There seems to be a franchise offering every product or service imaginable. With a dizzying array of choices ranging from Aaron’s to Ziebart–and every letter in between–your cranium is ready to implode. How can you possibly decide which franchise opportunity is right for you?
Finding the best franchise fit for you must begin by first finding out exactly who you are and what you are looking for. This involves asking yourself some important questions and answering them honestly. What do you hope to get out of owning a franchise? How much time and effort can you put into your franchise and for how long? What natural abilities and skills do you possess?
It is important to match your goals, desired level of involvement, and, of course, your aptitudes and interests with the right franchise. The square peg in the round hole rarely succeeds. And it certainly does not enjoy the experience.
No matter how much you long to become a purveyor of Big Macs and Shamrock Shakes, if you do not have “whopper” of an investment, opening a McDonald’s franchise is not an option. By determining how much you can afford to invest, you will be able to focus solely on the choices that are within your means.
With any business venture, it is unlikely that you will be profitable from the start, so you will also need funds to support you in the interim.
And, remember, expenses do not stop at the initial franchise fee. You may also be required to pay royalty fees and other ongoing costs.
You will want to continue making your selection by narrowing down your choices by industry category. Some people know exactly what type of business they are interested in from the get-go. Others do not. If you are one of the latter, you may want to begin by examining the different categories and determining if they meet your goals and your level of investment. This will help you narrow the possibilities down significantly.
Entrepreneur‘s “10 Steps to Buying the Right Franchise” also recommends looking for recession-resistant segments and crossing off those that are contingent on a healthy economy like upscale retail and expensive services businesses.
It is important to engage in indepth research before selecting a franchise. One of the best ways to gather useful facts is to talk to actual franchisees. Inc.’s “How to Determine Which Franchise is Best for You” recommends asking at least 10 to 15 franchisees about the training, ongoing support, what types of returns they have made on their investments, and how much they were able to resell for. With firsthand experience, they can also help you understand what it is like to carry out this role on a day-to-day basis and offer valuable advice if you do decide to purchase a franchise.
On the flip side, if it appears that the company is not selective about who they award franchises to, you may wish to rethink partnering with them.
Reading as much as you can about franchising, in general, will also help you better navigate the process. The “Top 8 Books to Read for Franchising” provides a list of helpful tools that will help you to better understand the industry and the laws that govern it.
Before signing any dotted lines, make sure that you study the Franchisor Disclosure Document, aka the FDD. Ensure that you understand the rules and restrictions stipulated by the franchisor and have a thorough knowledge of their background and business history. You are, after all, placing your future–and that of your family–in the franchisor’s hands, so you had better make sure you do your due diligence.
Now that you’ve carefully weighed your options, you are likely better equipped to make a viable business decision and choose the best franchise for you. Breathe a sigh of relief and get on with the next step–getting your business up and running. Enjoy this exciting new chapter.
What advice can you offer someone who is considering becoming a franchisee?
Kimberley Laws is a regular contributor to HowDoYou.com and the author of two blogs, The Embiggens Project and Searching for Barry Weiss. A "Jill of all trades," she is a High School English Teacher and Certified Career Counselor with a background in makeup artistry, retail banking, and graphic design. She is also a scrapbooking, PEZ-collecting, car enthusiast who loves travelling and New York City.
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