This is one of the biggest decisions of your life – I mean that, it truly is. Buying a franchise is a lot like getting married and you thought a long time about that didn’t you?
Well the same care and attention needs to go into choosing a franchise because essentially like when getting married what you are looking for is a long term relationship, not a short term one that ends in divorce.
Let’s look at the stages:
Attraction: Something has attracted you to this opportunity. It might be the industry, it might be the earning potential or it could be something hard to put your finger on. Whatever it is you are attracted to the opportunity. Good, because you should feel attracted towards the opportunity if it has a chance to get past the next stage….
The First Date: The first time you communicate with each other is likely to be over the phone but at some point you are going to want to meet the person. When you look at investing in a franchise a lot of the acquisition is emotional – the first impression of the person that represents the brand that you are considering investing in is really really important. It can make or break the relationship before it has really started because it potentially represents what you may represent in the future and the impression has to be something that attracts you to that brand. The same is true for them too – you have to be someone they want and don’t assume that all they are after is your money – because that just isn’t true, they want new partners that can help them grow their mid-long term business. Let’s assume the ‘First Date’ went well, you are attracted to each other and have shared sufficient information to want to meet again, so let’s look at the next stage….
Courtship: This is where you establish the relationship and start to form strong opinions of each other. Can the franchisor give you what you need to build a new business, will they support you towards success? The way that you form those views is through further meetings with the franchisor. Importantly though you will also get to meet the extended ‘family’, these will be other employees of the franchisor and also existing franchisees of the system. Remember though, not every family lives in a world of perfect harmony so don’t be surprised to hear a few gripes about the franchisor from people you get to meet – take a balanced view. The courtship phase often lasts many weeks or even months depending on the complexity of your situation (you might be employed for example and not ready to make a decision just yet). Once you feel really comfortable with each other you may be ready for the next stage……
Engagement: You might call this the pre-nup! This is where you have decided that you want to be together and its time to look at the contract and the financials to make sure that you can live happily ever after once you get ‘married’. Take your time and consult a qualified franchise lawyer on the contract as it is important to get this right as the parameters you agree now will form the backbone of your long-term relationship. Now for the big day….
Wedding Day: There should be a lot of elation and emotion the day you sign your contract and it should be a great moment. Enjoy it as now the real work begins! In some systems what comes next, or more likely what doesn’t come next is a major let-down because your ‘partner’ has gone off and started to court more people when what you want to do is build the Happy Ever After. Let’s see how we can do this….
Living Together: You’re married and concerned that your partner may not be paying you enough attention. Don’t be, make sure you have good communications. Remember why you got married, you had a shared vision of (specifically) what you could do once you were married. You could tap into the support network, the product marketing, the system marketing and sales support. Lots of things! Nothing has changed and your ‘partner’ will be there for you but you have to make this work, not just them. Be proactive, be creative, be focused – this is your life and your business so don’t look for others to blame if it is not working. You have to make this work and I wish you every success in joining the 22,000+ other franchisees who are building a successful franchise business in the UK and who contribute over £13bn to the UK economy.
So, congratulations because you are a special person who has taken the step towards controlling your own destiny and joining the world of franchising.