The Interface Financial Group – IFG 50-50 franchise has often been marketed and promoted by us as the franchise with a difference. We have highlighted the difference as being a home-based financial service franchise, a franchise that requires no staff, a franchise that requires no office – even a virtual office will work – and also a franchise where you do not have to buy any inventory.
While these claims helped us to stand out from the crowd, times have changed, and many other franchises can now claim similar attributes. However, we still believe that the IFG 50-50 invoice discounting franchise is still very different and it still stands head and shoulders above the crowd. All that has changed is that we now have different qualities on which we focus.
Paperless – With the introduction of substantial technology into our system we have virtually eliminated the need for paper at the franchisee level. When we re-engineered the franchise to eliminate the paper for franchisees it was interesting to note that not one single franchisee complained!
The franchise is very much focused on a combination of technology and people – the people being franchisees. They in turn work in a ‘people environment’ with prospective clients – clients and contacts that refer business to them. This people environment enables them to remove themselves from the need to be constantly filling in forms, reports, contracts and the like.
No territory – From the inception of the franchise we have always promoted a non-territorial approach. This means that franchisees are free to work in any location in their country and to follow leads and contacts as appropriate. The obvious question that comes to mind with this approach is: Are franchisees now tripping over each other looking at the same prospects? Because of the way that we have structured our marketing approach, that problem does not exist and although there is no exclusive territory in terms of a geographic region, there certainly is exclusivity for franchisees with their personalized contact base.
Having a non-territorial approach is good for both franchisee and franchisor – it gives the franchisor a greater presence in any given location, and it gives franchisees the opportunity to interact with other franchisees in their area.
Investment level – The majority of franchises have a very specific investment level for an incoming franchisee. That investment level is usually a combination of capital required for premises, staff, inventory and equipment etc. While many of these items may be procured on a lease basis thus reducing the actual capital requirement, the franchisee is nonetheless required to enter into an undertaking and obligation for that capital.
The IFG 50-50 approach does not have any specific capital guideline or requirement for new franchisees. They are in fact encouraged to start their business in a modest way with a capital base that is comfortable for them, and then to increase that base as their experience and portfolio expand. This flexible approach enables franchisees to grow at their own velocity until they reach their own comfortable capital plateau.
Work smart – We have long heralded the idea that it is far better to work smart than work hard and we feel that that is manifested in the IFG 50-50 franchise. As we have mentioned, introducing technology has enabled us to take a paperless route for franchisees, which in turn enables them to work in a much smarter format.
The work smart element is also inherent in our marketing approach. We are firm believers in a relationship marketing formula, which means that our franchisees are not engaged in any form of cold calling, telemarketing, direct mail or advertising. Building a network of contacts that can refer business to a franchisee has proven for us to be the most professional and cost-effective approach, and certainly one that is embraced by our franchisees.
47 years of history – We feel that our longevity does in fact make us different as there are very few franchise organizations that have over four and a half decades of history. Over the entire lifespan of the company we have always operated under The Interface Financial Group banner, and of course more recently have added the IFG 50-50 element to our franchise. Having a well-developed history means that we bring to the table a well-developed, proven franchise concept.
Our final point of difference might well be that all transactions handled by our franchisees are always handled in conjunction with us, the franchisor. It is very rare to find a franchisor actually working day-to-day with their franchisees on each and every transaction. That collaboration includes providing all of the necessary paper backup for the transaction, together with a funding component and a leverage capital element that enables franchisees to effectively work with ‘other people’s money’ in the IFG 50-50 franchise.
Even though this is clearly a franchise with a difference, it is not for everybody. Individuals who enjoy the franchise tend to be people that have a strong ‘people-to-people’ background coupled with a strong business acumen. We continue to grow our franchise base, which we believe is different, and we grow it with franchisees that we also see as different!