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Personality. Appearance. Shared ambitions and goals. Financial status…….
Finding your perfect franchise match is not dissimilar to finding your perfect life partner – as a would-be franchisee looking for a franchise opportunity you need to ensure that all of the boxes are ticked and to go through the different (sometimes awkward!) “getting to know you” stages before you find the right one for you and commit to what hopefully will be a long and mutually fulfilling relationship. With so many opportunities out there to consider, anyone looking to invest in a franchise business can quite simply be spoilt for choice. Unfortunately though, when you’re hunting for your ideal franchise there aren’t generally the same matchmaking services as are readily available in the dating game to help you whittle the playing field down and find “The One” that shares all of your compatibility criteria!
Before launching enthusiastically into the quest for their perfect match, a prospective franchisee should take time to carefully consider their own wants and needs. Carrying out an analytical assessment at each stage of the developing relationship will hopefully ensure that a franchisee doesn’t leap into a commitment blinded by lust and that the ensuing franchise partnership is a long and happy one.
1. Know your personal interests, strengths and goals
The first step to take before exploring the huge range of franchise opportunities out there is to honestly assess your own interests, skillsets and your life goals. Do you have a particular passion, talent or interest that draws you to a specific franchise sector? How much time do you have to devote to a franchise business? Are you looking for a franchise business that you can operate around family commitments? Or a business that you can quickly scale up into a large operation, possibly across multiple units? Are you wanting to work hands-on in the business and do you have the necessary personal skills to deal with customers face to face on a daily basis or would you prefer to manage a team and oversee the operations? All sounds basic stuff, but will quickly help you to narrow down your list of potential suitors and identify which sectors or franchise models could be the right fit for you.
2. Know Your Figures
Again, this might sound basic, however it’s vital to not only know how much money you have personally available (with access to funding or otherwise) to invest in a franchise business, but also to know what your own financial needs from the business are. Levels of investment for a franchise will range greatly, from franchises such as gyms or restaurants which are very capital intensive and require premises and fit-out costs, to service franchises which can be run from home with a small initial investment. Don’t also forget any requirements for working capital while you are establishing your business.
It’s important to be realistic about whether or not the business will be able to support your lifestyle. Do your sums in the cold light of day before you become consumed by passion!
3. Get Online
Just like the world of dating is immediately accessible online these days, the first step for prospective franchisees looking for the right franchise opportunity will be the internet. Websites, webinars, information packs and prospectuses……gather together information about the various franchise opportunities that catch your eye and compare them side by side. Research your own local market carefully too – what demand is there in your proposed geographical area? Is there existing competition?
This should allow you to narrow down your options to a number of prospective matches, those whom you’re interested in finding out more about!
4. Go on a date
It’s time to take the plunge and meet. That way you can get a real feel for the personality and culture of the brand and find out if you are likely to be a great fit for each other. Initially, you could embrace the “speed dating” approach of a franchise expo which can afford the opportunity to chat face to face with a number of franchisors on the same occasion under one roof. You’re not going to find out everything you need to know about the brand and franchisor in that situation but it should allow you a chance to investigate if the necessary chemistry is there to mean that you’d like to commit to a proper date.
A proper “date” between franchisor and prospective franchisee could be arranged by either the would-be investor attending a Franchise Discovery Event or a one-to-one meeting, depending on factors such as timing, location and the brand’s own recruitment procedures. Whatever format that meeting takes, however, it’s your opportunity not only to be given a whole host of in-depth information about the brand, the franchise, the training and support on offer and the facts and figures but also for the franchisor to evaluate you. A great franchise discovery meeting – just like a great date – won’t be a one-sided conversation. As well as imparting information, the franchisor should be using the opportunity to get to know you too so that they can be sure that you meet their franchisee requirements and that you’ll be a good fit for their brand.
5. Meet the Family
Before you decide to commit to a long term relationship, you need to meet the family – some of the existing franchisees. They should be an accurate reflection of the brand’s core values and culture and will be able to give you the honest inside track on what it’s really like being part of the franchise network you’re looking to join.
6. Keep A Cool Head
By this point, you may well be completely and utterly bowled over and starry-eyed about your potential new franchise business. However, this is the time when you need to take a step back to make sure that you have done thorough research and carried out your due diligence before you say “I do”. Allow yourself the time to really get to know your potential mate. An understandable emotional attachment to your chosen brand can mean that you’re ruled by your heart rather than your head – ensure that you have considered the investment opportunity dispassionately and take independent and specialist advice if needed.
Just like any marriage or long term relationship, investing in a franchise is a significant commitment which requires faith, honesty, great communication and mutual respect on both sides. Taking time to properly assess your potential suitors (and saying a firm “No” to the wrong and unsuitable ones) should hopefully result in a long, happy and successful relationship for both franchisee and franchisor.
July 6, 2019 at 04:59AM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs