An authority on sales and marketing in the franchise world answers the questions someone buying a franchise might ask.
Andrew Cutler, sales and franchise director of greeting card franchise Card Connection, understands buying a new franchise is a big step, so wanted to help you make the right decision – which might be not buying a franchise at all.
Are you motivated enough?
Andrew’s advice: Running a business is hard work; if you’re leaving paid employment to run a franchise because you think it will be easier, think again! The good news is that you will be directly rewarded for the energy and effort you put into your enterprise, but remember running any business requires hard work, long hours and commitment in order to be successful.
You will also need endless energy and enthusiasm for the products and services you are selling. One comment frequently heard from franchisees joining Card Connection is that they would love to sell our greetings cards! Enthusiasm is necessary to excite customers; our most passionate franchisees are always our top sellers.
In addition, to gain repeat business you will need to show customers you are consistently reliable. If you promise something to a customer you must be able to deliver that promise and use organisation skills, combined with the motivation, to see tasks through to the end – that is key.
Have you assessed the financial aspects of the business properly?
Andrew’s advice: Have you sat down with your accountant and gone through the outgoing franchisee’s books, or those of an average or similar sized territory? This is essential to gain an accurate forecast of likely earnings compared with expenditure.
Will you be earning enough money? At the end of the day, you are franchising to make a living, so without this crucial information you simply cannot consider buying the franchise.
Do you have the right resources at your disposal?
Andrew’s advice: Financially, are you able to raise enough capital to purchase and operate a franchise comfortably? Do you have the proper transport, storage facilities or IT equipment you will inevitably require? Can you hire the right staff to help you? Most importantly, is your family fully behind you in this move?
Do you know what you are letting yourself in for on a day-to-day basis?
Andrew’s advice: The only way to answer that question is through thorough research. Have you spent time on the road with a franchisee, so you can experience the day-to-day workload of your chosen franchise? This will also allow you to assess if you enjoy the job and you really like the product or service you will be selling.
Card Connection also encourages potential buyers to talk to our existing franchisees to get a sense of the business. An awareness of the relevant challenges and benefits develops understanding, and prepares potential franchisees for the role they will be undertaking.
How well will you work with your franchisor?
Andrew’s advice: Your franchisor will provide you with a working business model and train you how to sell a particular product or service. As well as an invaluable source of information and support, many franchisees will appreciate this help from an experienced ‘business mentor’ in the form of your franchisor.
However, unlike when starting out alone, you will need to be able to follow specific instructions set out in the training and operations manuals. You will need to be able to adhere to some basic rules and formulas to avoid potentially costly shortcuts. Although you will need to thrive on responsibility, your franchisor is also there to help you, so take advantage of this valuable resource.
What will the future hold?
Andrew’s advice: When buying a franchise detailed planning is essential. Try to picture yourself in five years from now; will you still be enjoying your job? How will your day-to-day work look? Keep in mind that although you need to make a living, franchising is not just about the money, the opportunity to run your own business should ensure your enthusiasm is maintained over the long term.