International mapping for your franchise expansion
Many franchisors are expanding internationally with their well-established US-based systems and need good information to base their decisions on in other countries. They have invested in having rules for their site selection and having their territories done properly for their US network but may have been “led” into a different approach overseas.
This should not and does not need to happen!
Luke Armstrong, Global Sales Director, F45 Training says:
“We have been using a combination of a GIS system and a web-based mapping front end for our global expansion for years and find this to be a cost-effective system we can use as we now operate in over 60 different countries worldwide with 1,900+ franchises. We can grant a territory we know meets our criteria and can keep an up-to-date record and mapping as the new sites are opened. Highly recommended if you want to keep control of your world-wide expansion.”
All countries, which I shall broadly describe as “first world” and “second world” countries, inevitably have mapping and demographic information that can be used in understanding the markets you are leaping into. Countries such as the USA, Canada and the main countries in the EU have mapping and information on par, if not better, than what we have in Australia (the headquarters of Spectrum Analysis). Also, basically all Commonwealth countries have good data and mapping (including India), as the British always placed a high level of importance on Census data, and this has continued across these countries.
There are companies who can set up the mapping so you can have a clear picture of what is going on worldwide. This allows you to then establish rules for things like distances between sites, where the major competitors are, formation of territories (different sizes in different markets) and gaining a very good understanding of how many people live or work in any specific area.
We recommend using a GIS (Geographic Information System) such as MapInfo to organise the relevant data for the country in question and combining the rules that have been established with the mapping and the data to map the sites or the territories required.
Competitors can also be mapped. In a recent job for a client, we mapped 7,400 competitors across the USA. They wanted to see where their two main competitor’s sites were compared to their own and use that information in the process of territory formation.
Once the mapping has been set up, you can then use a simple, commercial web-based system to upload the maps and files. This allows you to then view the data/territories or sites anywhere across the world via the web. The ongoing licence for an intermediate version of this type of worldwide interface is around $100 - $300pm to make your data visible in ways that best suit your business operations, including giving various levels of access to different people and potential franchisees.
Other companies may have different solutions; however this has worked in cutting thousands of territories across the USA.
Jade Winter, CEO of Studio Pilates says, “Having our studios and territories available worldwide has given us huge impetus in offering our services into the US, England and China. I now feel confident I can give a territory based on realistic size and population in all the countries I want to take our franchise to.”
If you are undertaking international expansion, being able to map your sites and competitors and build territories so you can say they offer similar potential can now be done internationally.
Everyone will tell you it is “different” in their country, but having a standard approach to information, site selection and territory planning should give your franchise system an advantage over the less informed competition.
If you are heading international, do not be misled to think you cannot find or afford to have a reliable system to show mapping, information and territories, so you have control over the international expansion of your brand.
Peter Buckingham is the Managing Director of Spectrum Analysis, a demographic, mapping, franchise network planning and statistical analysis consultancy based in Australia. Peter is the go-to person as to how and where to establish territories worldwide. To contact Peter email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.spectrumanalysis.com.au