When I bought my first franchise I was excited and eager to get started. I reviewed the business opportunity inside and out. But what I didn’t realise was that I was in high demand. Franchisors everywhere are always looking for franchisees.
I evaluated fully what the Franchisor wanted but I never really thought about me and what I wanted; what were MY long term goals. Therefore, I settled, I became what the Franchisor wanted rather than buying the franchise that matched what I wanted. Before you even start looking for a franchise consider these six areas.
Traditionally the franchisor will ask general questions to see if you fit their model, but more importantly before you visit any franchisor you need to ask yourself these questions to really see if franchising is for you
- Can you work independently?
- How do you show leadership?
- Have you got great communication skills?
- Can you manage a workforce?
- Can you work well within a system? and
- Can you follow instructions
If you answered no to any of these questions, are you able to develop these skills or are they are deal breaker. It is good to know this before you spend a lot of money buying a franchise.
When you are buying a franchise you are buying a business brand, process and systems. The franchisor is not obligated to train you in general business operation; it is assumed that you have these skills. So again before you visit any franchisor it is important to define if you have these skills and if you don’t that you access training to develop them. So ask yourself
- Can I effectively manage finances?
- Do I have knowledge of workplace law?
- Do I organise and plan my time well?
- Do I have the skills to run a business?
- Can I read financial documents?
- Do I regularly network with other business people?
- Do I know how to provide excellent customer service?
- How am I at making sales?
- Can I train staff?
Now that you know what you can do, it is just as important to know what you can’t so that you can either build your support team around you or acquire these skills before you sign the dotted line.
Working within a System
A franchise is a system so it is important to know whether you can work well within a system so please take some time to consider
- How you take instruction
- How you work within a system
- How you communicate with those in authority
Once you are in a franchise agreement there is a time frame that you have entered into. Every franchise system offers a different term so seriously consider how long you want to be in business? Just as you plan to enter a system, it is just as important to know when you will exit the system. A franchise agreement usually has penalties for those that exit the system in the first 3 years so it is important that you put some thought into how long you want to be in business.
Working in your Business
One of the most common complaints I hear from franchisees is that they are always in the business and don’t have time to themselves or their family. Sure you can buy a franchise as an investment and put a management team in place, but even so you will be required to spend some time in the business to train and manage this team. If you don’t want to work in the business you have to be sure that you are buying a system that will still be profitable if you have to employ a manager. So consider how many hours per week that you want to be involved in your business, this is not just in the store, it also includes time on administration tasks.
Strengths & Weaknesses
And finally, there is not a person alive who is expert in all things. Before you enter franchising you need to be realistic. You need to know more about yourself than any system you might want to buy into. You need to conduct a SWOT analysis on yourself and your suitability to franchising.
Spending time now getting to know yourself and your skills will increase your chances for success in the franchising world. But most importantly it will help you to enter the system that most aligns with you and your goals.
Elizabeth Gillam founder and CEO of Franchisee Success creates High Performance Franchisees. Having owned and operated three franchised food businesses; Boost, Healthy Habits and Bucking Bull; she knows what it takes to operate a profitable food franchise. In her recent book, Upsize your PROFIT – 6 steps to running a profitable food franchise she outlines how franchisees can ACE their franchised business unit.