So you have decided that you want to take on a franchise, but you have no real idea which one to choose from the 900 plus brands in the UK franchise marketplace.
A good place to start is how much capital you have available to spend. Many franchise brands, and certainly the good ones, will have arrangements in place with high street banks willing to lend 50 to 70% of the funds needed. This could double your buying power, and open up opportunities that you thought were out of your price bracket.
Next, think about which sectors you might like to work in. This may be something that you have previous experience in, or may be a totally new venture for you. Some franchisors will require specific experience, which may exclude you if you don’t have that experience. Many however look for franchisees with no prior experience of their sector, and will train you in the skills required as part of the set up of your franchise business. Think about your own core strengths, and how these may be an advantage to you in certain sectors. Do you enjoy working on your own, or as part of a team? Do you want to be home based, work from a van, or have a property based business?
You should now be narrowing down your options. Start to apply for information on the specific businesses that interest you, and for which you have the required funding. You may have seen a specific opportunity which has caught your eye, or simply have decided to investigate a particular sector, and look at a number of brands. Do some research, and make some enquiries. The BFA website is always a good starting point
Once you have registered your interest, the franchisor will start their recruitment process with you. Their approach will vary from brand to brand. Some will communicate with you via email, some will call you, and some will post information out to you. Whichever method they employ, it is important that you engage with it. This then becomes a two way flow of information. Whilst you are investigating if the business is right for you, they are considering if you match their ideal franchisee profile, and if you have the skills that they require.
When you have identified a business or a number of businesses which you would like to investigate further, arrange to meet with them. A good, well-structured franchisor will have a recruitment system that they will expect you to follow. This should give you plenty of opportunity to ask any and all questions that you have, to meet them and their teams, and to speak to existing franchisees of their systems. Before you attend any meeting, make sure you are prepared. Research the business and go armed with a list of questions. Again, the BFA website has suggested questions for you to ask.
You will need to satisfy yourself that the culture and ethos of the business is one you are comfortable with, and that the franchisor will help and support you in your business, both initially and on an ongoing basis. Likewise, the franchisor must believe that you have the skills and attributes required for you to be successful in their brand.
This process should involve a lot of due diligence and research and should not be rushed. From your first enquiry to making the decision to join a franchise might take many months. Take your time, investigate those franchises which interest you, and that are within your budget, and you will find the right franchise for you.
Senior Franchise Development Consultant
The Franchising Centre
Source: Business Franchise Magazine