Buying a franchise is a complicated decision. The process of finding the franchise concept that is perfect for you can be overwhelming with so many franchise options to choose from. Aspiring entrepreneurs are typically looking for the support and guidance on how to be successful that comes in a franchise system. But it’s much harder to find than simply deciding on a famous brand and writing a check. The decision to make an investment in your future requires an investigation that would make Sherlock Holmes proud. But how do you start narrowing down the overwhelming number of opportunities to find the concept that fits your lifestyle? Below are some helpful tips to consider when weighing the options.
The ancient Greek’s talked of the importance of “knowing thyself” and this is the best place to start when looking to go into business for yourself. This process can be done many ways but understanding your strengths and weaknesses is paramount in choosing the right franchise.
There is something powerful about following your instincts, but failure to do a thorough investigation to back your gut is the single biggest error that you can make. Instincts give you the emotional, “heart” decision, which is a big part of the process; the “head” part of the decision backs your instincts and allows you to fully validate your choice.
Be sure that your projections include enough money to support you and your family for the period of time necessary while the business is ramping up and eventually becomes profitable. Look at all of your funding options and be sure to do your homework so you can make the decision that best fits your financial goals.
This is not a suggestion that you buy a franchise on a handshake but it is important to meet the team that will be supporting you and the management leading the charge. Many concepts host Discovery Days for just this reason, as an opportunity to see everything in person. Sample the product if applicable and meet the top management. The look and culture of the office and the attitudes of the people working there can speak volumes about the company itself and can only be seen in person.
This is often the most important part of the investigation process and provides a real world view of the concept from someone who has already made the investment you are thinking about making. The company you are interested in will provide you with names and contact information for some of their franchisees. Making calls to a few of these individuals can give you invaluable information about the actual experience of working with the company. They can tell you what their day to day life is like, if they feel supported by the headquarters, whether they are able to count on their fellow franchisees when needed, etc. Be sure to ask questions about the information you need to make an educated decision. Most franchisees in happy, successful systems are willing to take the time to answer your questions and are willing to share information to help you. In the end, you should feel comfortable that this is a company that puts you in a position to be in business for yourself, not by yourself.
Check back next week to find out the three best places to begin your search!