People run businesses, not machines. Having the right people to do the required jobs is critical in any business and in any type of franchise activity, whether domestic or foreign. However, the skill sets for international franchising, in many ways, are different than the skill sets for purely domestic franchising. One reason for this is that the international franchisor is dealing with cultural and possibly linguistic differences that are sometimes deep and complex. If your people do not understand the nuances of the foreign market, the chances for disappointment are that much greater.

Strong senior management buy-in to expanding internationally has never been more important. The commitment to the strategy must be at the CEO, ‘C’ level, and ownership level. International expansion is both a financial and a people commitment.

Another danger exists in underestimating the amount of time that is required to sell and service foreign franchises. Usually, the cost of franchise sales and the time it takes to complete them is two to four times greater than similar domestic sales. Franchise support and service can similarly cost much more in foreign markets initially, until the system matures in that market.