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What You Need to Know Before Getting OFWs to Invest in a Franchise

OFWs are fueling the boom of franchising.
ILLUSTRATOR Roland Mae Tanglao
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As part of my work with the Philippine Franchise Association as well as with both Francorp and U-Franchise, I’ve been fortunate enough to go on overseas franchise missions to promote Philippine brands internationally and speak to and learn from the many Filipinos who live and work abroad. In the past 12 months alone, I’ve had the pleasure of speaking to overseas Filipino workers in Shanghai, London, Los Angeles, Houston, Las Vegas, Ho Chi Minh, and many more. In those different interactions, one thing stands out—it’s the shifting attitude from just continuously sending cash home to putting money in investments that bring them mid- to long-term income.

With the increasing interest in finding a franchise business, OFWs are fueling the boom of franchising and bringing more brands into the provinces where they or their families live. These franchisees bring not only their hard-earned money, but also their exposure overseas.

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But as franchisors, it is important to find the right partners who can understand the difference of passive investments they are used to, like real estate, with an active investment that is franchising. Here are a few things to consider as you bring in OFWs into your franchise network.

1. Who will be managing the business? 

Understand and speak to the one who will run the business day to day, not just the one who will invest the funds. It will be ideal if the OFW manages the business, but if they plan to have their wife or children manage, make sure they are part of the process of choosing the franchise. They should be part of searching for a business, applying for the franchise, and looking for the location. They need to feel ownership. This is not a condominium that can just be passed on, there must be real interest from the people managing it.

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2. Can they leverage technology to help manage remotely? 

If your franchisee plans to manage the business while they are based abroad, understand how they will keep an eye on the business. With technological advancements, it is now much simpler to monitor important aspects of the business even if one is abroad. Require an investment in cloud-based point-of-sale (POS) and accounting systems so that they can keep track of sales and expenses while they’re away. CCTVs can be accessed online so they know what’s happening in store. If needed, they can also interview key personnel via Skype before hiring and do regular meetings with their key managers.

3. Do they have a buffer fund? 

Ensure that they have enough funds to manage the ups and downs of the business. If they are investing all their life savings in one business, this may be a red flag for you. Understand their sources of income and if they will have alternate sources of income while the business is running.

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With more than 10 million OFWs, this segment will no doubt continue to contribute to the growth of any franchise network and will be a key demographic that will support the expansion of franchise brands into secondary and tertiary cities. But as responsible franchisors, it becomes extra critical to guide and select these franchisees carefully so that we continue creating win-win scenarios that help grow the industry.

U-Franchise Sales & Management has helped thousands of Filipinos find the right franchise for them. To find your franchise match, visit www.ufranchiseasia.com to find the right franchise,  or email [email protected].

Chris Lim is the Chief Marketing Officer of Francorp Philippines (francorp.com.ph); President of U-Franchise Sales & Management (www.ufranchiseasia.com); Chairperson and Director for Special Projects, ASEAN Integration-Philippine Franchise Association

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Sam Christopher Lim
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