I have run a boudoir photography business and recently relocated it to a different state. The process of rebuilding the same brand in a new location has given me the idea of establishing a boudoir photographer franchise network. What kinds of potential issues should I be aware of? Are there typical pitfalls that cause franchises to fail?

Dario Impini, INFINI Boudoir,



To decide if you should sell franchises, ask yourself four questions.

First: Do you have a valuable system to sell? Franchisees want guidelines for opening and running this business that will help them succeed. You have to convince them that buying your franchise is better than opening their own photography business.

Second: Can you easily teach someone to run this business? Franchisees typically have little or no experience in running the business, which is why they buy your franchise system. You have to be able to teach them this business quickly; most franchisee training is three to five days at your facility plus a few days at their site helping them get up and running. You teach franchisees the photography business, but according to your website, they also have to earn the trust of the clients. You have to teach your franchisees how to earn that trust.

Third: Are there enough potential franchisees for this business? The capital required for this business is reasonable but can you find enough people who want to do this business, and do it well? Your brand (and future franchise sales) are at risk if a franchisee can’t produce a good product and fails. And if you limit your potential franchisee pool to experienced photographers, you may not find enough franchisees.

Fourth: Are you willing to focus your time on selling franchises and supporting your franchisees? Your business is only successful if your franchisees are successful. Read Scott Shane’s book, “From Ice Cream to the Internet.” And get a subscription to Franchise Times, one of the top industry trade publications.

About the author: Mark Spriggs, director, Schulze School of Entrepreneurship, University of St. Thomas