Look for Fiducial to more than double the number of its new franchisees
in 2005 compared to the previous year, according to Howard Margolis,
the company's director of field support and development.
"We're planning to award about 30 franchises this year,"
said Margolis who is based at Fiducial's Technical and Administrative
Support Center (TASC) in Columbia, MD.
He and his team are also working on finalizing the company's first
conversion opportunity where an existing accounting firm would transition
from an independent brand to the Fiducial brand name and implement
Fiducial systems in order to take their business to the next level.
"When they saw us coming into that market they decided rather
than competing with us that they would rather be part of us,"
These days Margolis says Fiducial is getting a better quality of
prospective franchise candidate as well as a more aggressive one
from a marketing standpoint.
"They're younger and have more tenacity to do what it takes
to grow a business," he said.
Though franchise hopefuls range from the mid 20s to the late 50s,
most are in their 40s and what they bring to Fiducial, Margolis
says, "is forward thinking and beliefs" especially in
the area of technology.
"They have a better grasp of what technology can do for their
business versus franchisees that came into systems when web-based
applications were not even developed," he said. "That's
very important not just for today but because that's the way we're
going. Companies are using applications to communicate with end-users
such as clients and vendors. Those who use it now will continue
to stay ahead of the competition."
Staying well ahead of the curve
On the surface, Margolis noted that Fiducial's franchise offerings
seems pretty vanilla compared to more flashy franchisors who are
trying to hit home runs.
"We're more of a singles and doubles hitter," he said.
"We're accounting and payroll and tax services. But our services
are going to be there for many years."
Where Margolis sees Fiducial well ahead of the curve is in the
area of business counseling.
"We have programs such as meaningful monthly contact where
we're working with business owners in real time versus traditional
accountants/CPAs that provide a backwards looking view of what has
been," he said. "We have 12 topics on counseling that
we provide on a one-on-one basis and in seminar environments and
our traditional mid-year and year-end reviews."
Fiducial is in the process of moving its printed collateral materials
to electronic forms so basic brochure information, applications
and disclosures will be provided to franchise candidates on CD-ROMs
rather than in paper form which will help keep printing costs down.
Overall, Fiducial's franchise system will need little in the way
of tweaking aside from updating some information here and there.
"The franchising process may have changed from the 1970s to
now but how franchisors award franchises properly and the steps
they go through there's no starting evolution to it in the last
35 years," Margolis said.
Still can't beat face-to-face
With his team continually looking for opportunities, Margolis pointed
out that while Fiducial has utilized technology to spread its message,
the system still needs face-to-face interaction between business
advisors and prospective franchisees.
"This needs the human explaining it and how it may benefit
the candidate in a live environment, not through sterile electronic
means [email] where emphasis is not conveyed well and it's hard
to get a true read of what you're being told," he said. "You
still need the human voice and all that is gathered through the
human voice to move the process forward."
For the 45th Annual International Franchise Association Franchise
Convention March 6-9 in Hollywood, FL, Margolis indicated that Fiducial
will be keying on potential changes in franchise law or compliance
along with attending brand and development seminars.
"We're concentrating on compliance because we have a large
franchise organization and it's important for the integrity of the
systems to comply with standards for development and growth of the
system and branding as we move from multi-branded systems because
of our acquisitions," he said.
In business advisors Bob Heine and Tom Schnaidt, Margolis says
Fiducial has two of the best. With 40 years of combined experience
in the franchise industry, they have spoken to thousands of potential
candidates so they are uniquely qualified to determine who's a good
fit to fly the Fiducial flag.
"We're not a traditional franchisor," he said. "Franchising
is a very small percentage of our overall revenue which allows us
to be very selective."