The U.S. economy continues to attract investors and entrepreneurs from around the world. Many come to launch startups or open patisseries, but regardless of the industry they choose new immigration policy has created a tremendous opportunity for franchises to attract immigrant owners.
Recent policy changes have narrowed traditional paths for visas into the United States. While the government has made H1B and L1 visas more difficult to get, there is still an opportunity to come to the U.S. as a business owner through E2 and EB5 visas. Targeting audiences looking to take advantage of this will allow you to grow your franchise and attract owners from new, international markets.
Before you approach prospects from new markets, though, I want to offer five quick pieces of advice:
- Make your plan easy to adopt and ready for international investors – You’ll want to have a template that can be easily customized and taken by potential franchise owners. This is a roadmap to success for potential franchisees, and you’ll want to translate all the resources that ensure your current franchise owner can take your offering and get up-and-running as quickly as possible.
- Rely on immigration attorneys – Often, these are the first stop for immigrants looking to come into the U.S. Building foundational relationships with immigration attorneys will allow them to be a resource for you and clarify what they’re looking for when an immigrant needs a franchise.
- Evaluate your marketing strategy – All too often, business owners will assume that their marketing plans to potential franchise owners in the U.S. will work in other countries. While the franchisees will need the resources you use to make sure their franchises are successful in the U.S., the way you market in China is dramatically different than the way you market to Brazil. And, the channels you use to reach those audiences will likely differ. Understanding those nuances is fundamental to success.
- Choose the market appropriately – Once you understand the differences in the market, choose where to spend your resources wisely. Internal data from our company Joorney shows that the French open more bakeries than other groups; and Indians tend to launch tech startups or gas stations. But you likely can only make one successful at a time, so choose wisely.
- Work with consultants who are familiar in the space – There’s a lot to consider when bringing an immigrant over to launch a franchise. It’s something that Joorney has worked on a lot, and often the first step is to line up the appropriate partners to ensure success. From the people who will consult on business plans and financing to the lawyers who will help you dot your Is and cross your Ts, you will need to have a network in place with the experience of supporting international franchise owners in the U.S.
Overall, there is a huge opportunity for franchises to reach new, foreign markets, but in order to grow, you should make sure your plan works for the new clients, reach out to immigration attorneys for referrals, ensure your marketing strategy is right, pick the right market for your company and partner with consultants who know the space.
Benjamin Jarmon is the founder and CEO of Joorney, a leading business plan consultancy and Inc. 5000 fastest growing company. He worked in the fast-paced world of commodities trading before giving up his visa and financial security to follow a dream. He knew he could use his experience in international trade and finance to help small- and medium-sized businesses — all while undergoing his own investor visa process — and discovered all entrepreneurs and companies need consulting help at various points of the immigration and startup process. Joorney has helped thousands of businesses launch and plan their growth path and worked with a number of franchise brands, including Choice Hotels, Burger King, Dunkin Donuts, 7-Eleven and many more.