Franchising is one of the most powerful ways to grow a business. You’re taking your systems; your secret herbs and spices, and plugging them into different places in the country.

Fifty stores all sharing the same message and singing the same song is much more powerful than one little guy in a corner on his own. So if it’s done right you should be prepared for rapid growth and expansion.

While the franchise model sounds great in theory many people ignore the operational reality of rolling out a franchise. Remember you’ll be dealing with a range of individuals who have different personalities, risk profiles and tolerances. Here are five things any business owner who is looking to establish franchises needs to remember.

1: Start with multiple locations
The best indicator of whether or not a franchising will work for you is by establishing a number of stores on your own first. Once you have stores in multiple locations you will have naturally developed a stronger brand, systems and processes. If your stores can operate without you, there is no reason that this model can’t be multiplied.  By going through the process of starting multiple stores initially you will also be able to iron out any creases in your current systems.

2: Establish systems and processes
Investing in strong systems and processes is essential. Generally you’re taking someone who has been an employee and turning them into a business owner of their own. From the beginning you need to be able to walk them through every process: how they do their accounting, how to order, how to hire and the day-to-day systems that ensure the business runs smoothly. Strong systems and processes will not only ensure that the franchise works from an operational perspective, but will also allow you to establish strong brand consistency across your network.

3: Develop a strong operational team
Before you decide to franchise your business you need to ask yourself whether or not you have the working capital to hire an operations team. An operations team will be the glue that hold your franchise network together. A strong team includes a franchise operation manager, a franchise development manager and a third support person who can be out there on the ground fighting any fires that arise

4: Find a good lawyer
Franchise law can be pretty brutal. It’s ultimately designed to protect the franchisee rather than the franchisor. Find a good lawyer from the beginning who will protect your interests. When starting a franchise company make sure that you establish it legally as a separate entity to your core business. This means if anything ever goes wrong in the individual stores, you will still have control over the core business. A lawyer will be able to help you establish a strong model for this.

5: Remember branding is key
Branding and marketing should be controlled by a central marketing team. This includes social media and any larger campaigns. The operational team can then role the brand’s overall message out to individual franchises. Education and strong communication on the ground will ensure that the brand message is embodied by every franchise.