Seven tips for a successful franchise

Franchising provides a great opportunity for you to take on a ready-made business model and prove your entrepreneurial skills. Here are seven tips for prospective franchisees.

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10th February 2009 at 9:10 am

 1. Is a franchise a good option? – 18,000 people in the UK would say yes

Many people aspire to start their own business and purchasing a franchise can be a great way to take the plunge. There are currently over 18,000 people in the UK who are operating a franchise and interest continues to grow in the concept as a flexible business start-up option. With a franchise, what you put in really is what you get out, so dedication, self-motivation and willingness to work hard are the main perquisites for any prospective franchise owner.

2. Taking the plunge?  Then choose wisely

For anyone thinking of investing in a franchise, I would say choose wisely.

Consider taking a franchise within a well known and established network, that way you know that the service and franchise model you are following is tried and tested. With a franchise you can have the freedom that comes from being your own boss, but with the backing and support of a large established network behind you.

Find out from the franchisor what future plans they have for the business, as when you’re in a competitive industry you need to know you are with a franchisor who has their finger on the pulse. If they are not proactive and prepared to move with the times and looking to the future, then you could quickly end up being left behind.

3. What are you getting for your money? – read the small print

When investing in a franchise there are a number of keys questions and pieces of information you need to establish before you sign on the dotted line. Make sure you know what you are getting and what rights your franchise will give you.

Do you have exclusive rights to the area in which you will operate? How long will your franchise last? What options do you have to renew? What support are you being offered to start and what continuing support is available? What is the initial fee you will need to pay and exactly what does it give you? What revenue can you typical make and what other costs will you incur while operating it?

4. What’s your exit strategy? – ask the question

The options available for franchisees who decide they do not wish to continue with a franchise can vary greatly, so its vital to know what routes you have available to you when taking on a franchise. It may be that you need to leave a franchise due to relocation or ill health, so you need to be aware of what happens if you want to sell on your franchise, and what return you can expect for any value you have grown in the business.

5. Up and running? – then be the best

If you are currently operating a franchise, but aren’t hitting the revenue levels you aspire to, then begin by taking an honest look at the service you offer and invest in training for any areas of operation in which you are weak.

With the current feelings of unease in the economy, many people are now closely watching every penny they spend and are being more selective about who they spend money with, so businesses need to make sure they are on top of their game.

Taking a step back and making an honest evaluation of the way you work can be difficult for any business, but it could also be the difference between survival and failure.

The advice I have given all of my franchisees is that they need to look at how they are operating and the service they are providing. Using the recession as a catalyst for improvement will lead to even more added benefits for the customer, and increased satisfaction can only mean increased bookings.

6. Want lasting success? Never forget the importance of marketing.

If your business is doing well and you’re run off your feet then it can be easy to become complacent about marketing. But in my experience, there will undoubtedly be a time when custom may dip and if you have let your marketing activity slip, then your may find yourself back at square one. Promoting your services and growing a customer base takes time, so it’s vital you dedicate time to marketing throughout both the busier and quieter times, to keep up the momentum.

7. Keen to grow? – then support other franchisees

The original idea of forming a co-operative certainly isn’t new, indeed the concept dates back to 1816, but the timing is now perfect for a modern day equivalent within the franchising industry.

There is great benefit in having a franchise fraternity which works together as a galvanised unit. By supporting each other through ‘inter-trading’ – using the products, services and retail outlets of their fellow franchisees throughout the UK, the franchise sector as a whole can be strengthened.

Some of the best new ideas are old ideas revisited and with a co-operative there is nothing to lose but much trade to gain – from each other. Many franchisees may not even realise which other brands are in fact franchise operations.

Taking it a step further, franchisees may consider signing up to a scheme to receive regular discounts, offers or coupons from other franchise networks, further encouraging the co-operative principle.

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Rik Hellewell

Rik Hellewell is the founder of Ovenu, the most successful professional oven-valeting franchise, operating from a network of over 100 franchisees across the UK, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. For more details visit www.ovenu.com. Rik is also partner in the new www.useafranchise.com initiative. A website which aims to encourage cooperation among franchisees. http://www.ovenu.co.uk

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  1. Emily says:

    I think research is one of the main factors before you get into a franchise business, would like to recommend this site http://www.franchisesformoms.com
    You can find Work at Home Franchises and a whole lot of resources and Information on Financing Options, Avoiding Franchise Scams, Common Mistakes, Success Rates, useful information and advice for women and moms to help you start a Franchise Business.

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