Buying a franchise is one of the quickest, safest ways to start your own business, but a franchise is not for everyone, particularly if you’re the type of person who likes to blaze your own trail.
For starters, to be successful with a franchise — that is to maximize your potential earnings — you must be prepared to follow the franchisor’s system, the time-tested method the company has for virtually every aspect of its operations, including staffing protocols, an advertising campaign and store build-out plans.
After working with dozens of franchisees over the years, I still see new franchisees decide they can cut corners, for example, by declining to hire enough people to cover the day-to-day responsibilities of meeting the needs of customers.
The owner may decide to save money by doing some of the work himself, for example, cleaning houses or caring for seniors. As a result the owner has less time to build the business, creating a steady and growing clientele to generate earnings. While that owner may save some upfront costs, he or she loses long-term earnings potential.
So how do you know if you are a good candidate for a franchise? Answer eight easy questions:
1. Are you prepared to thoroughly research the business?
Selecting a franchise may be your first most important step, and the process requires solid research, from reading background materials to putting shoe leather to pavement and visiting franchisees.
2. Are you prepared to work hard?
Just because the business comes with a system doesn’t mean you won’t have a learning curve. Of course, once you have good employees in place and operations running smoothly, many franchise operations will allow you to take an afternoon for golf or to attend a child’s track meet. Many franchisees set a realistic goal to work 30 to 35 hours per week within three to five years of starting their business.
3. Can you call for assistance when needed?
A good franchisor wants to help you through the start-up phase, so to take full advantage of what you’re paying for, you need to be willing to ask for guidance. A good franchisor will likely offer many good suggestions, possibly a long to-do list that will require time to implement.
4. Do you have enough capital to set up the business to operate as designed?
Before you buy the franchise, your research should have told you how long it will take to operate in the black and the Franchise Disclosure Document will tell you your upfront expenses. Getting to profitability varies by location and franchisee. You will need to be work hard and pay operating expenses for some time before earnings begin.
5. Can you accept paying the franchisor royalties and other specified fees?
These fees are the price you pay for a proven operating system, built-in research and development, a fully vetted list of suppliers, as well as an advertising campaign and ongoing support and training.
6. Will you accept structure in your business?
If you would rather create your own approach to a unique business that reflects your particular vision for a product line or service, you don’t want a franchise.
7. Can you accept advice from authority?
When you buy into a franchise system, you are part of a team, and the franchisor needs each of its franchisees to present a consistent image to the buying public. No reinventing the system.
8. And, most importantly, can you trust the system to work?
If the answer is no, then don’t buy the franchise.
Ideally, you will answer yes to each of these questions. If you answered no to more than two, then you might want to consider an independent business. I also suggest you consult a franchise coach, who is in the business to help you make the best decision to ensure success.
After all, what you want most is to have a business you enjoy in which you can excel and which will also earn a tidy profit.
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Contact Dan Citrenbaum to create the career you’ve always wanted. As a Franchise Coach, Dan brings years of experience helping people select and buy a franchise or existing business. You can reach Dan at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (484) 278-4589.