Five Minutes With… Imad Charafeddine, President, Francorp

The Middle East’s franchising industry is booming, says Charafeddine.

How big is the franchising industry in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA)?

The franchising industry in the Middle East and North Africa is worth over $30 billion today and growing at an annual rate of a whopping 27 per cent. The Middle East markets are lucrative in terms of volume with a presence of more than 400,000 high net-worth individuals, each with liquid assets of more than $5 million to invest in new businesses. This means that more than 13 per cent of the population is very rich and together, they have available funds of more than $2 trillion.

How does your business operate?

We are a franchise consultancy, who help expanding businesses achieve their targeted goals, objectives and plans of expansion, while advising them on the best course of action to ensure the stability of their brand.

Our consultancy operates over a six to 12 month period, working along side the business owners and management team to create an individual offering within the franchising marketplace.

Who are the main clients you work with?

We have many clients based across the whole MENA region, and we work with each of them on a daily basis, of course some businesses have seen more success in their franchising model than others have. This is normally due to the aggressive marketing strategies put in place by the management as well as the uniqueness of the brand offering.

Are you looking at launching any new services in 2014?

Francorp has been building the highest international standard for franchise programme development. However we are launching new services, while maintaining our core business values, as we do not want to lose focus of what we are good at.

We have already started with new services to help our clients expand their business through our new Middle East franchise portal www.francorpopportunity.com.

Is Francorp ME planning to expand into new territory this year?

As far as our expansion plan for 2014, we believe in controlled growth, therefore, the markets that will be targeted are Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and once stabled, Egypt.

Will you be hiring in the next six months?

We are always looking for talented individuals and we will be expanding the team as we add new markets. Since franchising is growing at a rate of 27 per cent yearly, the demand for franchising today is bigger than ever in the Middle East.

We have already started with a new programme of internship and hopefully will grow it in the years to prosper into full time positions.

What are the main challenges faced by the franchising industry in the region?

The worst thing about the market is fly by night consultants who ruin the industry by not doing the correct job, not understanding the client’s needs or potential problems, and giving the wrong advice. The main challenge of Francorp was and always will be to educate clients on how to efficiently and effectively franchise their businesses.

How can they be addressed?

We advise all clients when looking to franchise to research the market, attend our seminars, and not to compromise quality in the hope of what seems like immediate saving that will eventually cost the business more.

What are the growth areas currently for your industry?

Our main growth area has always been F&B which is 65 per cent of the market, followed by retail and services.

What’s your leadership style?

I am very relaxed and friendly in my approach and like to always assist people in making the right decision. Sometimes I am overtly passionate about what I do, which pushes me to look into every single detail of every concept I work on. Simply I love what I do…

Three tips for becoming the boss…

Dedication
Commitment
Involvement
“in anything you do”

What makes the perfect employee?

A hard worker who is able to get on with his duties and responsibilities without much direction, while maintaining company procedures and ethics at all times.

Define success in five words…

-Integrity
-Friendliness
-Trust
-Commitment
-Dedication

When I’m not at work I like to…

Spend quality time with my family, ride my motorbike