Export Barbados (BIDC) is encouraging local entrepreneurs to consider franchising to grow their businesses, make them exportable, and earn foreign exchange for the country.
On Wednesday, November 2, the Corporation hosted a one-day workshop, entitled Franchising Your Business 101. It was facilitated by Christopher Conner, Franchise Consultant and President of the United States-based Franchise Marketing Systems.
Chief Executive Officer of Export Barbados (BIDC), Mark Hill, spoke during the opening ceremony at Bagnall’s Point Gallery. He said with a market of a mere 300,000 people, for businesses and the economy to grow, there is a need to embrace other avenues—besides tourism—to earn foreign exchange. CEO Hill also said the direct export model, which the country has used for 20 years, yields only $350 million in revenue and is stagnant. He insisted businesses must pivot and pursue other export models such as franchising, licensing, and joint ventures.
CEO Hill added the Corporation also had to pivot. He explained the decision to focus on the Bio-economy, Design Economy, and Ocean Economy, has led to a 15 percent growth in revenue.
The CEO stated, “So this means that Barbados was simply being a sleeping export giant. As small as it is, there is the reality of the Barbados brand; it is very, very, very powerful. The world has this very exotic type relationship with Barbados, and we have not been leveraging it. So, this franchising opportunity and this franchising session give us insights into how we can begin to build really successfully around the brand equity that our nation has.”
During the workshop, Franchise Consultant Christopher Conner explained franchising is a model that can be used by businesses worldwide. He stated the workshop would assist businesses that exhibited the characteristics of a franchise system, to explore the possibilities of developing franchises in markets outside of Barbados.
Conner continued, “Franchising is a massive category globally. In the United States, it makes up as much as 50 percent of certain industry segments, but overall, it is absolutely one of the most consistent, proven, and viable ways for a business owner to scale. I think, unless you’re in the franchise industry, it is difficult to comprehend how big it is. But every month we interview tens of thousands of people looking for support, direction, and brands to invest in. If we can find some good brands here, which I know there are in Barbados, they can use this vehicle to help grow and scale.”
The Franchise Consultant noted businesses might be apprehensive about franchising and think they are too small to become a franchise brand, but they need not be.
“Every franchise model, the McDonald's, the KFCs, the big international franchise systems started off in the exact same position. They had a good business model; they had a great brand; they had a vision for growing it and opening up in new markets; and they took the first step. Hopefully, with some discussions, interviews, and time, we can help entrepreneurs see that opportunity and be willing to consider taking the franchise step,” Conner stated.
Some topics covered in the workshop were: how franchising works, the benefits of franchising, the business model, whether a business could be franchised, and the legal structure. More than 40 participants attended the session.