When you decide to buy a franchise, you’re giving your business a major head start in so many ways. By trading on an established name, you slash your advertising costs. Because the franchisor wants you to succeed, you have access to everything that they’ve learned in years of doing business to help you choose your site, develop your staff, design your store – in fact, in every aspect of starting up your own business. A franchise business opportunity gives you your best shot at succeeding in owning your own business – if you choose the best franchise opportunity for you.
The start-up costs are part of the arguments against buying into a franchise business opportunity. Other cons include the monthly payments to the main franchisor of the business as well as marketing costs. If you want to use the corporate headquarters clever marketing campaigns, you have to pay for the privilege. Then there are the restrictions on suppliers and such. Usually the corporate headquarters of your franchise business opportunity has a network or pre-approved vendors, suppliers and contractors that you must use. There is also the contract that you have to sign with the corporate headquarters for the right to use the franchise name. It is very tough to break and could have you locked in for years.
How do you evaluate the various franchise opportunities that are out there to find the best fit for you? The first step is to know what you want to do. What resources and skills can you bring to your new business? What kind of business will you enjoy? Keep in mind that the best franchise opportunity is one that will offer you full support, including training in all the business skills that you’ll need to be successful. After all, your success adds to their value.
Once you know what you want to do, it’s time to get down to the serious work of choosing the best franchise opportunity for you. Here are some key points to consider:
1. Choose a product that you love.
Not just like, but love. It’s possible to sell something you don’t care about, but the more you believe in your product, the more successful you’ll be at selling it.
2. Research the industry.
Once you’ve chosen a product that you like, take a long, hard look at the industry of which it’s a part. Sit down and study the brochures and information from the franchisor. Are you interested enough in the business to put in the required time to succeed?
3. Talk to others who already own franchises.
Take a field trip to others who are already involved in the network. Most owners will be happy to talk to you about their business. Ask about their normal day, the obstacles they had to overcome, the parts that were easier than they thought. Ask if the business lives up to their expectation, and ask point-blank if they’d do it again.
4. Get the answers you need from the franchisor’s representative.
Once you’ve expressed an interest by submitting an application, feel free to call the franchise representative with your questions. He’ll be happy to give you the answers you need to make your decision about whether this is the best franchise opportunity for your investment.
5. Meet the franchisor face to face.
Get to know the person you’re going to do business with. They have their own interests at heart, of course, but how sincere are they about helping you make YOUR business a success? Is the training they offer sufficient? Do they respect you as a partner?
The answers to those questions will help you evaluate each business and find the best franchise opportunity for you.
Just make sure before taking the plunge with a promising small business franchise opportunity that you do your research. Make sure you have enough money, not only for investing in the new business, but also for living expenses while your build up your clientele.
Michael Johnson operates a variety of small business websites and newsletters.