Franchising is a safer option than going into business on your own. There is a tested format to follow, training and support is provided and a network of fellow franchisees to speak to – so although you own and operate your own business, you are not alone and support is on hand.
Many small business owners are just too busy to look at what is happening in the market place, what competitors are up to, how customers needs might be changing – but a good franchisor will be looking at research and development, helping their network of franchisees to keep ahead of the game.
All this support means that banks are going to be much happier to lend to a start up franchisee.
How Much Do I Need?
Before you are ready to talk to the bank about borrowing money to start your franchise, you need to establish how much funding you will need.
There are a number of costs which need to be taken into account, depending on the type of franchise - the initial franchise fee is really only part of the picture.
Working capital will also be required – what you need to live on prior to the business generating cash flow and profits. Find out whether training costs are included in the initial franchise fee; if not, these will have to be factored in.
Once up and running, you will pay the franchisor ongoing management services fees – this may be a percentage of your turnover, a mark up on products provided or a fixed monthly or weekly fee.
You should do your homework, and fully research what you will be getting for your money both at the outset and once your business is established.
For an established franchise, most of the major banks will lend up to 70% of the start up costs, for new franchises the figure will be 50%. You will pay the borrowed money back over a 5 year period.
The next step is to establish how much money you can invest in the business – what can you afford to invest? Have you got savings, can your family help? A solid financial base is essential when you are starting up a new business.
Prepare a full list of your personal expenditure: mortgage, hire purchase, household bills, and so on. This will show how much money you will need to take out of the business in order to live.
The Business Plan
Start preparing your business plan - this is a vital document to obtain finance from the bank. Your chosen franchisor will often help you with this. As part of your business plan, you will need to prepare cash flow forecasts for the two years of the business. Your franchisor will help, but you need to be sure that you understand the figures, what they are based on and how much you will have to turnover in order to break even.
It is important to consider the financial implications carefully before buying a franchise.
You are entering into a long term commitment and need to get the finance right at the outset. Don’t do it on a shoestring, but don’t borrow more than you can afford to repay.