Opening a franchise may seem like an easier option than starting your own business due to the operational and marketing support provided, brand equity and a proven track record. However, the process to opening a franchise can seem long and confusing. To help, we’ve shared nine steps to walk you through the process of opening your own franchise.
- Research the industry and find out what franchises are available
Firstly, research the franchise market in the UK and look at all the options available to you. Visit the British Franchise Association website. Here, you will find out more information about franchising and also what franchises are available to purchase.
After you have a better understanding of what exactly franchising involves a next step would be to attend franchise exhibitions. While you are at an exhibition, take the time to speak to the different franchisors and ask about what experience they have and how the business has grown and what is expected for the future.
- Take as much advice as possible
When you are investing a large sum of money, it is important you know as much as possible. Check if the franchise is right for you, is it a business you can see yourself running? Take advice from current franchisees – what problems did they have and how successful are they?
Additionally, examine your strengths and weaknesses and what skills you have. Does your franchisor provide training and support to overcome your weaknesses?
- Contact the franchisor
Once you think you have found the perfect franchise for you, reach out to the franchisor and request further franchise information. After you have reviewed this preliminary information, you will be in a better position to make an informed decision about whether the franchise is suited to you.
If the franchisor has met your criteria and you choose to go ahead with the process, get back in touch with the franchisor and make an enquiry. Most franchisors will then send you an application pack which you will need to fill out and return along with confidentiality and disclosure forms.
- Meet the franchisor
Once the franchisor has reviewed your application pack, you’ll be invited to attend an interview. This is a great opportunity to ask any questions you may have and meet the people who will be helping get your business up and running. If the franchisor feels their franchise is right for you, you’ll normally be asked to secure your territory with a deposit.
- Get the right funding
Before signing the contract and choosing a location for your premises, you will need to make sure you have enough funds to cover the franchise cost and any other expenses involved. Franchisors usually expect your franchise fee to be paid at the same time as submitting the signed franchise agreement.
You may want to consider applying for a business loan to help finance the start-up of your franchise. Here are a few financing options to start your franchise:
- Government-backed start up loan
- Traditional bank loan
- Choose a franchise location
When you have your funding in place, you can now look for a franchise location and sign your franchise agreement. The franchisor will normally provide guidelines and recommendations to help you find the ideal location based on their business analysis. Most franchisors have some territory requirements so it is important to look for a location which is based within these parameters.
- Sign the franchise agreement
Your franchisor will present you with their franchise agreement which is a formal contract that gives you the legal rights to open the franchise. It is wise to consult a solicitor with franchise experience who can review the agreement and advise you on any queries before signing the agreement.
- Attend franchise training
Next, you’ll agree on franchise training dates and attend franchise training where you will learn more about the network and specific aspects of the business such as marketing, compliance, hiring employees and contracts.
- Prepare for the grand opening
With everything in place, the final step is to open your franchise. Your franchisor will guide you through the process and run an advertising blitz to help get the word out there that you are open.
Choosing the right franchise is a difficult but exciting process. Remember to take your time. If you consider all of your options, you’ll be able to make an informed decision and set yourself up to run a successful business.
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