Choosing a franchise is hard. You'll need to keep several factors in mind, from reputability to revenue potential, budget to business support. But finding the right cultural fit is also key. You'll probably be part of your chosen franchise for years or even decades, so it's vital you feel comfortable running your own business under its brand.
In this article, we're running through the steps you need to know when choosing a franchise with a culture to suit your working style. But first, why is it so important to get this step right?
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Why is company culture important in a franchise?
Franchising is all about consistency. As a franchisee, you must be able to follow the rules set out by the franchisor, so you may not have much control over the way you run your unit. Otherwise, each owner in the franchise network could bring their own strategies and preferences to the table and reduce the perceived professionalism and reliability of the business as a whole.
Franchisors will be dedicated to achieving consistency across every aspect of their business, including working culture. The atmosphere in a given branch should be the same as in each of the other franchise locations. As a result, franchisees cannot make changes to suit their personal working style and priorities, so choosing a franchise with the right cultural fit is vital.
How to choose the right franchise for you
How can you get a good sense of a franchise's culture and decide whether it suits you? Here are the seven best tips for choosing the right franchise:
1. Consider your own values
The franchising-finding process should, of course, start with you. If you don't know what you're looking for, how do you expect to find it?
Think about the way you prefer to work and interact with others. Is there a particular management or leadership style you like, or a cause you're passionate about? Are you looking for a franchise supporting sustainability and environmental awareness, taking an active role in minimising its carbon footprint? Are you interested in finding an opportunity with a brand championing women's rights and eliminating the pay gap?
When you find a franchise that reflects your values, you'll be much more willing to invest your time into developing a successful business under its brand identity.
2. Run through the industries
When you've got a particular set of values in mind, you should be able to narrow down your choice to a small number of industries. If it's not immediately apparent which sectors to focus on, a quick bit of research should do the trick and point you in the right direction.
For example, franchises in the home care and pet sectors will probably be dedicated to helping others in a compassionate way. Meanwhile, if you're more interested in businesses with an unfaltering work ethic and energetic atmosphere, you could be more suited to the restaurant or gym industries.
3. Identify your level of commitment
Next, it's time to ask yourself how you'd like to run your franchise business. Try to identify the level of involvement you would have in an ideal world.
Would you prefer to work part-time or full-time? Are you looking for an opportunity where you can work closely with the franchisor? Are you willing to put in the blood, sweat and tears for a highly demanding business, or are you searching for a franchise with a more laid-back approach?
Whichever conclusion you come to, make sure it's something you can stay committed to for several years, as many franchise contracts last for a decade or longer. After all, this is a serious investment in which you'll be parting with thousands - potentially tens of thousands - of pounds.
4. Decide on your ideal working environment
At this stage, consider the environment in which you work at your best. Are you a people-person, productive when surrounded by others in a bustling office? Or are you able to work more efficiently in peace and quiet?
If you think you get energy from interacting with people, it makes sense to choose a franchise offering plenty of opportunities to work closely with employees and communicate with customers. Alternatively, if the prospect of having your own space fills you with joy, you could consider an online franchise you can manage from the comfort of your own home.
5. Work out how much support you'll need
The level of support you receive from your franchisor can have a huge impact on the culture of your business. Attending regular networking events, having a 24/7 helpline and receiving monthly visits from a dedicated franchise manager can help foster an atmosphere of collaboration and team spirit.
However, if you're already a seasoned business owner with decades of industry experience, you may not deem it necessary to ask for quite so much help. By working out the level of support you'd like to receive, you can get a clear picture of the culture you're looking for when choosing a franchise.
6. Visit an existing franchise branch
There's no better way to judge the culture of a business than by visiting it in person. Attend a franchise discovery day or ask to make a trip to the headquarters. If it has a store open to the public, you could stop off there to casually evaluate its atmosphere.
Look at how employees behave and interact with one another. Is there a collaborative spirit, or are workers disconnected or subdued? Do workers establish cheerful conversations with customers? Is the atmosphere chaotic or calm?
7. Evaluate the franchisor's attitude and approachability
Regardless of the type of relationship you'd like to have with your franchisor, your connection should be based on trust and a mutual desire to succeed. When you have your first meeting with a franchisor, take the time to notice the way they talk about your potential future as an investor. It's important you can build a strong rapport and work closely together without causing friction.
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So, what are the tell-tale signs to look out for? A franchisor should be willing to clearly talk through the investment opportunity and put you in contact with existing franchisees. They should have an effective training scheme and support system in place and be happy to help you reach a point where you're confident about investing in their brand.
Choosing a franchise opportunity to suit you
Point Franchise has a wide range of business partners advertising quality investment opportunities. View our selection of franchises with a strong company culture in our directory, or filter the selection by region, investment cost or sector in the drop-down menu on the left.
Alice Tuffery, Point Franchise ©