Being a member of Czech Association of Franchising, Foreigners.cz is happy to open new franchise offices in any capital or a city with large numbers of expats. In Europe or further. We talked more about the franchising concept with a co-founder and CEO of Foreigners.cz, Andrea Tkačuková.
Andrea, why does Foreigners.cz take the path of franchising?
I believe in small businesses where you, as a business owner, have much bigger responsibility than an employee. It also means less control and less administration than if we have opened our offices by ourselves and run it as a corporation with many branches. I think, no actually I am sure that people who own our franchises take it as their mission in life to help expats and they are willing to take the risk and make it work at their cities with our help. At the same time, I believe in the power of a network.
What procedure does a franchisee undergo?
I want to know something about the people (franchisees), so they should send me their CV or LinkedIn profile or something about them, simply. Then, what is important for me – it is the reason why they want our franchise, how they identify with our company’s vision and they must speak English. Then I send them a business plan including basic info. If they have more questions we can meet or skype and I will tell them more. If we meet and we like what we have learned about each other so far, we sign the confidentiality agreement and we show to the franchisees the whole system of work, turnovers over the last years etc. And finally, we sign the franchise agreement and start working together!
What does the company provide to a franchisee and what is supposed to be done independently?
We provide all the system support of the CRM system, all graphics, and website. We also train people and consult them on how to train people. There is always someone in the network who can answer some specific questions and help the franchisee. Once a franchise contract is signed, the franchisee gets the franchising manual with written: “recommended work instructions”.
For some locations, we can provide clients already when starting. For example, now, we are looking for a franchise in Bratislava/Slovakia and we already have a few clients (from our partners) who need help. There is much more but it is not possible to write everything down 🙂
The people – franchisees should work independently in general. It is their business. They should make new contacts, new clients, our support is there to save their time and money spent by looking for the right concepts which we still make better and better.
What’s the biggest advantage of opening a Foreigners.cz’s franchise instead of a new company?
As mentioned above – the person doesn’t have to spend a lot of time and money on creating many “things” which makes the whole process of serving a client quicker from the very first weeks. And then, I see a big strength in joining the network. So many people do their jobs because they like it not because they have to, sharing the same vision about the world and also helping each other between offices. Of course also sending clients and partners.
What qualities and experience a franchisee should have?
He/She should speak English and like foreigners. That’s the basic thing. Then the person has to be open-minded, always ready to learn new things, should have a business experience. We don’t care how old the person is if they like our vision and fit in our company culture. If they take responsibility to have their lives in own hands and want to earn money by doing something what makes sense. And they must love it. Our job is very hard sometimes but always very fulfiling!
Is the franchise run by a single person or is there going to be a team?
It depends on each franchisee how he or she wants it and our discussion about it. Some of them start alone, some in a couple but if they want to grow it usually requires to have a team.
How does the cooperation and communication of Foreigners.cz and its franchise work?
At the start, the person or people get a training and they can visit all offices to see how we work. They ask millions of questions and we answer them all! 🙂 Me, as the CEO I usually have the general knowledge of each of our services so they ask me and if don’t I know the answer, I usually know who to ask about it. The offices also help each other because very often they are facing similar problems – how to send newsletters, how to manage all of that if you are just 1 person in a team and in Brno/Prague we are 10?!, how to do the recruitment, how to start/finish cooperations etc. Sharing the knowledge is very important for us.
Where are you searching for a franchise, currently?
We need someone in Bratislava/Slovakia at the moment. I don’t go in any big search for other countries. I know that the concept is usable in all countries with expats and I am trying to spread the word about us to see if maybe some of our clients in Czechia wants to move back to their country and have the franchise there because they had this experience with us. So I am open for discussions!
Where those interested can find more information and who to contact?
Is there any dream country where you would like to have a franchise in future?
I don’t have any specific dream country which must happen in future. For me, the dream country for a living is the Czech Republic (Brno) but when I visited Indonesia, I saw that the concept would be very useful for the expats in Bali. So maybe one day, I will go to check our office there and for vacation at the same time! I like to connect more things together, especially when it comes to work and with vacation 🙂