Making a good, first impression

Richard Pakey discusses the rigorous processes required in researching, and ultimately purchasing, a franchise business, while advising you to develop a strong, early bond with the franchisor

Making a good

The journey between researching a franchise business, and then purchasing it, should never be rushed. From start to finish it can easily take five to eight months – or perhaps longer depending on how cautious and rigorous you are.

The UK franchising community is certainly growing, but is still far behind countries such as the United States where the percentage of franchise businesses per capita is much higher. 

At present, there are only approximately one thousand franchised systems within the UK. Per capita, that equates to around one-fifth the number of many other developed countries. And this is great news for would-be franchise operators, because this means there is still plenty of space available across the country.

Deciding which franchise model to join is the most important step of all. What do you have an interest in? Perhaps the food and beverage sector attracts you, or maybe you’d prefer a ‘white collar’ franchise, as opposed to a ‘blue collar’ one.

Start your franchise search by identifying which businesses tick most of your ‘preference boxes’. Then submit your request for information on each of them. At this stage it’s probably best to keep the number of options down to fewer than a dozen.

If you research too many businesses, you may feel overwhelmed by the amount of information you will acquire, or the high number of phone calls you may need to make or receive. But, always remember, it’s important to take the slow and steady approach. Never rush it.

The recruitment process is rarely a one-way street. Franchisors spend vast amounts of money on advertising and marketing campaigns. And, because of this, franchisors are usually keen to follow up all enquiries and will be happy to respond to your initial interest.

It is always recommended to develop a good relationship with the franchisor. Maintain regular dialogue while making your decision. The more a franchisor gets to know and understand your needs, the easier it is to analyse if their model is the correct fit for you.

Purchasing a franchise requires serious investment, and it’s a decision that mustn’t be taken lightly.

Don’t forget it is the franchisor, and their head office team, that will train, support and mentor you throughout your franchise journey. They will teach you everything about their brand and its functioning franchise model. And it’s then up to you to put their tested and trusted system into practice.

You will need to show the franchisor that you have a genuine desire to learn about the brand and its model. HQ will want to discover that you possess the appetite to represent their brand in a positive manner.

Franchisors will not be interested if you lack ambition and drive, and will soon turn their attentions elsewhere. Even if you lack experience of the chosen sector, this can be taught during the rigorous training programme. But they can’t give you ambition. That’s entirely up to you.

You also need to consider the various funding options that are available to would-be franchisees. Although investment costs can be high, interest rates are currently lower than they have been for many years. Banks should be able to give you a quick decision and, in some cases, offer ‘same day approval’ regarding capital.

There are also Government initiatives to digest, such as ‘Start-Up Loans.’ Franchised brands may provide assistance too, as they understand the need to cater for prospective new businesses during tough economic times.

With all this available support, there is probably no better time to join the world of franchising. Information about the various funding options can be found online, while motivated franchisors should be able to send you all the necessary details too.

Last, but not least, you must always focus on impressing franchise owners or their representatives from the start. They will have decisions to make about all the people showing an interest in their brand. There will be telephone calls, emails, face-to-face meetings, conversations via Zoom. 

So take these opportunities to create a strong bond, as well as highlighting your skills, experience and ambitions. Show them why they should choose you, over someone else. It costs nothing to engage with franchisors, so make a positive first impression.

Richard Pakey
Richard Pakey