Making the decision to start your own business is always exciting but it can also easily become overwhelming, particularly when faced with the myriad of business opportunities and models within the growing franchise sector.
In my experience, most people that opt to start their own business will either select an opportunity in a sector they are interested in, one that they can make money out of, or simply out of necessity in order to make a living based on their current skill set and expertise.
It’s about more than the money
If you invest time and money in an opportunity merely to make money, more often than not, success and self-fulfilment will elude you. It is important to keep in mind at this stage that owning and running your own business involves many long hours of hard work, so enjoying what you do will be a key factor in determining the overall success of your business.
Related: Bringing the World Home
That said, while being passionate about what you do is important, just as important is assessing the viability of the sector and franchise you are considering opening. Rather than opting for the latest franchise fad, make sure your product or service has longevity and will remain profitable in future.
And while taking the franchise route is most certainly less risky, you will also need to be realistic about whether you will be happy operating as a franchisee according to a pre-determined business model and strict guidelines.
Are you someone who likes to do things their way and on their own terms? Then you need to make an honest decision about whether the franchise network with the accompanying loss of control and little room for individual initiative is the best option for you.
Top tips to ensuring you find the right franchise network fit
Combine your passion and skill set
- Determine your areas of expertise. Write down all your areas of expertise, or stipulate business skills and proficiencies that you are particularly good at.
- Write down all your interests or areas in which you would feel satisfied or comfortable in making a living or running a small franchise business.
- Try to describe your personality, and write down the types of businesses that you think might suit your personality.
- Familiarise yourself with the various sectors that make up the local franchise sector. Don’t dismiss any sector before investigating fully – you may miss out on some valuable hidden opportunities!
Research sustainability and demand for product
- After some introspection, select at least five franchise opportunities that you think might be suitable.
- Conduct some initial extensive research to establish the viability and sustainability of each franchise opportunity. Then eliminate the opportunities that appear to be least viable and that you are not comfortable with.
- Remember to check the credentials of each company. Companies that are members of the Franchise Association of South Africa (FASA) have to comply with a stringent code of ethics and therefore tend to be generally more transparent, reliable and credible operators.
- Decide on one or two potential opportunities and then comprehensively research the viability and sustainability of the individual business models.
Related: Expansion Readiness
Understand the detail of each operating model
- Make contact with the franchisors you are interested in pursuing and get a feel for the overall culture of the franchise and how realistic its sales and net profit projections really are.
- Determine the level of initial and ongoing realistic operational support and other benefits you as a franchisee will have access to.
- Be honest with yourself when it comes to the limitations placed on corporate image, product range and business processes. If you are not comfortable with the expectations, guidelines and limitations required by the franchisors, perhaps this particular model is not for you.
Remember you can never do too much homework.
Happy franchise hunting!