It’s not hard to understand why professionals who elect to leave the 9-to-5 behind and strike out on their own are interested in franchise opportunities. Whereas the average business startup entails a load of prep work, a steep learning curve, and a lengthy process of building brand awareness, a franchise already has a lot of these bases covered, allowing franchisees to set up shop and start seeing profits much more expediently. However, entering into a franchise is not without its potential pitfalls. So it pays to be prepared if you want to enjoy the best chances for both immediate and long-term success. Here are just a few helpful tips to get first-time franchisees on the right path.
- Work in your wheelhouse. It can be tempting to branch out into a business that you haven’t worked in before, but this could be a recipe for disaster. As a first-time franchisee the most important thing is that you make a wise investment so that you can continue to pursue your professional goals in the long-term. When you succeed in your first franchise you’ll open doors to other business opportunities. So start with an industry you already know, realize some measure of success, and wait to move into other interests until you have the additional time and money to do so.
- Make a plan. Although a franchise will have many materials already prepared for you, and a basic business plan may be among them, you still need to take the time to put together your own plan that lays out market research, projections, and goals. You’ll have to work within any restrictions or rules imposed by the franchisor, but that doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy some measure of autonomy when it comes to managing your business operation. So you need to be prepared to take the reins.
- Hire a lawyer. Your franchisor will have a contract in place for you to sign when you elect to join the family. But you are responsible for making sure that you agree to everything in the contract before you legally bind yourself to a business arrangement. Hiring an experienced lawyer to go over the contract with a fine-tooth comb and with your best interest in mind can not only help you to avoid unnecessary expense, but also unfair and unfavorable rules and restrictions that won’t work for you.
- Speak to other franchisees. Before you enter into a franchise agreement it’s important to speak with other franchisees. Some will almost certainly sugar coat the working arrangement while others won’t hesitate to spell out all of their grievances. Somewhere in the middle lies the reality of working with a particular franchisor, and you need to know all you can so that you are prepared for the working relationship you’re entering into.
- Get pre-approved. It’s true that buying a franchise can be more expensive than starting your own business since you’re paying for an established name and reputation. But of course, the payoff is that you could see profits more quickly and enjoy greater profitability overall when you operate as part of an already-popular brand. So once you’ve been to your local franchise expo and narrowed down your list of preferred franchises, it’s probably a good idea to make appointments with lenders to ensure that you can get pre-approved for the loan amount needed to purchase your franchise of choice.