Entering into any new business venture is a process; here are some of the major steps along the way:
1. Self-evaluation. Matching franchise opportunities with the skills you have accumulated over your career and your own personal strengths and weaknesses is the first step in finding the right franchise for you.
2. Choose a franchise consultant. While there are lots of online resources for researching franchise opportunities, a knowledgeable franchise consultant can be invaluable in guiding you through what can be a complex process.
3. Research. You need to not only look at businesses that on the surface appeal to you personally, but also those that meet a market demand in your geographical area. Once you have narrowed your choices, you will need to obtain a Franchise Disclosure Document from each potential franchise and examine it thoroughly with the assistance of a franchise attorney.
4. Attend Discovery Day. This is where you will get more in-depth knowledge about the franchises you are researching. You will likely visit the franchisor’s corporate office and have the opportunity to meet the management team. Be ready with a list of comprehensive questions.
5. Talk to other franchisees. Choose a good mix of existing franchisees that are in your region as well as one or two others who are new to the system. Ask them if they are happy with the support they are getting from the home office as well as if their financial and other expectations are being met.
6. Make your choice and find financing. Once you have made your choice, you will have everything you need to secure financing. More franchisors are stepping up to fill the financing vacuum these days, so be sure you explore options before you sign the agreement.
7. Sign on the bottom line. Sometimes there is room for negotiation in franchise agreements. Again, be sure you are working with an experienced franchise attorney, who can help guide you through that process.
8. Permits and insurance. The franchisor is the most likely source of guidance on state, county, or city requirements for permits and insurance needed prior to opening your franchise. You can also get information at SBA.gov.
9. Staffing and training. Franchisors are responsible for providing training to you and your staff (if the franchise you have chosen requires a staff). Depending on the franchise, training could take place at a franchisor’s home office or at field locations, and can range from a few days to a week or more.
10. Open for business. A key component of your training will focus on the grand opening of your franchise. Beyond an operations manual, you should receive intensive training on franchise marketing practices. Some franchisors provide a corporate trainer to be at your location during grand opening.
To learn about what it takes to run a successful franchise, attend our free monthly webinar, Franchise Ownership as a More Stable Career Path. The webinar is free, but you need to pre-register, which you can do online by clicking on the linked seminar title.
You may also register by calling 866-246-2884.