If you’re wondering whether now is the time to become a franchisee, there are several things you need to consider. As a franchisee, you’ll have to make tough calls, commit to long working hours and tilise all of your acquired experience to succeed. If you’re not ready, you may be facing inevitable failure but if you’re all set, it could be one of the best decisions you make.
To help you determine whether you're adequately prepared, we’ve compiled this list of the top 10 signs that prove franchising is right for you. Hopefully, it’ll help you make your mind up.
1. You have the drive and determination
Buying a franchise means you’re committing to growing a business for the foreseeable future. The key phrase here is “your own business”. As the manager of your own franchise unit, you’ll need the drive and determination to succeed. There won’t be a boss breathing down your neck every day to make sure you hit targets. Nor will there be a supervisor to motivate you when you're just not feeling it. With a franchise, it's all down to your own self-motivation.
That means you’ll need to be sure you can work without procrastination. If, for example, you’ve been able to avoid getting distracted when working from home in the past, you might be a good candidate for franchise ownership. However, if you struggle to stay focused when working on your own, you may not be able to maintain control of the direction of the business when you’re in the driving seat.
2. You understand how to balance risk
All business ventures are risky to an extent. You’re investing money in a business model that you expect to generate profits, but there is no guarantee that it actually will. Although franchises are often deemed to be financially safer than independent start-ups, the franchise system is like any other business model in that there is always an inherent risk. Consequently, you need to be able to assess, balance and, where possible, mitigate against risk if you’re to succeed.
There’s a fine line between taking a few chances and exposing yourself to dangerous amounts of risk. Conversely, it’s also easy to miss opportunities by being overly cautious. The trick is to find ways of making situations work for you if you can.
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3. You can motivate a workforce
In most franchises, you won't be operating alone. Instead, you'll be managing a team of employees, who will depend on you for instruction and support. This means you’ll have to be adept at providing clear, concise instructions and ensuring they’re followed through. Not only should you be confident when it comes to public speaking, but you should also be able to juggle any issues you’re trying to resolve with individual employees and find satisfactory, timely solutions.
Your workforce will also look to you for motivation. It’s essential that you have the ability to inspire your team, as it's a quality that's very difficult to teach. When employees don’t feel motivated, their productivity drops, they're likely to be absent more often and the quality of their work suffers. If you're to succeed as a franchisee, you need to be able to motivate.
4. You’re happy to let someone else lead
Although you’re technically your own boss, franchisees also have to follow the strict protocols, procedures and practices that are set out in the franchise’s operations manual. The franchising system puts franchisees in a unique position. Although you’ll manage a business and are responsible for its success or failure, you’ll also have to report to a higher authority – the franchisor.
The ability to follow someone else’s lead and work together to benefit the company is an essential quality in any franchisee. The franchisor will probably be fastidious when it comes to maintaining consistency across their network of franchise units, so prepared to play by the rules when you become a franchisee. If you inadvertently provide different products or a lower quality service, for example, you risk sullying the reputation of the entire business.
5. You can be a commanding boss
It’s also vital that you're capable of filling the role of boss. You will be in charge of your franchise unit, so it’s necessary to develop and refine all the skills, abilities and qualities you believe constitute a good manager. If you’re not able to maintain quality levels and a cooperative working culture, it’s likely your business will suffer.
Everyone has their management style, but you need to be sure that yours works when put to the test. Whether you’re friendly and approachable or firm but fair, you’ll need to ensure your employees respect and respond to you.
6. You can take advice
When you first begin exploring the idea of opening a franchise, you’ll have to quickly get used to taking advice. It’s a good idea to seek guidance at every juncture – you should request legal advice for the franchise agreement, financial advice for the terms of your bank loan and management advice from the franchisor.
Many banks, solicitors and other advisory professionals will have developed experience in working with franchisees, so they’ll have been through the process before. By relying on their expertise, you can make your journey much easier. Just the reassurance that your franchise agreement is in order, for example, will be a huge relief.
Taking any guidance that is offered to you is incredibly important if you’re to thrive as a franchisee. Part of the appeal of the franchise model is the wealth of experience and expertise you can tap into – so make the most of it!
7. You’re willing to borrow
It's rare that a prospective franchisee has enough capital to finance the entire initial investment themselves. Most franchisees will need to borrow from some form of lender. The good news is that, depending on the franchise you intend to start, many franchisees can obtain up to 70 percent of their total investment capital from lenders. This can be a huge help when you’re first starting out, as it’ll allow you to access all the tools, training and support provided by the franchisor.
However, it's important to know that there's absolutely nothing wrong with borrowing, but you should be aware that not all lending is beneficial. A willingness to borrow is often necessary to get ahead, but so too is an understanding of what constitutes favourable and unfavourable terms.
8. You have business smarts
While many franchisors will say that previous experience in their industry is not a prerequisite when becoming a franchisee, nearly all will argue that you need some understanding of basic business practices to succeed. While this doesn’t mean you’ll need a degree in business management, common sense business smarts are an essential factor in building a successful franchise.
This isn’t necessarily something you can learn; you either have it or you don’t. However, you can pick up tips and tricks by spending time in other businesses and observing how they operate. This won’t always be a quick journey, but it’ll definitely be extremely helpful in the long run.
9. You have a passion for a particular line of work
The best franchise business for you is one that you are genuinely passionate about. Being able to enjoy your work is essential if you’re to perform at the highest level. While it may be possible to get by without passion as an employee, it’s not possible as the leader of a growing business. Running a franchise can mean long hours, important decisions and a lot of self-doubt – in these moments, it's your passion and desire that gets you through.
You may find that your interests lie in areas where you don’t have experience or hard skills. Don’t worry, if this is the case; most franchises provide comprehensive training schemes to get you up to standard. Take advantage of this, as the franchise model offers you a unique opportunity to start the process of running a business without the relevant skills.
10. You can demonstrate your aptitude
Finally, if you really want to know whether you’re ready to become a franchisee, you can take an aptitude test. The British Franchising Association (BFA) has a free, online aptitude test that will offer insight into whether you're as prepared as you think you are.
In reality, only you can be sure whether you’re ready to become a franchisee or whether you need a little more time. However, you should remember that starting a business is a huge life event, and it’s normal to feel nervous.
We hope our top 10 signs will help identify where you need to improve and what skills and abilities you may be lacking. But, if you want to know whether you're ready, the best way is to begin talking to franchisors, industry experts and the BFA. You can never have too much advice or information, so start contacting industry experts now!
If you’d like to find out more about the wonderful world of franchising, take a look through our online resources.
Alice Tuffery, Point Franchise ©