Franchising can be a great way to start your own business, making sure that you have a format and structure to operate, instead of having to start from scratch. However, before you part with any of your hard-earned money, you need to take the time to check you have found the right one.
The British Franchise Association website (www.thebfa.org) is a great place to start. The questions you need to consider will include checking out the franchisor’s financial standing, speaking to existing franchisees, having the legal contract reviewed and researching the industry sector the business is in, amongst others.
But, as well as this important detailed questioning and research, you should also consider some of the intangibles which can make all the difference.
You may want the power of a well-known brand behind you – this means that your franchisor will be a corporate brand name and you will be unlikely to have a close relationship with the founders of the business. Or you may want to be part of a smaller network, where there is more of a ‘family’ feel. Franchising covers such a wide range of business sectors that there really is something for everyone.
Big or small, here are some key qualities a franchisor should (I would argue, must!) demonstrate:
· Consistency. Your research into the franchise will take some time and there will be a number of conversations and meetings, possibly with a few different people. Are you getting consistent messages about the way things are done, especially around support and training?
· Commitment. A challenging one to assess but it is important to know that your chosen franchisor is committed to helping you succeed. The legal agreement you will sign could be for five, ten or even twenty years so this is about forming a long-term business relationship.
· Experience. One of the key benefits of franchising is that the franchisor has built up a successful operation first, so that they can offer a tried and tested format. If the franchisor doesn’t have a core business established, you need to think carefully about what you are paying for.
· Values. Shared values are important in any relationship and it is always worth asking the franchisor to outline the core values of the franchise. At Revive! our values are simple but built in to everything we do: Integrity, Customer Service, Technical Excellence and Unity. We want to recruit franchisees who will commit to those values.
· Integrity. It should go without saying, but honesty in franchising is essential. You need to have confidence that the franchise you are investing in has been accurately presented. When you are meeting franchisors, make sure you are looking beyond any glossy sales pitch or marketing information. Have in the back of your mind, ‘can I trust this information?’
If you are confident that your chosen franchisor has great values, experience, commitment, consistency and above all, integrity, you will have a much better chance of successfully building a long-term business relationship and making a success of your franchise business.
This article was written by Cathryn Hayes, Franchise Director at Revive! UK and originally appeared in What Franchise magazine.