The 5 stages of a social franchise replication process

In social franchising we have work through 5 different stages to ensure the successful replication and greater impact goals.

The 5 stages of a social franchise replication process  are as follows:

  1. Prove the concept
  2. Design the replication strategy and model
  3. Document/systemize operations
  4. Pilot the process
  5. Replicate: go to scaleThe 5 Stages of a social franchise replication process

Stage 1: Prove that the project works, and get acceptance for the idea of replication

  • Proving the concept involves the effective implementation of a project and the evaluation of its impact.
  • Other considerations include whether the concept will work in a different location/culture and whether it can be implemented without the owner/founder’s presence.
  • During this stage we work through the following action items:
    • Validate the business model
    • Validate the social impact

Stage 2: Develop a replication strategy 

  • This involves the design of the model/solution to be replicated.
  • It’s also important to decide which core element of the existing program should be replicated to achieve the intended impact goal
  • During this stage we work through the following action items:
    • Design the roadmap or strategy to reach scale
    • Prepare business plan and or funding proposal, get help from salesforce
    • Identify internal strengths and weaknesses

Stage 3:  Systemize the operations 

  • Clear systems for implementation and monitoring of the solution must be developed and ‘packaged’ for potential franchisees.
  • During this stage we work through the following action items:
    • Document all IP required from brand systems to create a ‘business in a box’
    • Create legal document
    • Develop marketing materials

Stage 4: Pilot the process as a test run 

  • At the piloting stage, the concept is replicated to another location.
  • There is a lot to be gained from learning what the extent of support required is, which will inform the cost of supporting this and future replications.
  • The franchisor has to build these aspects into the business model and ensure it has the resources to continue to support the franchise network.
  • During this stage we work through the following action items:
    • Pilot replication in varied locations
    • Monitoring and evaluation
    • Feedback loop to improve systems

Stage 5: Go to scale 

  • Once the piloting is concluded successfully, the organization can start replicating to more locations.
  • It is best to do this on a regional, manageable basis. Also, the business needs to evolve continually.
  • Just as commercial franchises adjust their concepts and develop new offerings, so social franchises have to ensure that their offering stays relevant and that it continues to achieve social impact in the most efficient way possible.
  • During this stage we work through the following action items:
    • Roll out of franchisees
    • Ongoing support to franchisees
    • Continued learning and innovations


  • Bonnici, F., du Toit, A., & Henrikssen, T. (2015). Insights from the implementation of a Social Franchising Accelerator programme in South Africa. In International Conference on Economics and Management of Networks – EMNet. Cape Town.
  • Norton, M. (2014). The scope for scaling up social enterprises in China. In I. Alon (Ed.), Social Franchising (1st ed., pp. 48–60). Palgrave McMillan.

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