Many people have been using the extra time spent at home during lockdown to think about their future and for some, this means dusting off their plans to take control of their future by starting their own business.
Many people have been using the extra time spent at home during lockdown to think about their future and for some, this means dusting off their plans to take control of their future by starting their own business. But making sure that you have the best chance of success is even more important now, in this period of some uncertainty around the pandemic and its effects on the economy.
Franchising can be an excellent way to start your own business, offering a tried and tested format and structure to operate, instead of having to start from scratch. However, before you part with your hard-earned money, you will need to take the time to check out the franchise you think might be the right one.
I always recommend that you start with the British Franchise Association website (www.thebfa.org). They are the not-for-profit standards body for the sector and have a free online course you can take as a prospective franchisee. You will want to check out the franchisor, including their financial standing and find out more about the particular industry sector the business is in. Other key aspects include speaking to existing franchisees to see what help and information they can provide and you should also have the legal contract reviewed by an experienced franchise solicitor.
But, as well as this important detailed questioning and research, you should also consider some of the other things that can make all the difference to your success. What qualities will you need your franchisor to have, in order to help you get to where you want to be?
You may feel much more comfortable with the power of a well-known brand behind you. Your chosen franchisor will therefore almost certainly be a corporate brand so you will be unlikely to have a real relationship with the founders or owners of the business. Or you may want to be part of a smaller network, where there is more of a ‘family’ feel. Franchising covers such a wide range of business sectors and sizes and types of franchise, that there really is something for everyone.
Whatever the size of the franchisor, here are some key qualities a good franchise should be able to demonstrate:
- Consistency. Your research into the franchise will take some time and there will be several conversations and meetings, quite often with a number of different people. Are you getting consistent messages about the way things are done, especially around support and training? Franchising is all about having a structure and format which ensures a steady and dependable approach.
- Experience. One of the main benefits of buying a franchise instead of going it alone, is that the franchisor should have already built up a successful operation, so you can follow a tried and tested format. If the franchisor does not already have a core business established, you need to think carefully about what you will be getting for your franchise fee.
- Honesty. This should go without saying, but trustworthiness in franchising is essential. You need to have confidence that the franchise you are investing in has been accurately presented and that any claims made can be backed up. When you meet a franchisor, speak to one of their staff, obtain their prospectus or other information, make sure you are looking beyond a slick sales pitch or glossy marketing brochures. Be realistic and don’t rush to make a decision without doing your research.
- Dedication. Not an easy aspect to measure but it is key to a successful long-term relationship with a franchisor. You need to be sure that your chosen franchisor is committed to helping you succeed, not just in terms of sales, but profits too and that they will pull out all the stops to help you overcome any challenges.
- Values. Shared values are important in any relationship and in franchising, the legal agreement you will sign could be for five, ten or even twenty years so this is about forming a long-term business relationship. Ask the franchisor to outline the core values of the franchise. At Revive! our values are simple and we have built them in to everything we do: Integrity, Customer Service, Technical Excellence and Unity. Our aim is to recruit franchisees who will commit to those values.
Many of these issues won’t necessarily be a clear cut ‘tick in the box’ but when you sit down to properly review the conversations you have had, the marketing material received and, yes, your own instincts, you will start to build a picture.
You will have a much better chance of successfully building a long-term business relationship and making a success of your franchise if you choose a franchisor who offers great values, experience, commitment, consistency and above all, integrity.