Six Things You Need To Know About Franchising That You Can't Find Online

12/08/2018 08:00 | Start a business

Franchising facts that you can't find online

For most people looking for information, the internet is their first port of call. This is likely to be true of franchisees doing their research, too. However, there are some things that you wont find online. Here, we take a look at six aspects of franchising that require you to step away from a screen if youre to learn more about them.

Are you a suitable match?

It can be challenging to establish whether or not youre a good match for a franchise. In most cases, franchises will leave the franchisee requirements section of their website deliberately vague, so that they dont put off potential applicants and inadvertently reduce the available talent pool. This means theres often a certain amount of ambiguity surrounding the qualities and qualifications managers desire in franchisees.

Franchisees can be a good match' in many ways. First and foremost, applicants may need specific qualifications to become a franchisee. These can vary from degree-level qualifications to industry-specific qualifications and include everything in-between. Second, franchisees will need particular skills and abilities to make a success of their new business. Finally, different franchises suit different personality types. Not all individuals will integrate seamlessly into an established organisation, and some franchisees can be difficult to work with.

Is there availability in your area?

Very few franchises use their website or online resources to detail which territories are currently available. Nor are there many reliable ways of finding out which franchises are open to new franchisees in your area. Those looking for a new franchise may find that they waste considerable time and effort researching a particular franchise, only to find out that there are no free territories within their geographical reach. Not only is this incredibly frustrating, but it also prevents applicants from investing their valuable resources in preparing their application for a suitable franchise.

What work/life balance can you expect?

When researching the best franchises to own youre sure to come across exaggerated and perhaps even wildly inaccurate claims about work/life balance. It may be true that some franchises allow you to reduce your workload and spend more time doing the things you love, but most franchise opportunities require a great deal of dedication and determination not to mention long hours.

Such claims serve to muddy the waters surrounding better work/life claims and make it difficult to assess what kind of personal/professional balance you can expect to strike. One of the only ways youre likely to find out the truth is by discussing the matter with your franchisor and seeking out the opinions of other franchisees.

What level of profit can you expect?

Establishing an accurate figure for total franchise cost is notoriously tricky. Many franchises quote a minimum investment cost that fails to include the price of leasing equipment, paying the franchise fee, or raising sufficient working capital to see you through the early stages of franchise development. Other franchises are rightfully wary of making too much financial information public, lest they give away essential details relating to the specifics of their unique franchise model.

To come to an accurate figure for the total franchise cost, its typically necessary to sign a non-disclosure agreement and receive the Franchise Disclosure Document. This document goes into much greater depth than the information thats readily available online and is created by the franchisor with the express purpose of giving prospective franchisees additional financial and operational information so that they can make an informed choice.

What kind of corporate culture does a franchise support?

Every business develops its own unique company culture, though many will take inspiration from other business and organisations. For instance, Google's corporate culture, as well as their emphasis on employee happiness' and a good work/life balance, has had an enormous effect on businesses around the globe. However, though many organisations may try and ape the Google style, they'll never be able to fully imitate it, as the context in which it is implemented will always be slightly different. Mostly, businesses take certain ideas and adapt them to their specific circumstances.

This means that every business develops an individual company culture that may resemble others but is defined by its subtle differences. A franchise may advertise itself as supporting a certain type of corporate culture, but that may not necessarily mean what you think it does, nor that theyve successfully implemented that type of working culture. With this in mind, youll need to perform thorough research if youre to achieve any meaningful insight into the franchises true work culture. This research will include talking to existing and ex-franchisees, discussing the matter with the franchisor, and going into the workplace, if possible.

How do you read a franchise agreement?

Finally, the franchise agreement is probably the most critical document in the entire franchise model. It defines the relationship between the franchisor and franchisee and establishes the responsibilities both parties have to one another. However, it's also an incredibly complex document containing a significant amount of legal jargon. This means that franchisees will typically require the services of a legal advisor (preferably a specialist in franchising) to help them understand the details and ensure that they're entering into a fair and non-exploitative contract.

Though some franchisees may feel comfortable signing the agreement without first referring it to a legal advisor, this is potentially disastrous. There's a tremendous amount of franchise-specific legal jargon to contend with, and the regulations surrounding franchising can become incredibly complicated. In the vast majority of cases, it is highly recommended that franchisees seek the assistance of a trained and qualified legal professional.

Conclusion
While online resources are often indispensable when it comes to covering the basics of any given subject, youll usually find that in-depth understanding will require you to look elsewhere. Sometimes, organisations dont want to reveal sensitive information to the public and, on other occasions, the information doesn't exist online. In this article, weve tried to explore six different areas of franchising in which theres likely to be little information available online.

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