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Small Franchisors Can Go International Too


The size of a franchise system shouldn’t be the only qualifier for international expansion.  A small franchisor could be just as qualified for exporting their concept as larger franchisors.

Just because a franchisor is small shouldn’t disqualify them from going international. There are some large franchisors by virtue of their franchise model and/or product that are less qualified for international expansion than a smaller franchisor. In some cases, a small franchisor may find the market in the U.S. so competitive it might be in their interest to look towards foreign markets.

In a previous article entitled Going International? Don’t Forget One Important Thing I listed the key steps that franchisors considering international franchising need to take. However, there is a difference between a franchisor being qualified to go international versus the steps to follow.

There are qualifying factors that are part of the evaluation process for franchisors considering international expansion. A small franchisor could meet these qualifications. For franchisors seeking to export their franchise the first step in the process is to match markets with the products or services that the franchise provides. Too often a franchisor targets specific countries before confirming that there is a fit between their franchise and the market demand in a specific country. A small franchisor may offer a product or service that fits nicely with the demographics of a specific country. If a match is there then the next step is to confirm that the franchisor has the resources and tools necessary for international franchising.

Qualifying Factors for International Expansion:

  • Financial resources available for an international project.
  • There may be better opportunities in other countries than in the U.S. market.
  • Franchisor staff is available and capable of training, servicing and supporting a licensee in another country.
  • Franchisor leadership is committed to an international operation.
  • The franchisor could provide the operational and marketing knowhow and refrain from licensing the use of their brand name.

A successful and well grounded franchise program with good franchise relations. Operations and marketing manuals are current and up to date and marketing materials that can be adapted and translated for use in other countries. A franchisor representative has familiarity with the target countries or region. Although, not a requirement this could be one of the most important qualifiers.

As more and more franchisors consider taking their franchise concept to other countries an important factor to consider is whether a franchisor is qualified to expand to other countries. One factor that should not disqualify a franchisor is its’ size. This doesn’t mean that any franchisor regardless of system size is qualified to go overseas, but rather smaller franchisors shouldn’t consider whether or not to go international simply because of their size.

© 2013 FranchiseKnowHow, LLC

Ed Teixeira is the President of FranchiseKnowHow, LLC. He can be reached at franchiseknowhow@gmail.com

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