1. Evaluate yourself and your position in life
The first thing you must do is evaluate yourself. Is your life currently ready for a business? Perhaps not but in all honesty when does that perfect time in life come along to do anything? Sometimes in life you have to seize an opportunity. If you want to find a franchise business that is right for you then you must firstly know what you want.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Is now the right time to set up a business?
- Are you fed up in your existing job?
- Are you at risk of losing your existing job?
- Are you looking for a new challenge?
- What are your goals and ambitions?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- Do you have anyone you know who could set up with you, ideally someone that compliments your weaknesses?
- How much cash do you have to invest in your new business?
- What type of industries excite you?
- Would you like to manage a team or work alone?
- How confident are you selling something?
- What hours are you wanting to work?
- Where are you wanting to work?
- Would you prefer to keep costs down?
Put the above answers into a table or a list. This will help you think clearly about who you are, what you want, what your current position is and what type of franchise you will want.
2. Research and attend a show
Now you know what you want, you can start researching franchises. Look for growing industries such as home care. If you join a growing industry then it is likely you will have more opportunities and your business may succeed. Remember, buying a franchise does not guarantee success, you must work hard and have a clear plan.
There are a number of franchise exhibitions held across the UK every year. These are great places to actually meet the franchisors. Some companies may even have their CEO or MD present at the exhibition show, which means you can speak to the person who is in charge and is often the person who set up the business. Whilst talking to the different franchise businesses, evaluate who you think you could work with. A franchise is a business relationship and you will be working together to achieve the goals of the business. Look out for passion, clear goals, good knowledge of their customers and a good quality business.
3. First Contact
If you have attended a franchise exhibition show then you may have already made first contact with the franchise businesses you will be enquiring further with. If you have been mainly researching online, using magazines or other research then you may have made a list of the franchise businesses you want to contact.
It is always best to call the franchise business. This way you can see if the staff who answer the phone have a good knowledge of the business and are passionate about what they do. People who enjoy their jobs and are passionate are much more investable than those who have little motivation and poor knowledge.
Before you call the franchise business, make a list of questions you want to ask. Visit the BFA website to see the sort of questions the BFA advise you to ask.
Make notes for each call and make sure you are clear on each answer, don’t feel stupid if you don’t understand the answers given. Ask the franchise business to explain further until you are clear. This could be a business you are buying after all. There may be a number of questions the franchise business cannot answer until you have met and signed a non-disclose agreement. Don’t worry, if this is the case, arrange to meet the franchise business for a non-obligation exploratory meeting and ask your questions then.
4. Read the material and get advice
When you make first contact with a franchise business, it is likely you will be sent an enquiry pack which will contain further information about the franchise business. Make sure you read all the material thoroughly and make a list of any further questions you may have.
It is likely that once you have met with the franchise business that you will be provided with a Franchise Agreement. Make sure you read this thoroughly and get specialist legal advice. Visit the BFA website or speak to the BFA to see if they can recommend a specialist solicitor in your area. The BFA have a list of approved solicitors for such agreements. Don’t be tempted to save money and see your usual solicitor, franchise agreements is a specialist area.
5. Talk with existing franchisees
Any good franchise business will let you talk to the other franchisees. It is likely this will be over the telephone but you may be able to go visit one. If you have this opportunity then do visit one as you will be able to see what you are buying and the sort of business you will end up with.
Speak to the existing franchisees about support, training and what they think about the franchise business.
6. Shortlist your options
You will have followed steps 3 to 5 for a number of franchise businesses, now is the time to make a shortlist and compare the franchise businesses.
Put all the information into a table and make clear comparisons of the different options you have. Try to compare apples with apples, and not apples with oranges. The comparison must be clear and consistent otherwise you will struggle to create your shortlist.
7. Make your choice
Whilst doing this, consider your evaluation of yourself and your current position in life that you did at the beginning of this process. Firstly, is this evaluation still accurate? If not then update it. Once you are happy with the evaluation of yourself, then review the franchise businesses you have enquired with and see which one matches your evaluation.
The final step is making a choice. Whilst doing this, speak to your family and friends, get some professional advice (legal, financial and other) from third parties such as your solicitor and accountant.
Set yourself a deadline to make a decision by and stick to it. Once you have made your decision, contact the franchise you have chosen and inform them of the good news. They will hopefully firstly congratulate you and then will advise you of the next steps.