Seeking the help of professional advisors can prove invaluable when preparing to buy a franchise
Believe it or not, there is a time when you do need accountants, lawyers and other consultants. You need people from strict disciplines to help you develop the business plan, explain the franchise agreement and even offer objective advice as to which of your chosen franchises they feel might suit your circumstances best. So once you've selected your preferred franchise – and even when you're down to the last couple – it's time to call in the professionals.
All franchisors want successful, highly motivated franchisees because it's good for the franchisees, good for the franchisors and good for the credibility of the brand. To this end, a good franchisor will recommend that you speak to the professionals. When it comes to finding the right support, the bfa can advise you on who's affiliated.
One of the key areas it’s worth seeking the help of an advisor is when it comes to the ins and outs of the franchise agreement. As this is a legal document, you need to understand exactly what obligations you're taking on: to do that you need an experienced franchise lawyer to advise you. In light of this, please don’t use a lawyer who specialises in divorce law, property law or, heaven forbid, is a mate – they will almost certainly know little about franchising. With the complexity of the modern franchise agreement, you really do need a specialist.
Another area where professional advice can prove invaluable is when you’re putting your business plan together. My advice would be to do this in conjunction with an accountant – and one who has experience of franchising. It's always useful to have somebody with you who can make sure your projections are sound and that you can achieve the income levels you aspire to. Running a successful business requires experience, skill, drive and determination and a decent accountant can help you to generate a better return – even in a successful franchise system.
However, it’s important to remember that advisors can only advise: ultimately it's up to you to decide how to proceed. So once you’ve spoken to a lawyer and an accountant, this will be the time to step back and review all the information you’ve gathered. In light of all the advice and guidance you’ve received, are you up to the challenge? Can you afford it? Can you take the pressure? Are you confident in the franchisor? Most importantly, can you see you and your family enjoying it?
Professional advisors will help you understand the small print, they can assess the investment objectively and they will prepare and evaluate business plans. But remember that advisors are only as good as the brief you give them: ultimately the decisions and the consequences are yours and yours alone.