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Planning for success in 2021

Written by Cathryn Hayes on Tuesday, 05 January 2021. Posted in Insight

Is there a right time to buy a franchise? And how can you ensure that you make the right choice? It will be one of the most important decisions you make, so take things step by step as you do your research.

Planning for success in 2021

Is there a right time to buy a franchise? And how can you ensure that you make the right choice? It will be one of the most important decisions you make, so take things step by step as you do your research.

Here are my tips to help you focus on the key actions to take when you are considering buying a franchise:

Think about what you want to do

Before you do anything else, spend time analysing your strengths and weaknesses and think about what you want to spend your time doing. The great advantage of franchising is that you don’t have to stick to your existing area of experience. If you want to, you can make a complete change of career, due to the training and support which will be provided by the franchisor enabling you to try something completely new. 

Think about what your priorities are for the next stage in your life. Have you got unfulfilled ambitions to grow a business and build an asset to secure your future? Maybe you are more interested in moving into a caring profession, using your existing skills to help people. Possibly you are looking to come out of corporate life, slow down a bit and improve your work/life balance.

This is the time to be brutally honest with yourself, recognizing that not everyone is cut out to be in business for themselves.  Franchising reduces the risks of self-employment and should provide you with training and support, but you will still need to work hard to make your franchise a success.

There are many things to consider of course, but one of your key considerations should be to think about what sort of business you will really enjoy doing every day.

Look at your options

To get a strong idea of the opportunities available, take a look at the franchises available in more depth. You can choose from a wide variety of home-based ‘owner operator’ franchises, covering sectors such as delivery services, mobile sales, pet care, car repairs, domestic cleaning, children’s activities, including sports, music, drama and dance. 

Or if you would prefer to work from premises rather than your home, you can consider the office and premises-based franchises. This will include sectors such as sign-making and print, property services, retail, beauty services and, of course, a wide range of food franchises and coffee shops, from the big brand names to less well-known stores. 

With many franchises, you will need to employ staff or you could choose a more ‘hands on’ business, if that is something you prefer not to do.

As you go through your research and start to explore further, you should understand what makes a good franchise. The British Franchise Association (bfa) website (www.thebfa.org) is a good resource, where you can undertake their free online Prospect Franchisee Certificate to add to your knowledge, as well as checking the directory of members. Hopefully in 2021, Covid-19 restrictions permitting, you will have the opportunity to visit some franchise exhibitions and attend educational seminars on franchising. All this research will help you to see the differences with stronger, well established franchises that offer great support. 

Narrow down your choices

Once you have done your broader research into franchising, you will need to narrow things down, choosing a sector that really appeals, once you have decided what you want to do. Make sure this industry sector can offer something that you can afford, many of the premises-based brands, especially in the fast food or coffee sector, need a considerable investment. 

Ask plenty of questions

Now things begin to get serious and you will be undertaking detailed research into your chosen franchise. Remember that the franchisor will also be assessing you and whether you will be the right fit for their network. 

Get a copy of the franchise contract and have that vetted by a expert franchise solicitor so that you understand exactly what it involves. 

Speak to existing franchisees and ask them about their experience of running the franchise. What do they say about the support offered by the franchisor, especially at the launch of the franchise? What did they find difficult and how much help did they receive from the franchisor to overcome any problems? 

Plan for success

Look closely at your personal finances to check what you need to draw from your new business and start to prepare your business plan. It is vital that you have sufficient funding for the franchise, as being short of cash will hold back your growth and could lead to the business struggling to succeed. 

As you go through your research and planning, you will be getting to know your chosen franchisor and they will be able to help you through the various stages. You should not be rushed or put under pressure while you are doing your due diligence, so take care if that seems to be the case. 

Buying a franchise is a big step and one which should be taken seriously. It could enable you to realise your dreams of starting your own business and taking control of your future so take your time, research properly and plan ahead. 

About the Author

Cathryn Hayes

Cathryn is franchise director at Revive! Auto Innovations and has over 20 years of franchising experience. She was previously head of franchising at HSBC, as well as head of business support at the British Franchise Association. She has a high profile within the franchise industry, contributing regular articles to the franchise press and other business media. For many years she was a judge for the BFA/HSBC Franchise Awards.

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