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Cream of the crop Quirky concepts are whipping up renewed interest in the franchising world

Written on the 23 September 2013

Daily Telegraph, Sydney

By Nhada Larkin

FROZEN yoghurt, ice-cream, Mexican fast food and pop-up retailing are among the latest franchising innovations, but any small business person considering a franchise opportunity should do some rigorous homework.

Kym De Britt, general manager of the Franchise Council of Australia, says the health care sector has also enjoyed growing franchise opportunities, particularly in senior and home care because of our ageing population.

"A particularly innovative trend that is currently growing is pop-up stores," De Britt says.

"To compete in an incredibly difficult retail environment, some systems are developing pop-up or mobile versions of their concept to circumnavigate long-term leases.

"Seasonal shopping means these concepts can move into casual retail leasing sites to capitalise on major events like Christmas. Everything from cafes to book stores have trialled the concept." De Britt says franchising offers small business people the opportunity to be in business "kryoumeff-notbyyoure "A franchisee is part of a network, which has the support of an established franchise brand. There is initial and ongoing training.

"There is collective buying power among franchisees and there is a consequent stature with suppliers, which gives much greater confidence to a franchisee than might be available to a stand-alone business owner." De Britt says it’s important for all potential franchisees to "do your homework".

"This means both on the business you are considering as well as on yourself and your current situation," be says.

"To maximise the franchise opportunity, it is essential to think carefully about what type of business will best work foryou.

"Once you have decided the type of franchise you would like to be a part of, compare what is on offer in that industry/market segment. Consider things such as initial investment, ongoing fees, fitout, training and support when making comparisons." PwC partner Greg Hodson says there is continual innovation in franchise concepts, with state-of-the-art technologies allowing for increased personalisation and improved ordering processes.

Hodson says concepts are emerging around 24-hour fitness centres, frozen yoghurt, Vietnamese and Mexican fast food and ice cream. "Anlnnovaffvenewfranchbe concept we have seen is liquid nitrogen ice-cream concepts, where unusual ice-cream flavours are made to order using liquid nitrogen, ensuring a fun and unique customer service experience," he says.

"The common theme behind the majority of these concepts is both the fresh and new and the personalised element providing unique customer experiences." Hodson says a franchise offers business owners reduced risks.

"Quality franchise systems will have a proven track record of success, a strongbrand which can be leveraged on a national basis, comprehensive initial and ongoing training programs and support programs to ensure that a franchisee is set up for success," he says.

"It also has ongoing guidance in operating their business, marketing assistance so that promotional opportunities for their business are continually maximised especially in their local community, and strong supplier relationships." Matt Bailey, co-founder of liquid nitrogen ice cream business Nitrogenie, says they are about to franchise their outlets both in Australia and overseas. He says the appeal for small business people is the uniqueness of the product.

"The great thing about it is, as much as it’s a wonderful show and experience for customers, it really is also a superior product," he says.

"The best chefs in the world have been making ice-cream this way for years.

"All we’re doing is taking that to the streets." There are currently two Nitrogenie stores operating in Queensland, but Bailey says the first international franchise outlet will open in Bangkok early next year, with local ones hopefully opening up around the country this summer.

Before diving in, potential franchisees should ask themselves these questions: How many hours a week do you have to invest in a franchising business? Do you want to manage a team of workers, or simply run

the business for yourself? What funds do you have ready to invest? What will be left as working capital for the business?

Click here to read release on source website.

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