle for the job through a series of robust interviews and training.

If you’re up for it, next comes signing the franchise agreement. Upon signing you have 14 days to change your mind, otherwise, it’s all systems go! is here to help you with your franchise application by putting you in touch with the right people in your area. Please feel free to reach out to us here.

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