This lesson is part of our free Franchise 101 course.
Capitalism teaches us to think in selfish terms, about our own needs and desires. But running a business is also a chance to connect with other people, to contribute to our communities. The most successful businesses tap into an unrecognized need in the communities they serve, so it’s worth considering these needs when investing in a franchise.
What’s Already Here?
Your local community is your potential market for any franchise, so it’s important to look at that community when deciding what business to set up.
Start by looking at the establishments that are currently in your area. What services are already well provided? Seeing gyms everywhere might make you think about gyms as a business model, but it also means that there are enough of those to go around, and local people don’t need more.
If you’ve already got a list of franchise types that you’re considering, then compare them with what’s available locally. Walk around town or do an internet search to see what needs are being fulfilled. Sure, there are plenty of gyms, but are there accounting and tax services in your area? Has anybody set up a donut shop or a trampoline park? Are there enough coffee shops to meet the needs of the morning rush?
What Can I Add?
Think about what you could add that would have real value for people around you.
There might be some clues toward this in online groups for local communities. What services are people struggling to find? Are there things that they keep saying they’d like to see? Perhaps there are lots of artistic types but no opportunities for them to meet up, and a paint and sip group could fill that gap.
There might also be unmet needs that people haven’t noticed, but that you can spot by comparison with other places. Perhaps the next town over has a popular sushi bar, but your town is all Mexican and French restaurants – this could be your chance to widen people’s horizons. Consider which specific niches are filled, which are empty, and whether they would be valuable to the people around you.
This is your chance to start your business on a sound footing while contributing to the area you live in. Take your time, consider your surroundings, and pick a franchise that suits your community as well as you: it’s the surest way to find your local customers.