Due diligence is vital in the franchise selection process, but don’t be afraid to go with your gut and do what feels right.
When considering buying a franchise, you face two big decisions. Is franchising as a career option right for you? If so, which franchise should you choose? It definitely pays to do your research upfront and put the thinking time in. Buying a franchise is not just a financial investment. It is an emotional decision, which you hope will be the start of an exciting new adventure.
A career in franchising has many benefits
All franchises offer the opportunity to own your business in some shape or form. If that is something you dreamt of as a child, then the chance to fulfil that ambition is here! The significant advantage of franchising is that you are stepping into an established business model. No having to decide on a business name or create branding. Many businesses processes may be up and running already, so you can start your business on the front foot.
Many franchises offer the chance to work flexibly, to set your own working hours and not be bound by an employment contract. Some also provide significant ongoing support and training so that you can enjoy the autonomy of running your own business without feeling alone.
Once you have decided to move into franchising, selecting the right franchise is critical
If you have a particular industry in mind, compare franchise offerings within that sector. Or, if you have a specific budget available, investigate what franchises are on offer for that investment. Geography may be an important factor, as your dream franchise might only be available in a different area. Online franchise portals can be really helpful here to compare opportunities across various industries, investment levels and types of business, such as home or vehicle-based businesses.
Do your due diligence
Once you have narrowed your possible franchise choices down to a few, you need to complete your due diligence. This is all about facts and figures. About asking as many questions as possible to get an accurate picture of what running the franchise will be like. What investment is required? How much support or training does the franchisor provide? Are there upper or lower caps on earnings? What territory is available? How can you expand your franchise further down the line if everything is going well? How can you exit the franchise if things don’t work out as you expect, or you have a sudden change in personal circumstances? If a franchisor isn’t prepared to take the time to answer your questions, then are they really someone you want to work with?
I always encourage people interested in buying a Get Ahead franchise to speak to my other franchisees. This allows them to ask those candid questions and get a realistic picture of both the pros and cons of what’s on offer. I know this has made a positive impact, as my franchisee for Cheshire & The Wirral, said, “Talking to other Get Ahead franchisees helped me to get the full picture and they were so generous with their time and support.”
No business is perfect, and you may regret it further down the line if you only take the franchisor’s word for something. Look to see if there are reviews of the franchise online or even customer reviews of the service. You need to feel confident about the company reputation you are buying into.
Evaluate all the evidence, but don’t be afraid to go with your heart
Investing in a franchise is an important decision that needs a logical approach. The figures should stack up for you to make it work. But especially if you are torn between two options and finding it difficult to decide, don’t be afraid to listen to your heart as well as your head.
As a franchisor, I have also learned the value of trusting your instincts. I love mentoring my franchisees and helping them grow their businesses. But it hasn’t all been plain sailing. One or two franchisees haven’t worked out. I now trust my instincts much more during the recruitment process, and I am not afraid to say when I don’t think the opportunity is right for someone. Being upfront and honest can save heartache further down the line.
Don’t be afraid to do the same. If an opportunity feels right and you have done your homework, grab it with both hands and succeed in your franchising future.