The directions provided to each franchisee will likely have to be precise. Business owners, however, are frequently accustomed to running their companies on intuition, and it may be difficult for them to itemize all the infinitesimal but important obligations they fulfill every day. Franchisees will not have the freedom to improvise, and will need to be told how to do everything from keeping the books to ordering supplies. Every step of the process must be carefully outlined. The business owner may have to rediscover what it is like to run a company for the first time.
Tariq Farid had owned four flower shops by the time he was 19. He remembers sitting with his mother, who helped him around the shop, when he was making sixty dollars a day, and he’d tell her of his dream to someday make seventy. When he reached his goal, he turned it in for another dream. Soon he was telling his mother that he wanted to make eight, nine thousand dollars a day. “It never ends,” he says.
It still hasn’t for Farid, CEO and founder of Edible Arrangements. That early experience was better than any business school for Farid, but it still didn’t prepare him for the challenges of building his next idea, a shop that sold bouquets made of carved fresh fruit, into an international franchise. When he started out, he says, the franchising wasn’t part of his business plan. “We mostly focused on building the business,” says Farid. Which means no job was too small for Farid to take on himself. When the company website needed photos of the product, Farid became an amateur food photographer. When his shop needed a more robust back end to allow them to fill more orders online, Farid built it.
With his head buried in how to increase revenues that were already steadily growing, Farid says he didn’t think much about franchising until a man walked into his shop one day and said he wanted to open an Edible Arrangements in Boston. To see what might be involved in opening a franchise, Farid decided to do a test run himself, in the form of a second store. He found a building, filed the documents, and went through all the minutiae himself, from interior decoration to training the staff. He forced himself to work through each step of the process exactly as a new franchisee would.