Franchise territory mapping is the process of defining and identifying potential territories for a franchise in decline. With many of today’s franchises, the new territory has been carved out of existing demand. In other words, what was once profitable within a given geographical region may have become stale after a few years. This problem should be identified and solved before a franchise becomes “sick” and fails. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to determine which territories are vital to profitability and which ones are doomed to fail.
For this reason, most franchising companies turn to the help of industry mapping specialists who can provide franchise territory mapping services. These consultants map out a franchise’s viability based on a series of metrics including location, population, and market size. The franchise consultant will also take into consideration current competitor strategies, the quality of competitors’ products and service, and customer expectations. Together, these maps allow a company to determine whether a franchise is worth the investment.
Before territory mapping can begin, there must be a development agreement in place between franchisees and franchisors. The development agreement establishes the specific parameters for the operation of each franchise, as well as the financial terms for purchasing, leasing, and selling franchises. Because of the legal and financial obligations associated with franchise sales and leases, developing an appropriate development agreement is essential. The development agreement should specify the boundaries within which each franchise is offered to the market.
While thorough territory mapping is important, one of the most important steps is to develop a brand strategy. It is not enough to simply map out the available territory; the franchisee must also craft a marketing and branding strategy to sell franchises effectively in each geographic area. The mapping software used by the franchise territory mapping company will help provide critical data and information on target customers, consumer preferences, product offerings, and target markets. This research and data provided by the mapping software will better understand what types of franchises will be profitable in each geographic area and provide a better understanding of how to advertise those franchises. The mapping software should also help the franchise consultant to make suggestions about expansion opportunities and strategies that will increase the profitability of franchises in certain areas or at specific times of the year.
Another important step in franchise territory mapping is identifying the business intelligence goals of individual franchisees or groups of franchisees. The business intelligence objective should be one that aligns with the consultant’s strategic plans. The business intelligence goal should include such things as building long-term customer relations, increasing sales revenue, reducing financial risk, improving profitability, and building organizational capital. All of these things are important to a successful franchise business because customer relations and profitability are integral to the success of any franchise operation. Building customer relations is done through providing excellent customer service, attracting new customers through promotions, and providing quality products and services.
When franchisees are well established, they will have strong brand recall and loyalty among consumers. However, even when these are factors that contribute to building a strong franchise empire, it is possible that there can still be areas of territory that are not as heavily visited or patronized by potential customers. These areas may be slower to attract customers or they may not be as welcoming to new franchisees. In these cases, it is important for a franchise consultant to understand the importance of marketing in building franchise territories. It can be difficult to compete against existing established companies, but if proper strategies and tactics are used, it is entirely possible to successfully gain a foothold in a territory by establishing strong brand awareness, developing loyal customers, increasing sales revenue, improving financial risk, and building organizational capital.