Checking out Twitter the other day, I read that Taco Bell just launched its first franchise in India and that Gap has opened franchises in Australia – the 24th country where it is now franchising.
These were just a couple of news items in a stream of news, but they point up a bigger trend: Big brands, those that franchise in America as well as those that don’t, are seeing a world of opportunity in, well, the world.
I noticed this trend when my company, GrowBiz Media, was working with AllBusiness to put together this year’s AllBusiness AllStar Franchise rankings. As we expected given the state of the economy and the difficulty of getting startup financing, growth was down for most chains domestically. Where we saw lots of growth was in international expansion.
Expanding internationally is a smart move for franchisors for many reasons. First, the power of a U.S. brand name is often even stronger overseas than it is at home. Second, many overseas markets have newly developing middle classes with money they’re eager to spend. And third, that emerging middle class has money to spend not only on products and services, but on starting their own businesses.
If you’re outside the U.S. and seeking a way to be in business for yourself, but not by yourself, buying a U.S. franchise business can be a great option. Of course, there’s need for a little more caution on both parties’ sides when the franchisor/franchisee relationship crosses global borders. But if you do your due diligence and thoroughly check out the franchise system you’re considering buying into, you can find a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor as a worldwide brand expands.
Taco Bell parent company Yum Brands has already taken its Pizza Hut and KFC franchises global, and plans to do the same with Taco Bell, which it’s already expanded to Canada, Dubai, Spain and more. Seeing India as a key market, Yum expects to have 1,000 restaurants there by 2015. Maybe yours could be one of them.
Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a content and consulting company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Follow Rieva on Twitter at Twitter.com/Rieva. Visit SmallBizDaily.com to read more of Rieva’s insights on small business and to buy her newest book, Marketing 101: Quick Tips for Marketing Your Business.