May/June 2017 Ultimate Guide to Buying a Franchise

Top Tips for Getting into a Franchise

Once you’ve found the right franchise fit, conducted the proper due diligence, and signed the dotted line on the franchise agreement, it’s time to start franchising!

While it took a lot of research and hard work to get to this point, it will take even more dedication and focus to get your location open and thriving during its first year.

Here are six tips to help you get your new franchise business off to a successful start:

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1. Give your franchise your full attention.

Before you get to work, remember that franchising is a full-time job that requires your full attention, especially during the early stages, when you’re establishing your location. You’ll need to invest a lot of time and energy into your business, and this simply won’t be possible if you have an additional part-time or full-time job. In fact, trying to combine franchising with another pursuit can cause stress and physical and/or mental exhaustion, which can lead to poor job performance. If you can give your franchise your complete focus, it’s far more likely to flourish.

2. Plan out your resources.

Once the franchise agreement is in place, it’s time to get into the practicalities of opening your location. This includes everything from scheduling the required training to securing and/or setting up the physical premises, to hiring and training staff and putting a pre-opening campaign into motion.
This means you need to take the time to understand the marketplace and your targeted customer base, so you can make the right decisions. You’ll also need to determine your staffing, financial, equipment, inventory, and facility needs, and to allot the appropriate resources to ensure you’re meeting these needs.

3. Set financial goals.

As part of your business plan, you should map out how the franchise is expected to perform financially. Outline your financial resources, identify any obstacles you will face and how you will tackle them, and determine a general timeline and financial plan for the franchise, including contingency plans should any problems arise.

Another key component of your financial plan is a monthly budget, along with cash flow projections for the first two years your franchise is in business.

4. Be prepared to invest time in the launch.

You will never spend more time on your business than you will during the first six to 12 months, during the launch phase. You need to be prepared to put the time and energy into building relationships with customers, suppliers, and others in your business community. It’s crucial for you to be present in your business at this time, so you can see what’s working and what isn’t, and to react accordingly.

This process may take a lot of hard work, but it’s also a very exciting time, when you get to make decisions, put your business skills into action, and watch your franchise take shape and grow.

5. Remember that you’ll need to rely on others.

Throughout the first six to nine months of franchise ownership, you will rely heavily on the franchisor for support, receiving a great deal of training and coaching to ensure you understand and are able to follow the franchise system. Don’t get discouraged – you’re still in business for yourself, but you’re not by yourself. Once your business is up and running, you will work less closely with your franchisor, but they will still be available to provide training and support.

And remember, if you’re feeling overwhelmed at any point during the process, your fellow franchisees are only a phone call away, so don’t hesitate to reach out to hear from others who have been exactly where you are right now.

6. Be patient, and don’t rush any decisions.

When it comes to the timeline for this process, remember that it can vary depending on the prospective franchisee and the franchise system. Some steps may be completed quicker or more slowly based on the variables of the specific situation.

Each franchise system usually has a general outline or range for how long the process will take from the time the franchisor gets involved to the grand opening. You should be wary of any system that rushes through the process or puts too much pressure on you to make decisions quickly. The process should take at least six weeks, and can take months.

As you embark on your exciting franchising career, remember that if you take advantage of the resources available to you, including your franchisor and current franchisees in the system, and put in the required time and effort, you’ll be well on your way to owning and operating a successful franchise!