Ten things you MUST do before you buy a franchise!

If you've just started to find out about franchising, you might be a bit overwhelmed with the choices available, as well as being nervous about making the wrong decision.

Ten things you MUST do before you buy a franchise!

There are a wide range of opportunities in various sectors, catering to different interests, so you will have plenty to choose from.

Franchising provides structure, training, and support to increase your chances of success, if you choose the right franchise. However, whether it suits you will depend on your ambitions, skills, and personality.

So, before you rush into anything, here is my checklist of ten things to clarify before you go ahead:

Know yourself

This is the most important step and possibly the one many people don’t prioritise enough! What do YOU want to do? How much energy are you prepared to put into a new venture? Do you really want to be your own boss or are you just fed up with your job? 

Are you prepared to follow the operating structure and obey the ‘rules of the game’? If you’re all about doing things your own way and don’t like being bossed around or having limitations, franchising might not be your cup of tea.

Franchisors put their trust in you to represent their brand, but in return, you must play by their rules and follow their guidelines, meaning you don’t have full control over big decisions.

How much can you put into the business?

You will need to have your own stake to put in, although banks will usually lend the rest of the funding needed. However, it is no good thinking you can buy a hotel franchise with £10k for instance. Be realistic about what you can put in and how much you might be able to borrow.

How much do you need to earn?

Again, you’ll need to be realistic and practical here. Look at your income and outgoings and work out what you need as a personal income as that will need to be factored into any business plan and financial forecasts.

What skills do you have?

Franchising offers support and training so you don’t have to do something you already know, but you should think about the skills and experience you can bring to the franchise. What areas will you need more support in?

What do you want from a business?

Do you want to have more control over your time and decisions, would you prefer to be a hands-on owner operator, do you need more free time? Another important set of questions as franchises can offer different choices. For example, if you want to operate on your own with full responsibility for any services offered, don’t take a franchise that expects you to employ staff. And if you want to grow a much bigger business, look at a management franchise so you can focus on growth while your staff provide the services.

Do you have family support?

Your decision could impact your family finances so it’s important to make sure you’ve got backing close to home. But not only that, even with the support of your Franchisor, it can be a scary time, giving up work to start your own business so having a cheerleader at home can really help!

Get some training

The bfa offer a free online training course to help you understand franchising and the different responsibilities. It will help you to take the next step and show a Franchisor that you are serious about this new challenge.

Research and plan!

This could be one of the major decisions in your life, don’t go into it blindly or get carried away with the hype. My next article with go into more detail about the various ways to research a franchise opportunity thoroughly, so don’t miss it!

Check the agreement

You probably won’t be able to get it changed as it will be a standard agreement for all the franchisees. But it is important that you understand what you are signing up for and know what your obligations will be.

Don’t succumb to analysis paralysis! 

Once you’ve done the research and thought things through, so you know what you want to do, there comes a point where you must decide and move forward. I’ve seen some people delay their decision again and again and then regret their missed opportunity. Or they treat the research and business plan almost like a work project but never quite reach the implementation stage.

Whether you go down the franchise route or start your own independent venture, success always requires a shed-load of hard work and dedication.

But if you are looking for a structure and process to help you build a business, with training and support along the way, franchising could be just the ticket!

Cathryn Hayes
Cathryn Hayes