General Introduction to Mrs. Guillemette Schortgen

Franchise business expert, Guillemette Schortgen, recently provided EU Business School students with a fascinating insight into the overall effectiveness of the franchise system in relation to business success. Her thought-provoking Crafting Your Future webinar, entitled ‘Business Expansion and Development Through the Franchise System’ took place on Friday, March 26, at 5.30 p.m. CET.

Before we jump into analysing the informative conference, first let’s take a brief look at Mrs. Schortgen’s impressive career thus far. Highly experienced in retail expansion and franchise development, Guillemette has held the position as country manager Espana at globally established French furniture manufacturer Mobalpa for the past two and a half years. Prior to this position, the French native had spent four years as international franchise developer at Catalan fast-food company NOSTRUM, Home Meal Replacement.

Mrs. Schortgen has dedicated her career thus far to franchising, having began working in the area at the tender age of 18, when she decided to move from Paris to Madrid to land her first job at a French retail franchiser. Since then, Guillemette has set up her own business, worked in leading retail and franchise companies. Her areas of expertise are business development, franchising, retail and strategy, specifically developing French franchisers in Spain, Portugal and Italy but to name a few.

Giving the EU students a general insight into her current role as country manager Espana at Mobalpa, Mrs. Schortgen revealed that she was enjoying her seemingly multifaceted role to say the least. “I love my job because there are several areas that I manage in the franchise system,” she enthused. “I manage the legal side of things, finance, marketing and general business side of things. So, it’s a very complete job,” said the experienced Schortgen, before encouraging the listening students to choose a career in franchising.

Taking centre stage within this blog post from here on out will be a handful of fascinating insights that Mrs. Schortgen provided to EU Business School students within her 50-minute webinar. From an outline of franchise basics and the advantages of franchise development to the importance of adaptability, Guillemette certainly provided EU students with a whole host of useful information. Read on to discover what the business expert had to say.

An Outline of Franchising Basics

As stated by Mrs. Schortgen, franchising is a system, and in order to successfully and effectively engage in this franchising system, you need: a brand name, know-how, a long-lasting concept, and perhaps most importantly according to Guillemette, you simply must have a profitable business. These, she stressed, are the four main basics to undertake to develop a franchise business.

The European Business School Paris graduate then proceeded by explaining the differences between the various terms that she admitted were often misused by many: franchisor, franchisee, master franchisee and multi-unit franchise. Firstly, an informative Guillemette pointed out that the franchisor is the actual company, for example, McDonalds. The franchisee becomes the owner and independent operator of third-party retail outlets, which are known as franchises.

A master franchisee, then, is a person or entity that is given control or the right to control the franchising activities in a specific area or region by the master franchisor, who is the owner of the brand name. Finally, a multi-unit franchise is one where a franchisee owns and operates more than one unit. In other words, a franchise that decides to open several franchises.

Franchise Development

Why is developing a franchise advantageous for a business, according to Schortgen? Well, put simply, it is a “quicker way to grow.” “If you set up your own business,” Schortgen informed us, “the franchising system is the way to grow as quickly as possible” as it is not necessary to engage in as much investment as you would starting off without a franchise brand.

Without financial investment and support from the franchisor though, according to Guillemette, franchise development becomes all the more difficult. “You cannot develop a franchise business without structure in the headquarters to develop your network of franchisees,” revealed the franchising specialist.

An essential part of effective franchise development is, as Mrs. Schortgen sees it, the legal agreement between the franchisor and franchisee. The latest Crafting Your Future speaker defined it as “one of the most important contracts in business.” Just why is it so important then? While the franchisee will have more of a responsibility in the aftermath of signing this vital contract, it will also at the same time have much control and less risk when operating. Before proceeding, Mrs. Schortgen stressed the importance of the franchisee consulting first with the franchisor in relation to all decision-making. All decisions must be authorized by the franchisor.

Adaptability

A concrete example of adaptability that she alluded to as she progressed through her insightful presentation was her very own company, Mobalpa. Schortgen reminisced that, upon arriving to Spain, she and her team had to rethink and adapt the company’s baseline, whilst maintaining the same idea and same concept.

She stressed that it would have been quite naive to use the company’s official baseline (which was designed specifically for the French-speaking target market) due to the fact that the business, was, at the time, relatively unknown. It is hugely important, then, to adapt the tagline or baseline of the company to effectively target the specific target market.

“In international development, I think the franchising system is a good system because if you invest with a good partner, you then have some local entrepreneur who can help the franchisor develop and adapt the concept, product and service to the specific country’s target market,” she said.

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