You’ve Decided to Franchise…Now What?

July 2, 2014

You’re sold on owning your own business, and you’ve even gone the next step in deciding to open a franchise.  That’s great!  But with thousands upon thousands of franchises operating in the U.S. alone, how do you decide where to invest?

My first piece of advice is this; find what you are passionate about.  When you enjoy and have an interest in what you do, the work is light and the hours pass quickly.  Any business venture will take a significant amount of time and energy, and if you are going to be working a lot, it might as well be doing something you like.  Once you’ve decided on a direction, take a look at trends and consider the economy for that particular industry.  Is the market stable?  What do profit margins generally look like?  What is the consumer forcast for your product?

Considering your finances is the next important step.  How much can you afford to invest?  Franchises can be well over $100,000 and some of the more complex companies even reaching toward $1,000,000.  However, there are less expensive start-up options around.  The key is knowing how much you can put toward your business and securing financing.  A financial planner is in invaluable resource when it comes to making decisions about money matters.

You’ve narrowed down your search and perhaps you have a few franchises that fit both your passion and your budget.  The next step is looking at the company itself.  The first question I always ask is; What are your values?  Having a set of values can tell you how a franchise approaches business and those should be inline with what is important to you.  Next you are going to want to look at their systems and processes…afterall, that is the reason you’ve decided to open a franchise!  A franchise should have well developed real estate, construction, training, marketing, and operating systems that have been proven over time and in practice.  Get in touch with other franchisees of the brand you are considering and ask about their experience.  They will give you an honest opinion from the other side of the fence.  Finally, you will want to take a look at the financial and legal health of the company.  Is this company tied up in a serious legal battle, filed bankruptcy, or have an exorbitant amount of debt?  Companies may be dealing with varying degrees of issues like this, but they should, at least, have a plan of action to address issues so that you are comfortable proceeding.

Opening your own business can be intimidating but it can also be very rewarding.  Franchising is a great way of realizing your dream of business ownership while minimizing the risk associate with such an endeavor.  You can further increase your chances of success by doing your homework!  Research, ask questions, read articles, network with other owners will give your the knowledge and confidence to go in the right direction for you.