At 50, Jean-Marc Doncy, Procurement Director at Fauchon, only dreamed of one thing: launching his own business. “Do-it-yourself shop, garden center, mini-market… I had no exact idea, he recalls. I just wanted to create a business that would allow me to develop quickly.” It was only natural that Jean-Marc would then turn to franchising, knowing full well that he began his career within the network of Champion stores. After a few weeks of research, he discovered great opportunities for development in the Monceau Fleurs range. Wise choice: Within four years, he has opened four stores in western Paris and hopes to create a fifth.
This franchisor’s story is not unique. Because, with the exception of some very technical sectors, it is not necessary to have any particular knowledge or skills to get started in this way. Every year, thousands of employees looking for turnkey concepts retrain in sectors completely alien to them. and train themselves by practicing their new profession. In 2010 they were 55,800 for the adventurous experience, compared to 45,000 in 2007. An increase also explained by the reassuring aspect of the franchise: the business model has already been tested, the network generally has a bad reputation and franchisees can sometimes benefit from the franchisor’s support. Rather motivating people who want a taste of independence but do not have a clear idea of the choice of activity. To succeed, they will nonetheless have to respect the rules of the system.
Dare to jump into the unknown
> Manuel Lucas left steel to stone. Nothing prepared this former foreman in metallurgy to become a franchisee of Mikit Homes. “While building my own home, I discovered the brand…and fell in love with the product,” he says. From a customer, you become the franchisor. I have never regretted this choice. And for good reason: with 40 homes being built every year, his agency, running at full speed, has a turnover of more than 2 million euros.
> Johann Kodert lays flowers before hamburgers. Chief Financial Officer at McDonald’s France headquarters, Johann Codert was far from imagining that he would one day find himself at the helm of Rapid’Flore. I didn’t know much about flowers, but I trained myself. I learned not only to put together a bouquet, but also and above all to run a store whose stock is perishable,” states this tetrameter who opened, after the success of his store in Mantes-la-Jolie, a second point of sale in Poissy, still in Yvelines.
> Laurent Pronko has stopped marketing tanning products. The former Cetelem Marketing Director went crazy when he quit his job and took over the management of Point Soleil. “I had fifteen years of service operations behind me. I knew how to hire, manage, manage and delegate. I wouldn’t have started without this solid background!”
Bowing to the franchisor’s discipline
> In Speedy, Ugo Peseta avoided leaving the road. A few months after the opening of his Speedy Center, located in La Ferté-sous-Jouarre, in Seine-et-Marne, Ugo Peseta took the unfortunate initiative to break out of the framework imposed by the franchisor. While Speedy’s model relies entirely on “entrance,” he wanted to play the role of maverick by allowing his clients to book. “The turnover rate went down immediately,” recalls Ugo Peseta, who quickly corrected the situation. Today, his garage attracts 500 customers per month and records an annual turnover of 1.3 million euros, which makes it one of the most profitable centers in the network. In franchising, discipline is a sine qua non of success. It is not on a whim for the franchisor to impose a particular decoration or service, but because it knows that these items have proven their worth. Following the instructions from the start is the surest way to avoid ignition delay.
> At TRIBA, Philippe Drouant held his position. Franchisor of the window manufacturer since 2009, Philippe Derwant was convinced that by following a model already verified in the letter, he was putting the odds on his side. Bingo! His agency, located in the heart of Paris, is now a success and has a turnover of 4 million euros. The start was very fast. He predicts, “Since the first year, I have made a 12% return and will finish 2011 with 20%. I don’t have any particular secrets, and I am satisfied with applying the franchisor’s model and following his advice.”
> In Blue Elephant, Olivier Plasmans consolidated his contribution. This apprentice businessman was looking for a profitable business that would not take much of his time. This is how he became interested in automatic washing and invested €350,000 in his first film, Blue Elephant, in Coulommiers, in Seine-et-Marne. In 2009, he returned to fate to open a second position, a few kilometers from the first. “With a return of 25-30%, they are both an investment for the future,” he says. It is three times the amount of sales achieved. Initially, my personal contribution was only 50,000 euros.
Benefit from the brand’s technical expertise
>Christophe Lapierre managed not to wipe the plaster. When Christophe Lapierre joined the Natilia network, which specializes in the construction of wooden houses, in 2010, he did not hesitate to seek expert advice from the founder of the network. “I am one of the first four franchisees and am aware of the risk, he admits. But I am not alone: I can rely on the skills of the franchisor, particularly in terms of regulations, allowing me to be productive from the start. I would never have dared to imagine freelance work In this market. There are too many external parameters to manage.” After being exempted from regulatory, legal and logistical restrictions, the franchisor can focus on its business. And make it flourish. Christophe Lapierre has already sold 29 homes in less than a year of activity, while the breakeven point has been set at 14 sales.
> For Helen Fichte, settling in on it was child’s play. The previous management console at Procter & Gamble also relied on its franchisor’s expertise. The young woman was desperately searching for an early childhood business idea. She couldn’t stop hesitating between boutique, creative workshops, language lessons…until the day she discovered the concept of Come and play centers at home (which won the Mercure HEC Management/Management Award). “I gathered everything I was looking for: a shop with original products, creative workshops, birthday parties…although this kind of activity doesn’t exist anywhere else, I got started and opened at the end of June “. Helen Fichte knew she could count on the franchisor’s help for approvals, staff training, premises fit-out, etc. “And I get supplies from the network’s central purchasing office. Products are delivered on time and changed every two months. I save a lot of time.”
>Frédérique Moresmau jumped on the wagon. Frédérique Moresmau set her sights on low-priced TheraCh’i wellness treatment centers, which appeared in France in 2008. “The franchisee came to visit the building with me and today I can call him whenever I want. He’s reassuring,” admits the young woman, who was excited about the idea Participate in an authentic entrepreneurial adventure. “I’m on a moving train. Right now there are a few positions but in a few years the market will explode. Often incorporating a network that is still small will create bonds of trust with its creator. We can then make up for the lack of hindsight with personal advice.
Multiply the selling points
> Alexandra Carmona opened two restaurants in record time. Within ten months, between 2010 and 2011, the young woman opened two fast food addresses La Mie câline in Bordeaux. Connecting its geographical area as quickly as possible is in fact the number one goal of this franchisor who has chosen to manage the rental (his initial contribution was €60,000, but it pays a monthly rent of €14,000 to the franchisor). “The brand was surprised: It wasn’t such an expansion in its plans, it admits. But the results of the first selling point were so good that they accepted.”
The multi-franchise system is now a classic in networks. After a year or two, if their results are good, franchisees invest their profits in a new brand and run two, three or four points of sale. According to the French Franchise Association, 11% of franchisees own three units. But multi franchise requires a strong backstop and nickel run accounts. When controlling two Midas garages in Marseille, Arnaud Manuguera is very vigilant on this point: “The first place makes me live and not touch the profits of the second. This money will be used to finance the acquisition of a third.
> Stephane Dumont learned delegation. With three Subway restaurants located in Rouen and Le Havre, Stéphane Dumont had to organize his bands. Because who says the rapid development of the paramilitary organization, but above all the ability to delegate. He explains, “I have a manager at each point of sale, as well as three salespeople. I also hire an accountant to manage restaurants. When you run multiple locations, you have to know how to delegate with confidence.”
> Thierry Samson became a Chief of Chiefs. The delegation, Thierry Samson is an ardent follower. This franchisor, who owns seven EasyCash stores (repurchase used products: jewelry, computer equipment, miscellaneous things, etc.), has gone further in the process: “Each store runs a manager. I suggested five of them get Equity their point of sale capital. This strategy allows me to engage and motivate them even more.” But also to find time to develop new projects. The eighth editorial is already included in the program.
Look for an idea with a beacon
The principle of Balise Network: to help those who want to create a business to find a business idea. With the support of the Boutiques de Gestion, this structure organizes free creative workshops at about a hundred reception points. Candidates are gathered in group and individual workshops led by a consultant. This educational method reassures, stimulates and leads to ways of thinking. Last year, more than 1,000 people participated. But there are no statistics to indicate the number of those who have taken action. www.reseau-balise.org.
Do you draw inspiration from abroad? Yes, but adapting the idea…
Copy ideas that work elsewhere: everyone has been doing it since the dawn of time. Paul Dubrule et Gérard Pélisson, les fondateurs du groupe Accor, se sont inspirés des motels américains pour créer les Formule 1 en France en 1985. Idem pour Victor Augais et Nicolas Warter, qui, pour trouver leur business exploit concepts, ont benchmarké les meilleurs in Great Britain. At the end of 2005, they brought the idea of five-on-five soccer back into their suitcase and created their company, UrbanFootball. As long as it has not been the subject of a patent application extended to Europe or France, there is really nothing illegal in discovering an idea abroad and developing it in France. The difficulty is rather of a cultural nature, because adaptation is always necessary. Guillaume Lecointre had to comply. En 2008, après avoir importé à Paris la tradition new-yorkaise des vendeurs ambulants de “snacks”, il a fait subir à son concept un léger lifting, en remplaçant dans ses petits chariots les hot dogs made in Manhattan sandwich par des salades et dess high-end. The essential French touch!
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