Whether you intend on opening a fitness center, a restaurant or a hotel franchise, it’s important to read the franchise disclosure document, establish a solid amount of working capital and establish a business plan. Even though franchise companies establish guidelines and provide a brand, the day-to-day operations fall on you. Here are three pieces of advice from successful franchise owners. These tips can help you succeed.
Do Some Research
And by research, we mean not just hitting the books. Franchise expert Sean Kelly told Forbes that potential franchisees should spend as much time as possible learning about the chain, and that includes working for it. He went on to say that Dominos used to require this kind of experience. Whether required or not, this kind of hands-on learning experience can’t hurt, especially considering that you are investing your personal funds and years of your life into this new career.
In addition to hands-on training, visit as many branch franchises as possible. Investigate the company through online forums and find out what past franchisees experienced. Some of the negative experiences may have trickled down from the franchisor, but other negative experiences may have stemmed from the franchisee’s lack of experience.
Some might complain that the franchisor was not supportive, while others may have found it difficult to adapt to some of the franchisor’s shifting demands. Kelly says, “Most franchise agreements give franchisors the power to change required procedures, radically alter the product line, or require franchisees to make unexpected expenditures.”
This is why it is important to find a good lawyer when navigating franchise agreements. “You might be able to take on some initial research, but when it gets into the nitty gritty of legal terminology, it’s a good idea to turn to an expert,” according to CruiseOne.
In addition, research the failure rates of franchises belonging to your company of interest. This is a good sign that your chances for success are good.
Find a Supportive Franchise
Choosing a franchise that offers training and support, not just initially but throughout your ownership, is a huge factor in achieving success.
Both Marica Inoue and Alex Woods share similar advice, though both own franchises with different companies.
Inoue owns several fitness boot camp centers and cites the franchisor’s marketing campaign as an integral part of her business success. She and her husband had owned fitness centers before but had struggled to turn a profit. However, not having to “reinvent the wheel” and leaning on a company that was invested in marketing the franchise led to her eventual success.
Woods also found a franchise willing to invest in him as much as he was willing to invest in it. Woods was a professional soccer player, who later decided to coach youth soccer after learning about franchise opportunities. He wanted to earn money using his talents and passion for soccer, but he admits he didn’t know much about operating a business. He told CNBC that his franchisor “provided the blueprint” and he followed it. The franchisor told CNBC that Woods was a “bootstrapper,” a franchisee who “worked hard to build his business from scratch.”
Indeed, Woods started the venture solo but increased interest in youth soccer coaching has led him to hire on 30 people, including a recruiter and director of coaching. That’s pretty successful.
Find the Right Niche and the Right Partner
FRANdata, a franchise research firm points to a rise in the franchising within the fitness, lodging and sit-down restaurant industries. Entering a successful field is definitely a step in the right direction, however moving into an already saturated field might not be something worth considering.
For instance, when Greg Wann decided to purchase a franchise, he considered his location and his interests. Living in Florida, he knew first-hand how important home healthcare aides are, but the market was saturated. After some research, he noticed there was a lack of home care aides available for long-distance loved ones. Unlike healthcare aides, home care aides assist with running errands and checking in on loved ones with chronic diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Because the home care aide industry is full of compliance regulations and licensing requirements, Wann decided that having the support of a national franchise would help him achieve business success. He was right. He credits his franchisor for being supportive, both at the beginning and throughout the process. He received training and information. Wann believes that it is important to find a franchisor who acts as a partner and is prepared for a long-term commitment.
Though there are many other factors to consider when choosing the best franchise opportunity for you, these three tips show that success is possible when combined with research, hard work and the right franchisor.