Franchise consultants offer a useful service in the world of business investment, bridging the gap between budding entrepreneur and growth-oriented company. Providing corporate advice can be a lucrative career option, but you’ll need to be prepared to build up your knowledge and experience before you can get started.
Becoming a franchise consultant isn’t as simple as filling in a job application and keeping your fingers crossed; it involves years of professional development. If you want to make a living offering people franchising guidance, you’ll need to have gathered a significant amount of knowledge and expertise.
Become a franchise consultant in 8 steps
Before we get into the eight steps, it’s important to note there are various ways to enter a career in franchise consultancy. If you’re already an industry expert, you may be able to get started right away, but we’ve outlined some of the phases you could consider completing before becoming a consultant.
1. Get a degree
Of course, you don’t necessarily need a degree to become a franchise consultant, but studying business management or another related subject will help you start to develop useful insight. Plus, it’ll look great on your CV and give you extra credibility when it comes to gaining clients.
2. Spend time working in the industry
Ideally, you’ll have worked as a franchise employee and a franchisee before you become a consultant, but the idea is to build up as much franchising experience as you can. Franchisors also make fantastic advisors, but if you’re planning your career from scratch with consultancy in mind, you may want to focus on joining an existing business.
If you’re at the very start of your franchising journey, keep a lookout for positions within local franchise businesses. One of the best ways to get a deep understanding of how franchises operate is to secure a head office role at an established firm. By becoming part of a franchise’s leadership team, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to learn more about the business model and how it works.
3. Get qualified
After gaining a degree, or as a great alternative, there are many additional qualifications you can pursue to develop your knowledge of franchising.
One of the most well-known and well-respected certificates is the Qualified Franchise Professional (QFP), offered through the British Franchise Association (BFA). You’ll need to be a BFA member before you can qualify, but once you’ve achieved it, you’ll have demonstrated knowledge of “the complexities of, and best practice in, franchising”.
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4. Make sure you have the right skills
At this point, you should start to think about the attributes you’ll need to become a good franchise consultant. Chances are, you’ll have already picked up many from working in the franchise industry, but it’s worth reviewing your skillset.
Franchise consultants need good research and analytical skills to match investors with businesses, as well as the ability to present information effectively to help clients find solutions to their problems.
As you’ll be spending lots of time discussing potential investments with people, you’ll need to be comfortable communicating closely and keeping in touch with others. Plus, you must be able to act professionally and gain the trust of your clients.
5. Learn how to take the right approach
Consulting isn’t for everyone; to make it in the role, you should be adept at helping people find investment solutions without letting your own objectives cloud your vision. This balance can cause issues if you’re hired by a franchise to find investors, as you’ll be hoping to get a commission from successful matches.
Finding the right approach can be tricky, so you must be willing to conduct high levels of research, pulling out accurate data and drawing informed conclusions. First and foremost, you should be dedicated to acting ethically and putting your clients’ best interests above your own. After all, if you do your job well, you should be able to find suitable candidates in good time - and always secure that commission.
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6. Be prepared to give it your all
Some franchise consultants offer an advisory service as a sideline business while focussing on another job. While taking this route can be profitable - and useful for clients - it’s usually best to concentrate on being a consultant as your full-time job.
Clients want to know you’re fully dedicated to their success, and usually expect you to pick up the phone and give your undivided attention whenever they need support. By making consulting your primary responsibility, you can deliver a high-quality service for your clients.
7. Choose your route to franchise consulting
There are two main ways to become a franchise consultant:
- As an independent advisor - Most consultants work independently to match would-be investors with growing businesses and help companies grow. You could network to find potential clients and research high-quality opportunities in your own time. Usually, this step involves meeting with franchisors to discuss their companies. Then, you should scout out potential clients online or at industry events, and market your consultancy service to encourage people to come to you. You may want to set a fairly low fee when you start out, until you’ve built up a positive reputation.
- As an in-house advisor - This type of consultant is much less common than independent advisors. Sometimes, a franchisor will hire an affiliate consultant to help them develop their business. You may be able to find a role within an organisation through job listing websites or your own contacts.
8. Build up referrals
You’ll be able to attract more clients if you earn the praise of previous work partners. Once you’ve matched a client with a business or helped a franchise create its expansion plan, ask for a testimonial. Over time, you’ll build up a collection of positive reviews, which you can display on your website and social media pages.
What does a franchise consultant do?
You can find more information on the role of an industry advisor in our article, What is a Franchise Consultant?
We also have business guides on a range of other topics, designed to help readers expand their understanding of the franchise world and find their place within it.
Alice Tuffery, Point Franchise ©