Five Things to Consider When Buying a Franchise
Entrepreneurship today comes in many forms. Thanks to the internet, stronger infrastructure, increased awareness and a little disillusionment with the corporate world, more people than ever are turning to self-employment to find fulfilment, challenge and a work-life balance.
Zuckerberg, Branson and Jobs are no longer the only pinnacles of business success in today’s marketplace. As the marketplace continues to explode with new and diverse opportunities, the scope for an individual’s success becomes unlimited.
For an increasing number, buying a franchise is a compelling opportunity. With a team of supporters at HQ, a proven business plan and clear guidelines on how to succeed, a ‘business-in-a-box’ franchise offers an appealing, well-balanced challenge for those with drive and ambition. If you’re in the market for a franchise, then it’s essential that you conduct some serious due diligence - here are five things to consider as you browse the market for the right opportunity for you.
Seek out a franchise that’s been around the block and has some serious history behind it. Look for an established presence - a franchise is after all built on a tried and tested model. The greater the history, the greater the testing. On the other hand, being on the ground floor of a new franchise offering can be enticing - and once again due diligence becomes the order of the day.
When looking at a franchise you need to be part of a large organization and a large network. You’ll benefit from the power of shared experience, advice, and a franchisor who’s genuinely committed to the success of the team. An extensive network also indicates a robust infrastructure and access to vital support – essential for new franchisees. Franchises that have grown beyond their own national borders also bring added perspective with international opportunities.
3. Market share
Make sure the potential business owns a reasonable amount of market share for the industry. As a dominant player in the market, it will be easier to build your franchise. You’ll be able to more readily leverage existing brand awareness, and the strength and support of fellow franchisees will bolster your business.
4. Niche market
Always look for the unusual – an in-demand niche market. It has been proven time and again that a refined proposition is a strong proposition. The franchise opportunity does not have to be a startup to qualify for the niche market aspect - there are numerous examples of well-established franchises that serve a specific niche market, and they continue to grow in the marketplace. The niche market franchise invariably has limited competition, which is another plus factor.
5. Make sure it really works for you
Are you compatible and is the business compatible to you? A franchise is not for everyone. Be very clear about what you’re looking to achieve from this partnership. Talk to other franchisees and build a realistic picture of life in the field. Talk to your family and loved ones. If this decision impacts them, ensure they fully understand the consequences, and that this is the right choice for everyone.
There are many myths that continue to surround the world of franchising, not the least of which is the fact that a franchise is a ‘silver bullet’ to success. There might have been a time in franchise development when this was true, but that was probably several decades ago. Today a franchise is definitely a business that has to be worked and managed exactly the same as any other non-franchised business. The franchise element gives you the framework, the support and brand recognition, but it does not give you the dedication and enthusiasm that the franchisee must bring to the table.
Thinking that just because you are a franchise owner you will have automatic success is a substantial pitfall, and one to be wary of. If you are not serious about working hard or at least working smart, then perhaps a franchise is not the best vehicle for you. The more due diligence that you do before you take the plunge, the better the long-term results will be.
Buying a franchise can lead to a world of opportunity and success. It’s a wonderful road for those who choose to walk it. Keep these five things in mind and you’ll be on the right path in no time.
David Banfield is the President of The Interface Financial Group, a position that he has held for over 20 years. He has been instrumental in starting Interface as a franchise opportunity and building it to its current international status. Prior to his involvement with Interface, he worked extensively in the banking, credit and factoring financial service areas.