Five questions you need to ask yourself before buying a franchise

The news headlines are all doom and gloom at the moment, with tales of inflation, conflicts, rising prices and more. Across the UK, we are all finding out what the 'new normal' is post Covid restrictions.

Five questions you need to ask yourself before buying a franchise

The news headlines are all doom and gloom at the moment, with tales of inflation, conflicts, rising prices and more. Across the UK, we are all finding out what the ‘new normal’ is post Covid restrictions, with a push to ‘get back to the office’ as well as a shortage of staff in many industries.

 All of this leads to pressure and stress, which can mean that your work-life balance is not as good as it was but could also lead to concern about making a change.

So, is this the right time to even think about buying a franchise and starting your own business? That is a question you will have to decide for yourself, depending on your attitude to risk, but here are some questions you should be thinking about before you go any further:

What do you want? 

Surprisingly, this important step is often missed and it means you will find it harder to make the right choices. Take the time to really think about your ambitions, your skills, what you enjoy doing. Why do you want to start your own business, what plans do you have for your future? Are you a ‘do-er’ or someone who waits to be told what to do? Do you have the discipline and resilience to keep going, how are your energy levels? Even with the support of a franchise behind you, running your own business is not for the faint-hearted!

Where and how do you want to work?

Is there a particular industry sector you are more drawn to, or have relevant experience in, to help the transition into self-employment? What type of business do you see yourself running, do you want to be hands-on, or do you prefer the idea of employing staff and building a team? Will you be looking to take on premises, and if so, will that be high street or trading estate, or maybe you would prefer a mobile business? Do you want to work with children or the elderly, coffee and food or providing services or advice? Franchising has a huge range of types of business available so start to explore the possibilities open to you.

What is your financial situation? 

You will need to have some funds available to put into the venture as your stake in the business, usually at least 30% of the total start-up costs, including working capital. The major banks and other finance companies are normally keen to lend to new franchisees so you should be able to find the necessary funding needed. However, this will depend on your financial status, so it is worth taking the time to check on your credit score. You should review all your outgoings and draw up an income and expenditure list as well as details of your assets and liabilities, as this will be needed by the bank when they look at any funding requests. 

Will your family and friends support you? 

If you are going to be working for yourself, you will need to have the support of those around you so that you can focus on your business. They might not be actively involved in the business, but they can help with encouragement and support, as well as referrals to help bring in business in some cases. You will have the support of your franchisor and the network of franchisees to count on too but there is nothing like having a family who believe in you to back you up!

Do you know enough about franchising? 

Now is the time to educate yourself so you can properly assess the franchises you might want to look at. Do you know what to expect from the franchise recruitment process, or what the franchise contract will contain? Luckily, the British Franchise Association (bfa) is here to help, with a free online course and other resources on their website Franchise exhibitions are a good place to find out more, with a range of franchises to meet as well as free seminars to find out more. And websites such as this one, also provide lots of useful information, including the Elite Franchise Top 100 Franchise list.

As you can see, there are plenty of questions to answer before you get started. Being in business for yourself, even with the support of a good franchise, will be challenging, stressful and will take up lots of energy and commitment.

But if you are serious about taking control of your own future and building a business to be proud of; if you want a new challenge, with more autonomy and flexibility than you have working for someone else, then franchising could be the answer!


Cathryn Hayes
Cathryn Hayes