If you’re interested in opening a franchise unit but can’t find the right franchisor, there are a few steps you can take to unearth the best options. Identifying the perfect franchise opportunity can be challenging and take some time, no matter how open minded and experienced you are. Here’s how you can avoid making the wrong decision with our eight-step plan.
If you think franchising is for you but you don’t know where to start with the search process, you’re not alone. Taking the first few steps can be confusing and daunting, but we’ve created a simple plan to help you find the right franchise opportunity for you.
How to find a franchise opportunity to suit you
1. Consider your skillset
The majority of franchises appoint relatively inexperienced investors as franchisees and offer comprehensive training programmes to get them up to speed with the brand’s business practices. As a result, you may not need any particular skills to qualify for most franchise opportunities - but evaluating your personality can be useful.
Do your natural communication abilities help you interact with the public? Does your understanding of digital technology mean you’re suited to working in IT? Do you have a love of the great outdoors or getting out on the road?
2. Decide on an industry
Once you know your strengths, you’ll understand which franchise opportunities will help you reach your full potential. For example, if you’re a technical wizard, you could be destined for the IT sector. If you love getting out and about, you could start a van-based business or even a dog-walking venture.
You’d probably be surprised by some of the opportunities out there, from fryer cleaning businesses to vending machine brands, so you’ll probably overlook some if you don’t do in-depth research.
Use every resource at your disposal and when you find something interesting, dig a little deeper. You may discover you’re the ideal candidate for an interior plant installation franchise, for example.
3. Review your budget
Before you can start to narrow down your choice of franchises, you’ll need to work out how much you can afford to spend on your business. Usually, banks are willing to lend prospective franchisees up to 70 percent of their total initial investment cost, so you should be able to consider franchise opportunities above your current budget.
Don’t forget, you will also need to have some money saved as working capital to keep your business afloat for the first few months, until it reaches its break-even point.
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4. Identify trends and look for demand
When you’re looking for your perfect franchise opportunity, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on industry trends. By this point, you should know which industry - or industries - you’re focussing on in your search, so do a bit of market analysis to find out how your chosen area is developing. Is consumer demand changing?
When you know where the industry is heading, you can look for franchises with the ability to cater to and adapt for changing consumer behaviour. Remember, your chosen franchise doesn’t have to be based on an entirely original idea. It just needs to meet local demand and offer a better service than its competitors.
5. Get in touch with your contacts
If you already have connections who work within the franchise system, you could get in touch with them. It can be incredibly useful to get impartial insider knowledge from people who know the industry well.
If they’re franchisees or employees, they may be able to give you the lowdown on their franchisor and what it’s like working for them. If they’re a franchisor, they’ll probably be able to tell you more about their franchise opportunity or point you in the direction of another reputable brand.
>> Read more:
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- Franchising 101: The Official Franchise Start Up Checklist (Part 2)
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6. Visit the British Franchise Association’s website
The British Franchise Association (BFA) is the industry’s regulatory body in the UK, shining a light on the companies with high-quality and ethical operating standards. In order to gain BFA accreditation, franchises have to follow a code of practice and operate transparently.
The BFA website is a great resource for prospective investors, as it lists every accredited brand. The organisation also works closely with major UK lenders, helping its members access financing deals, so it’s worth seriously considering BFA-affiliated franchises.
7. Attend franchise fairs and exhibitions
Franchise events take place up and down the country and they offer a fantastic opportunity for people exploring investment options. Not only do you have the chance to discover new franchise brands, but you can also talk to their franchisors and existing franchisees.
Usually, tickets to franchise events are fairly inexpensive, and even if you don’t find your ideal opportunity, you’ll still have narrowed down your choice and made some new contacts.
8. Explore trade publications and podcasts
Once you’ve done online research, spoken to your contacts, browsed the BFA website and attended exhibitions, you should have a fairly good idea of the best franchise opportunities out there. But franchising magazines and podcasts can also provide insight into high-quality businesses.
Reading franchise magazines and listening to industry podcasts is a great way to learn more about specific brands through interviews with franchisors and experienced franchisees. You can also use them to find the latest news stories. And many publications have space dedicated to franchise adverts promoting new investment opportunities.
Becoming a franchisee
If you’re hoping to find the perfect franchise for you, don’t limit yourself to the obvious channels; get out there and network. Make new connections and ask for their opinion, get hold of industry publications and use the internet as a research tool.
While it’s tempting to only go for famous franchises you already know and love, it's important not to ignore smaller brands. While established franchises might have a huge customer base, they can also be expensive, and by overlooking up-and-coming businesses, you might just miss out on a fantastic, budget-friendly option.
Here at Point Franchise, we can offer a wide selection of franchise opportunities from across a huge range of categories. If you’re interested in running your own business under an existing brand, see our franchise directory or browse your options by price, sector or region through the main menu. Each franchise profile page lists the business’s essential information, including its history, investment requirements and details of the franchise package.
Alice Tuffery, Point Franchise ©