If you’re thinking about becoming a franchisee, we recommend asking yourself these eight questions before taking the next step. Then, you can be sure that it’s the right business move for you.
Becoming a franchisee is an attractive proposition for many business-minded individuals who dream of managing their own organisation, but it isn’t suited to everyone. There are many wonderful benefits of franchising, but to be sure that you get the most out of the investment opportunity you need to make sure that you’re ready. If not, you risk facing disappointment further down the line. Below we have suggested eight questions you should ask yourself before buying a franchise.
1. Is the franchise model right for me?
As a franchisee, your role will be strictly defined. In almost all cases, the franchisor will put in place procedures, processes and rules that the you will be expected to follow. For the franchisor, this protects the franchise brand and ensures that the same standards are maintained across all franchise outlets and that the business runs smoothly. For the franchisee (you), it provides a framework to work with and a pre-existing, efficient organisational structure. However, it does also mean that the scope for individual creativity is more limited.
Still, the franchise system does not prevent a talented and hard-working franchisee from succeeding. Instead, it means that only a particular type of business owner will prosper. If you have no problem abiding by a franchisor’s specific procedures and regulations and have the management, organisational and motivational skills necessary to operate a small business, a franchise could be an easier and potentially more lucrative option that starting an independent business.
2. Do I have what it takes to be a franchisee?
It’s time to turn your attention towards your own strengths and weaknesses. Impartially assessing your own talents can be a challenging task. However, it's essential if you're to give yourself the best chance of success.
Franchisees can come from any background and have any professional history, but there tends to be a certain type of individual that flourish within the franchise system. While particular skills and talents will be better suited to specific industries and franchises, all franchisees need to be able to work within the existing franchise structure. This means following strict protocols and running your business according to others' wishes, demands and ideas.
3. Is this the right franchise for me?
Franchises operate in almost every sector, from financial services and estate agency to retail and pet-sitting. You may be at a slight advantage if you start a franchise unit in a sector you’re already familiar with – perhaps you have previously owned a restaurant or been employed in a van-based franchise. But this doesn’t mean you have to continue on a set career path. Most franchisors offer a training scheme for new franchisees, so you’re equipped with all the tools and skills needed to launch a successful business.
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4. Am I passionate about the brand?
Of course, you should lean towards franchises that you are passionate about and prepared to work hard at. Ultimately, you will be expected to be a proactive brand ambassador from day one. There’s no point setting up a dog-sitting business if you love animals but aren’t prepared to walk them in all weathers, wash them and care for them for days on end.
It's a big red flag if there are a lot of things you would change about the products and services the franchise offers, as you won’t get much of a say in this when you’re onboard. So, make sure you choose a brand you genuinely believe in and don’t have to talk yourself into.
5. Do I share the same values?
If you operate a franchise it will, of course, be assumed that you agree with its set of corporate values. Therefore, find out what the franchise’s attitudes are, what other people think of the brand, and importantly, if you are prepared to stand behind it.
6. Does it suit my lifestyle?
One of the biggest perks of the franchise model is that it can fit around your personal commitments. Make sure you ask yourself the reasons why you are attracted to franchising in the first place. If it’s to avoid the morning commute, make sure you chose a franchise that can be operated from home. Similarly, if it’s to earn an additional income on the side, choose a franchise that is flexible. There are countless part-time and home-based franchises in our UK franchise directory that you can browse.
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7. Can I afford it?
While it’s easy to find concrete start-up figures for most franchises, the numbers you’ll be given are usually a minimum cost that includes franchising, training and equipment fees. On top of this, a large amount of liquid capital will probably be required to get the franchise off the ground. The real cost of becoming a franchisee isn’t set in stone and individuals hoping to open up a franchise will need to give themselves a little breathing room to get started.
To adequately prepare yourself, take a look at how much you're realistically going to need to get the business off the ground. This often involves performing a thorough cost analysis and making sure you have the required funds to keep you going until the franchise begins turning over a profit. Not all franchises will make a profit immediately and many will take up to six months or even a year to reach a place of financial security and profitability.
8. Do I know everything about the franchise opportunity?
It’s important to feel as though you know the franchise opportunity inside out before you can even think about signing on the dotted line. As well as speaking to the franchisor and attending Discovery Days, it’s a smart move to chat to the existing franchisees. They should be able to give you an accurate idea of what to expect. In another one of our articles, you can find 50 questions to ask the franchisor and current franchisees.
Become a franchisee with confidence
Once you feel happy with your answers to these eight questions you should be ready to kickstart your franchising adventure. If you’re now thinking that you might not have chosen the right franchise opportunity for you, check out some of the best franchises in the UK at the moment.
Becky Martin, Point Franchise ©