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What to Do Before Buying a Franchise

Franchise OpportunitiesIf this sounds familiar, then maybe a franchise is right for you: Do you like the idea of running your own business but you aren’t sure where to start? Or maybe you kind of want to run your own shop, but you want to be able to fall back on someone else for things like training and the brand name? Do you absolutely love a particular shop and want you piece of the pie from it?

Franchising is the practice of a company allowing people to ‘own’ a piece of the brand name-they run their own shop under the banner of a particular company and kickback some of the money in the form of costs and fees but get to keep the rest of it. Popular franchises include M&M Meats Shops, Subway, Hampton Hotels and 7-Eleven. Franchising is beneficial for both the franchisors (they get to expand the brand without worrying about investors or lenders) and the franchisees (they get a better chance for success, fast opening, training and support and get to piggy-back on a known brand while learning about business ownerships). If all this sounds good to you, how do you get started in owning a franchise?

Do Your Homework

Which franchise do you want to own? Do you know how much it will cost in terms of initial fees and expenses, royalty payments and advertising? How much control do you have-can you choose where to conduct your business and what it looks like or does everything need to fit a standard (generally speaking, the franchisor will choose the site and the appearance in order to fit the brand). What kind of restrictions do you have on your goods and how you operate?

Take a look at yourself too before you start looking around and be vey, very honest with yourself. How much money can you sink into this venture and do you have partners? Are you capable of running this business and what kind of experience and skills do you bring to the table? What kind of goals do you have for your franchise? Take a good look at your skills, comfort levels and money situation and if anything doesn’t feel right to you or workable, then it’s time to find something else to do. If it’s full steam ahead…

Dude, Where’s My Franchise?

There are scads of franchise opportunities out there and selecting the right one should be done very carefully because of the risk involved. You want to ensure that the franchise you own will give you a good support system, has minimal competition in your area and offers something which customers actually want. You also have to pair this with your own business savvy and have a back-up plan in case everything flops.

Optimally speaking, you want a franchise with a solid name that people recognize and trust with a solid training program and ongoing support, plenty of experience with franchisees so that they can help you out, the ability to grow at your level (growing too fast or too slow carries it’s own problems) and overall, a franchise which you feel good about working on. Selecting a franchise simply for the money will not work because it probably won’t be in line with what you love; rather, you should opt for a solid franchise that you can get behind.

There are plenty of places to start compiling your information about franchises. These include the websites of the businesses offering a franchise, franchise brokers (though make sure you research your broker carefully so that you get a good professional), franchise expositions (where you can compare tons of business opportunities all in one place) and even your local newspaper. Once you have your list of opportunities, start doing more in-depth research into what the franchise offers, how much your fees will be (including royalties), how much help the franchise will give you and carefully read the disclosure documents (you’ll get these before you sign anything) which will give you more information about the franchisor, including background, bankruptcy information, costs, restrictions, training, termination policies, advertising, other franchisees in your area, associations, earnings information and financial histories. Read through this document carefully, hire help you if you need it and then read it through again before you sign anything!

It sounds like a lot of work, but properly researching, reading and getting the help of others in selecting your franchise will save you a lot of time, money and stress later on. It’s important to cover all of your bases, fully understand what you’re getting into and feel comfortable with what you’re doing so that you can really make the most of the franchise opportunity. Talk to accountants and lawyers to give you help on understanding what’s in the contract and financial statements, talk to your bank, the BBB and check in with your State/Provincial government to make sure that you fully understand your rights and that the business you want to partner with is on the up and up.

Once you’ve done your soul searching, your homework, talked to the experts and found the franchise that suits you, good luck! Owning a franchise is a great way to learn more about the business world while still enjoying support and assistance, it can be a wonderful opportunity and it can make you a good income. Enjoy your franchise!