How to use your Christmas break to find the perfect franchise

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Inside Franchise Business: the Christmas break is a good time to get ahead in your franchise searchWhy not add buying a franchise to your Christmas list? Here are some tips on how to make the most of this time to get ahead.

It’s a crazy time of year – not only for you, but the franchise teams you may be trying to engage with – so do take that into account in terms of their responsiveness.

The new year lends itself to reflection and a change of directions from a lot of the population…..think New Year resolutions and goal setting. And a break from your job can also reveal a degree of dissatisfaction that prompts genuine thoughts of a change.

If you are already in the process of considering a specific franchise opportunity or a couple of franchise brands, ensure you have received as much information as possible about your potential franchisor and the business.

So once you are down at the beach or chilling at home, you can use the time away from work to think, undertake your research and plan how you would operate the business.

Buying a franchise - what do you really want?

The Christmas period provides a great opportunity to really outline what you are looking to achieve from buying a franchise. Time with family also allows you to discuss how a move to franchising would impact each family member and the expected roles each would play in accommodating your new business.

For instance, who looks after the children if there is late night trade or weekend work for example? Will one of you keep working to provide some financial stability during the ramp up period so you can spread the risk? Or are you and your partner looking to go into business together?

It is critical during this period to define what you want your 2018 (and the years ahead) to look like and what you want to gain from leaving paid employment and entering the world of small business ownership in franchising. The clearer you are about why you are considering a franchise and what you want for you and your family in the immediate and longer term, the better your ability to make a decision.

Before you buy a franchise, take action

Here are nine lists to make and questions to consider:

1. What financial outlay will be required, including operating capital until you are profitable and where will you source the capital – raising the mortgage or dipping into the equity on the family home, bank loans, savings, loans from family?

2. What is the expected return on investment – how long will it take to get your money back, including interest and a reasonable wage?

3. How many hours and days do you want to work and will you need to work in the franchise you are considering, because a franchise is in most cases an owner operator business;

4. Will you need to have a physical outlet or store – how far from home could it be located, would you need to sign a lease, provide a bond and employ staff?

5. How can you assess the business proposition, whether it will be profitable, whether others in the network are profitable and what the challenges and life as a franchise will be like;

6. What will the franchisor provide in terms of on-boarding, training and on-going support, assistance with securing a location, fit out, project management and supply?

7. Are you passionate about the franchise brand and the industry you are  looking to enter and does it suit your strengths and weaknesses?

8. How will this move to franchising affect your family life and commitments - positive versus negative, short term and long term;

9. Have you chosen the best franchise to enter - is there a competitor or another option you have not yet considered?

These are some of the basic issues you will want to understand when you return to normal business in January.

Do your homework so you can get good advice about buying a franchise

So between the swims, the beers and the barbies, focus on making that list of questions as long as it needs to be to get the answers you will want to assess the proposition and make the right decision.

Of course, you will need professional legal, business and accounting advice before you commit to entering a franchise network.

But with law firms, bank loan officers and accountants generally shutting up shop for the year from mid-December until roughly the second week of January, this is a time to do your thinking, planning and research. You will then know what advice you want from your professional advisors, as the more focused your questions, the more cost-effective your interactions with them will be.

Franchising is an amazing vehicle that I have seen enrich the lives and futures for so many people and families. There are obviously risks involved but you’ll make a great start by using the Christmas period to carefully take stock, weigh the pros and cons and return in January with a well-defined plan.

This will ensure you engage with the franchisor and other franchisees in the network you are considering, with all the questions you need answered. The Franchising Code of Conduct exists to protect the franchisee and franchisor relationship but be sure to seek professional advice from a specialist franchise lawyer and accountant to complete the due diligence on the agreements and information you receive.

Using the Christmas period in this way is a great opportunity to get a head start on purchasing the perfect franchise for you, and ensuring the successful and happy future you envisage for you and your family.

James Young

James Young heads up recruitment at the franchise consultancy DC Strategy, and has more than 15 years experience in the franchise recruitment field. View More...
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