One of the best things about opening a franchise is that you know the business model works. You don’t have to worry about an expensive trial-and-error process once you get started. You also get the advantage of relying on a name and reputation that’s already well-established.
But opening your first franchise is still a lot of work — and it can be risky. Fortunately, there are plenty of people who have been down that road before, and they’ve gained some experience and wisdom that they’re willing to share. Here are some tips you can use when opening your first franchise:
- Don’t just follow your passion. Sure, you absolutely need to believe in what you’re selling, whether that’s a product or a service. However, you also need to make sure that the concept is sustainable in your location and that the franchisor offers the right support. Remember: No one franchise is perfect for every place.
- Start your financing early. It can be difficult to convince a bank to proffer a loan. The franchise may be a solid opportunity, but you may not have a sufficient track record to easily obtain the money you need to get started.
- Engage the franchisor for support. Part of the benefits of being a franchisee is that you get a built-in support system from the franchisor — but it’s generally up to you to make good use of that support.
- Don’t go rogue. Follow the franchisor’s system. It works — and that’s what you’re relying on. Using parts of the system and discarding anything that you think is too clunky or difficult is a recipe for disaster.
Finally, go to an attorney for help. Franchising and licensing can be very complicated areas of the law. It pays to have experienced assistance as you pursue your entrepreneurial dreams.