If you’re one of the more than half a million people who have started a business in the past month, you’re likely looking for a way to take it to the next level.
Maybe you started with a simple online store or opened a café with a friend. You’re making decent sales and seeing good footfall. But you want to take things further. One business you could learn from, whatever your industry and even if you’ve been an entrepreneur for many years, is Subway.
The sandwich giant is now the world’s fastest-growing restaurant chain, and with an extensive franchise network, it looks set to continue to spread. But what is the secret behind its success? What led an obscure eatery in Connecticut, USA, to worldwide expansion almost unmatched by any other brand?
At What Franchise, you can compare hundreds of different franchise opportunities to find out which one is for you. Businesses that use the franchise model often succeed in ways they never thought possible. Keep reading to find out six lessons from Subway’s success that your business could take on board.
1. Think About Franchising – It Could Help Your Business Expand
Subway started with one shop in 1965, and just nine years later, it had already grown to 17 outlets. As of 2019, there are more than 42,000 worldwide.
By using the franchise model, Subway has been able to pursue this ambitious global expansion. Franchising enables a tried-and-tested business to be replicated by another entrepreneur in a different area.
If you become a franchiser, your franchise partners — or franchisees — will have access to your products, branding, and any relevant training for a fee. This is a cost-effective way to expand your business and increase your potential customer base while benefiting from other people shouldering the burden of day-to-day operations.
2. Subway Is Great At Choosing Locations – Learn From That
If you run a brick-and-mortar business, such as a coffee shop or bar, choosing the right location is crucial to your success. If you choose an area with heavy footfall, you could benefit from professionals heading out for lunch.
If you place your business near a park, you can take advantage of pleasant weather and people taking lunch in the sun. Think about the sort of customers you want to attract and where they are likely to be. If you can take your business to where they are, you’ll be one step closer to winning their custom.
3. Figure Out Your Brand And Run With It – It’s Your Identity
Do you know who you are and what your business stands for? Many brands have their origins at the core of their overall strategy, and this informs every decision they make and their overall direction.
Subway is all about choice — even now, with 37 million possible sandwich combinations, the sandwich shop has stayed true to this. Maybe you run an online store that focuses on organic products — make your offering central to your identity and pride yourself on it.
4. Don’t Be Afraid To Try Out New Products And Services
Cornering the market with your products or service is no excuse to rest on your laurels. If you have a core product or service that you’ve mastered, why not expand your range? Not only will you pick up more customers, but your existing ones may also appreciate the increase in choice.
Subway may be known for sandwiches, but it also sells cookies, coffee, salads, and soft drinks. There’s nothing wrong with offering tea alongside coffee, for example — anything that could lead to more potential patrons is a key way to level up your business.
5. Customers Want Convenience – Make It Key To Your Strategy
Modern life is extremely busy. When you’ve spent the whole week rushing around, the last thing you want to face is a long wait before you get served. Whether someone pops into your business on a lunch break with just a few minutes to spare or simply wants a service provided quickly and efficiently, there’s one word that is key — convenience.
As a society, we want instant gratification — we want what we want and at a time that suits us. For your business to stay on top and keep growing, it needs to be able to offer this. If you run a restaurant, why not introduce online ordering?
People looking for lunch can order online, and even pay, before dropping in to collect their food. Take a look at your business and think of ways that you can improve customer convenience.
6. Don’t Be Afraid To Take A Step Back – Let Others Take The Lead
For any business to succeed, it needs to have a good team behind it. The people who work at your enterprise should be a helpful, cohesive unit that makes your job as CEO easier, not harder.
If you have an excellent staff full of capable supervisors and managers, you should feel confident to occasionally let go of the reins. You can’t be expected to be everywhere all the time, and trying to shoulder the business independently will only lead to burnout and decreased morale.
Subway’s training course for store managers is designed to develop the future leaders of its stores. If you’ve nailed your hiring process, you should already have an incredible team around you — now all you need to do is give them the autonomy to help power your business forward.
Author Bio: James Fell is Online Business Editor at Aceville Publications, overseeing digital projects for What Franchise and Global Franchise. He’s passionate about writing about business and the future of franchising.
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