How To Find Out If The Franchisorís Pitch Is Fact Or Fiction
The success of any franchise relies on having enthusiastic and driven franchisees on board. To guarantee that franchisees do their utmost to operate a profitable business, franchisors should ensure that a comprehensive and engaging franchise support system is in place.
If youíre considering starting a franchise, then youíre probably attracted by the reassurance that youíre not on your own; and that you have the franchisorís experience and support to back you up. But how do you know if everything the franchisor promises will become reality once youíve signed the franchise agreement?
This answer is by closely scrutinising all the documentation that the franchisor gives you, speaking to them at length, and meeting up with existing franchisees to confirm if the support received has lived up to their expectations.
Here are some ways that you can review the franchisorís support package to understand if itís right for you.
Understand how the support structure works
If youíre starting a franchise with a relatively new and smaller business, then it may be the franchisor that provides the support and training in person. However, itís much more likely that youíll receive training from a representative of the franchisor.
If this is the case, then you should ask to meet with your support network as part of your due diligence. Youíll want to make certain that the person on hand to give you advice and guidance has the relevant experience about both the franchise model and business ownership. As well as having the necessary skills to support you, find out how often they plan to visit you. If you are just one of many franchisees that they support, the visits may not be as often as you would wish.
Identify if the training is fit for purpose
One of the main benefits of the franchise model is the training that comes as part of the package. Every franchisor should deliver training on all the key elements of the business. The training programme should cover business skills such as recruitment, staff management, marketing and customer acquisition; as well as including technical and systems training.
The length of the training will vary from franchise to franchise, but tends to last between a few days and a few weeks. The programme should be comprehensive and made up of class room based and on the job coaching, so that franchisees are fully prepared to get their business off the ground.
If youíre concerned about the quality or quantity of training on offer, then you may want to reconsider the opportunity.
See the support in action for yourself
Before signing the franchise agreement, ask the franchisor If you can visit a couple of franchises to get a feel for how they are run. Youíll be able to see first-hand how well supported the franchisee is and if there are any issues within the business. Any problems that are occurring within the franchise may be a warning sign that the franchisee is not getting the help they need.
Get the unedited version
If you donít get to spend time within a franchise operation, then at the very least you should speak to existing franchisees. Youíll be able to ask them about their expectations of the support on offer compared to the reality. Find out about the initial training programme and if it prepared them to operate their business. Have they received any ongoing training? Have they felt adequately supported throughout their whole franchising journey? The answers to these questions should tell you whether investing in this franchise is the right decision for you.
A good franchisor should encourage you to meet with existing franchisees. If they try to stop you from doing so, or attempt to cherry pick the franchisees you speak to, this could indicate that they have something to hide.
Find out if youíre high on the agenda
Starting a franchise with a driven, exciting and growing franchise may seem like the right move; but this may not be the case. To develop and expand the franchise model, the franchisor may be placing all their focus, time and energy on their growth strategy rather than providing the day-to-day support that existing franchisees need. During initial meetings with the franchisor discuss their long-term plans and how theyíre preparing to get there. You should feel motivated about your future as a franchisee within the business rather than concerned that youíll be lost among the franchisorís ambition.
Opportunities to learn from other franchisees
The training and support provided by the franchisor and their head office team will undoubtedly put you in a great position to run your franchise successfully. But what can be even more beneficial as a new franchisee, is learning from more experienced franchisees from within the network.
A good franchisor will understand this and put in place opportunities for franchisees to meet up and discuss any issues that they may have and share best practice. A franchise that has regular calls, video meetings or conferences for all franchisees to participate in is likely to have a culture of encouragement which will be promoted by the franchisor.
Donít forget that thereís no substitute for you own homework
So, before you sign the franchise agreement itís imperative that you do you research the opportunity fully. The franchisor will want you to choose their franchise to invest in over the competition and may say what it takes to make this happen. You need to be confident that youíll end up getting what youíre expecting and donít just take the franchisorís word for it.
The most effective way to do this is to get the answers directly from the people providing the support youíre relying on; as well as the franchisees that will have already received it.
The Editorial Team, Point Franchise ©
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