Buying a franchise is a journey, starting right back at the point when you first find out about franchising.
What some prospective franchisees don’t realise however, is that a good franchisor will be doing their research and assessing you as well. You will need to impress the franchisor if you want to have the chance of joining their network and not everyone will get through.
In fact, if a franchisor tries to sign you up too quickly, without getting to know you or taking you through the various stages in the process of being accepted, it should ring warning bells.
But you should also consider the questions a franchisor is likely to ask you and how you can give yourself the best chance of being able to join the network of your choice.
Here are some top tips:
- Prepare to be asked questions about how much money you have available to invest. You will need to put some stake in yourself, although you should be able to borrow up to 70% of the total start up costs. Good franchisors want to ensure that a new franchisee has sufficient funding at the outset, as being short of cash can make the difference between success and failure. The costs of the franchise will vary depending on whether you are looking at a premises based or home based business. You should establish your own personal financial needs, to understand how much you will need to take out of the business in the early stages.
- Even though it is not a job you are going for, get your CV updated and think about your personal skill set. Although you are not normally required to have industry experience in a franchise, your franchisor will be looking for evidence that you have the transferable skills and ambition to build a business using their brand. It might be sales experience that is needed, or perhaps a background in building strong relationships with different customer groups will be an asset. Customer service will normally be key in any industry sector so think about how you can demonstrate your commitment to this important aspect.
- Ask good questions, demonstrating that you have done some research and have a good understanding of the franchise. Use the opportunity to explore the support and training available, not just at the beginning of your franchise journey but as your franchise grows.
- Be yourself! Don’t try to hide your true ambitions or change your personality to fit in. Buying a franchise is the start of a long relationship and a bit like a marriage, both sides should be clear about their priorities and goals.
Investing in a franchise is a big decision and there is plenty of advice out there giving you tips about the research you should do and the questions you should ask a franchisor. If you need some help with this, a great place to start is the British Franchise Association website, www.thebfa.org as well as their free training for prospective franchisees, at www.thebfa.org/free-online-training/
This article was written by Cathryn Hayes, Franchise Director at Revive! UK and originally appeared in her column in What Franchise magazine.