With so many options available, choosing which franchise to buy can be a daunting decision to make.
But, if you step back and ask yourself the right questions, things can become a lot clearer. So, let’s take an in-depth look at some factors every aspiring franchisee must consider before choosing which franchise to pursue further.
As a franchisee you will be expected to act as an upbeat, proactive brand ambassador right from the outset.
The brand itself should be the first thing that appeals to you with any franchise opportunity.
Their brand identity and the responsibility you will have for building up its brand reputation within your area, will inevitably become a substantial part of your life.
So, is it a name you would be proud to represent and be associated with? And likewise, for the industry too, whether you are a new entrant or have some prior experience, is this a sector you would be very happy to work in for a considerable period of time?
Choosing a brand that you’re sure you can relate to is certainly important, but beyond that initial brand attraction, what do you really know about the company?
If you take up a franchise, it will be assumed that you believe in (and agree with) their set of corporate values.
Therefore, look at what the business itself has to say about its aims and attitudes. It’s also important to establish what others think by doing some research for yourself.
That means taking the time to talk to the franchisor as well as some of their existing franchisees.
That should help you decide whether you ‘belong’ in that environment and would feel comfortable working and communicating with these people as your everyday colleagues.
And if the exercise calls any particular issues into question, you should consider carefully whether such matters are a deal breaker for you.
Everyone has their own lifestyle, and though you may be adaptable and happy to make compromises, for some this may not always be possible.
So, you need to think about how you will fit the business routines and workflows alongside your own commitments. For instance, if you have children you may need time to drop them off and collect them from school.
Or alternatively, you might dislike working in an office and would much prefer to be out and about for most of your working day.
Whilst you should never sign up to anything that imposes lifestyle restrictions you cannot accept, it’s worth remembering that experts consider as many as two-thirds of all franchise options involve some degree of working unsocial hours.
This is the all-important question.
While there are many people who may like the idea of investing in a tried and tested business model which makes profitability far less of a gamble, some entrepreneurs may lack the ability to consistently follow instructions and work under someone else’s direction.
While many franchise models demand a decidedly ‘hands-on’ approach, others may allow you to take a more back seat business role.
This latter option may call for a more comprehensive set of management skills because you will spend more time behind the scenes perhaps dealing with employees at different levels and having only limited direct contact with your customers.
Even though the franchise model means you own your own business, all of your products, commercial décor and future business developments will be essentially determined by the franchisor.
And while many franchises will allow you to have at least some input as regards the development of your business, realistically speaking, you can never stray too far from the bigger picture which the franchise owner will always control.
So, is that something you would be happy to accept over the longer term?
Once you have addressed these questions honestly, you should then have considerably narrowed down the confusing array of franchise choices on offer.
This will leave you in a much better place to make a confident decision about the ideal franchise for you.
By Jo Thornley, Head of Brand and Partnerships at Dynamis. Joining in 2005 to co-ordinate PR and communications and produce editorial across all business brands. She earned her spurs managing the communications strategy and now creates and develops partnerships between BusinessesForSale.com, FranchiseSales.com and PropertySales.com and likeminded companies..