A lot of big retailers such as John Lewis have incorporated wishlist icons into their websites. Not only is this a great way to tell your loved ones what you want for Christmas but it’s also a good starting point when you take your first steps towards choosing a franchise.
While on the face of it all franchises look tempting, it’s what’s under the wrapping and bows that counts. You need to know exactly what you’re getting, otherwise the opportunity may not live up to your expectations. And -unlike a garish tie or a boring ironing board cover – you won’t be able to exchange it for something you like more.
When it comes to due dilligence, it’s important to ask a handful of questions about the price, territory, experience, financial projections and what the ongoing support from the franchisor will look like. But I strongly urge you to put your own personal goals, expectations, aspirations and level of commitment at the top of your list when considering which franchise is right for you. You’re going to be making a huge investment in your future – not just financially but also emotionally – so you need to make the right decision and that requires being a realist.
The franchisor has a legal obligation to not misrepresent the franchise but equally the prospective franchisee has a similar duty to the franchisor, not to mention themselves. In every case, you should carry out a harsh self-examination before making one of the biggest decisions of your life.
Over 20 years in the franchise industry, we’ve seen more than a few prospective franchisees who have misjudged what would be required of them. They have underestimated the amount of effort and the level of commitment that will be needed or chosen to ignore and not disclose existing debts. Others have lifestyle aspirations, such as frequent or lengthy holidays, that won’t be practical or possible in the early stages of growing a new business. The franchisor will do all they can to tease out these issues but that’s not always possible, particularly if that information is intentionally withheld.
If both sides follow this code of practice, the relationship will stand every chance of success. But if either side fails to be brutally honest and realistic, the likelihood of failure is much greater. So when you’re drawing up a wishlist of what you want to put into and get out of your new franchise, be brutally honest with yourself. The best matches are those where both sides meet each other’s expectations.