SETTING UP FOR SUCCESS
Use the help available to get your business up and running.
Becoming a franchisee is a life-changing decision. There are no shortcuts to success, but there are steps you can take to ensure your franchise business has the best chance of realising its potential and that you, as a franchisee, achieve your goals for the business.
Ask questions, research, seek advice – you are not alone once you decide to take up a franchise, so use the help available as a
stepping stone to success.
Next to buying a house, becoming a franchisee may be one of the largest financial commitments you are likely to make. Running a small business, including a franchise business, also involves a huge time commitment that will have a major impact on your lifestyle. Are you prepared and able to take on these responsibilities and obligations?
Research starts with asking yourself such questions. Examine your reasons for becoming a franchisee, try to choose a franchise that ties in with your interests and passions, and know what you can afford financially before making any commitment.
There are many advantages of becoming a franchisee, especially for those who are new to small business, as your franchisor will provide training and ongoing support. On the flip side, franchisees sign on to following the franchisor’s systems and processes. If you are more inclined to follow your own path than the tried and tested one laid out by a franchisor, maybe franchising is not for you.
Assuming you have been through the
self-assessment process and gained an understanding of the franchising business model, the next step in the research phase is to thoroughly investigate any franchise system that interests you.
CODE OF CONDUCT
It is worth noting that Australian franchising is governed by the Franchising Code of Conduct, which provides for disclosure of key information about the franchise system by franchisors to prospective franchisees. Part of this includes providing contact details of current as well as former franchisees, and it is important that you talk to franchisees who have been in the system to find out what it is really like.
If you have ticked all the boxes here and sought advice from expert franchise lawyers and financial advisors, you have taken the first steps to becoming a successful franchisee.
Once you’ve signed your franchise agreement, paid your franchise fees and other costs, and held your breath for the seven-day cooling off period, it’s time to start. At this point, you can expect the franchisor to provide you with comprehensive induction training to teach you about the franchise business and the essentials you’ll need to know as a small-business owner.
The timeframes for this induction period vary from a few days to a few weeks, but this training is vital to your success. It is here the franchisor will impart the systems and processes that underpin the franchise. Absorb all the information you can, and don’t be afraid to ask questions to improve your understanding.
You will also be provided with an operations manual that will be your essential guide to everything you need to know once you have completed your training and are open for business. Your job from here is primarily to follow the franchisor’s systems and processes and put in the hard work that is necessary to make any small business, franchised or not, a success.
Other specific requirements for franchisees include paying fees, marketing contributions and royalties on time; undertaking their own local-area marketing to promote the business; and keeping appropriate business records.
It is important to remember that while you are running your own small business, as a franchisee you are not on your own. A good franchisor will be accessible if you have any questions or need advice, will provide help to build and protect the brand, and will visit you from time to time.
As a franchisee you will also receive visits from a field manager, business development manager or franchise manager. Whatever the title, this person will be your first point of contact for advice and to talk through any business issues.
It is completely normal to face challenges in your business. What matters is that you acknowledge any challenge and approach your field representative or franchisor about it, and put steps in place to move forward and resolve the issue. Other franchisees in your system may be able to offer you advice or help based on their own experience.
Opening your own franchise business is one of the most exciting, daunting, invigorating and exhausting things you are ever likely to do, and like anything worth doing, it is worth doing properly. So take your time, do your research, obtain professional advice, follow the established processes of the franchise system, and build a solid working relationship with your franchisor.
As US statesman Colin Powell once said: “There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work and learning from failure.”
If you are more inclined to follow your own path than the tried and tested one laid out by a franchisor, maybe franchising is not for you.