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Advice: When is the right time to buy a franchise?


You may have been thinking about running your own business for a few years now, getting fed up with the corporate rat race, or just not fulfilled in your working life. Gradually you get closer to making the move, researching franchising, looking at potential matches and narrowing down your choices.


At some point, you will have met your chosen franchisor, either at a one to one meeting or a bigger group discovery day. That meeting is likely to be the start of the process of buying a franchise, but there will still be due diligence and planning to do, with further meetings and help with business planning.


It is at this stage where some prospective franchisees can get stuck, honing their plan over and over, reworking the projections, trying to identify every potential risk to their future business success. The current uncertainty around our political and economic climate doesn’t help of course.


Sometimes it will take a leap of faith into the unknown to enable you to move forward. There is no right time to start, no ‘perfect’ moment when success is guaranteed. However, that doesn’t mean that you should ignore any doubts you have or miss out any of the due diligence and planning you need to do, this is an important decision to make.


Here are four key areas to check as you decide either to go ahead and start your franchise, or to be honest with yourself and agree that you aren’t at the right stage in your life to take the risk.


1. Assess your skills

Firstly, spend some time assessing yourself honestly. What are your key skills, what do you enjoy doing? Have you really got the drive and commitment to put the effort and hours in to starting a business? Does your chosen franchise give you the opportunity to work to your strengths?


2. Conduct a financial review

Financially, have you spent time working out your personal financial budget (ie how much you will need to draw out of the business as your ‘wages’)? Are you being realistic about the earning potential in the franchises you are considering?


3. Do your due diligence

Have you worked through the research and due diligence needed to properly assess the franchise you are considering? There is lots of advice and support available to help you do this, including the British Franchise Association’s website and online training and the major banks, many of which publish franchise guides. Have you taken legal advice about the franchise contract to ensure you understand what you would be signing up to?


4. Measure your excitement

And very importantly, can you see yourself as the owner of this business you are considering? Are you excited at the prospect of running the franchise, dealing with the customers and staff, making a difference to your life in a positive way? Nerves are natural, buying a franchise is a big decision, but if you are struggling to summon up enthusiasm, if you are not passionate about the opportunity in front of you, then maybe it isn’t the right one for you after all.


With any luck, working through those four key areas will help you to understand what is holding you back and whether you are being overcautious or underprepared! Franchising can offer a great way to get into business for yourself with support to help you succeed. But the number one reason for success is always going to be YOU, your passion, commitment and hard work are all needed so you can’t be half hearted about this new challenge.


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This article was written by Cathryn Hayes, Franchise Director at Revive! UK and originally appeared in her column in What Franchise magazine.