The Value of Experienced Franchise Consultants

When the market research was being carried out prior to the establishment of Franchise Development Services in 1980, Franchise Consultants were few and far between. Those owners of businesses, or the people with ideas that they thought could be Franchised, did their best, but joined the 80% failure rate that those endeavouring to Franchise their business suffered. Today, thanks to more experienced Franchise Consultants, Lawyers and other professional advisers being readily available the failure rate has been reduced to 40%.

So what separates those that succeed from those that fail? Often it is the calibre of the Franchise Consultants and Franchise Lawyers that are part of the think-tank and advisory team.

What many people do not realise when they embark upon their Franchise Development Programme is that there are several different ways in which a business can be Franchised. An experienced Franchise Consultant can not only recognise the best way to Franchise a business, but provide valuable advice and guidance in all of the sectors that are so critical in designing the business model for successful National and indeed International Franchise Development.

When the owner of a successful business or the CEO of a company decides to investigate Franchising they should call in the very best and most experienced Franchise Consultants that they can find. Some companies will even invest in two or three professional opinions from Franchise Consultants before they proceed. This provides them with the opportunity to experience the real value of the Franchise Consultant and to select their Franchise Consultant for long-term. Whilst there may be as many as 100 accountants, lawyers and consultants willing to provide advice on how to Franchise your business, there are probably no more than 10 quality and experienced Franchise Consultants in the UK.

Also carry out your own online research. The UK Franchise Directory which is published annually will give you the best possible overview of the market for this country. A preview is available online at www.thefranchisedirectory.net.

Visit your newsagent and pick up a copy of The Franchise Magazine and take out a subscription. Log onto the British Franchise Association website: www.british-franchise.org and get up to speed with who's who in the world of Franchising.

You should then spend some time investigating which Franchise Consultant and firm you would like to make contact with. They will either invite you to their office, or some may agree to visit with you in your own premises. If the latter, be prepared for a sales presentation. The most valuable asset that a Franchise Consultant can offer is experience. Therefore, ask for their complete list of clients, together with telephone numbers and emails so that you can take up references.

The ideal Consultant is one that will be able to assist you from conception through development and implementation. Before you meet with the consultant request information to be sent to you by post to read through to review their history and track record. When meeting with the consultant look for one with an independent and objective view who will add value to your envisaged Franchise Development Programme.

Ideally, the Franchise Consultant will have developed their own method of asking you questions and understanding your basic concept. They may even be able to offer you some initial advice and guidance during your first meeting. You should not only engage the consultant with whom you feel most comfortable, but one who has a considerable track record in helping a number of companies to successfully Franchise their business.

The Franchise Consultant should offer you the best advice and guidance based on practical experience and not theory. Your Franchise Consultant should have the ability to crystallise their thinking and provide you with precise advice and guidance as well as insights and directions based on a thorough analysis of your company as it is today and as it will be, as and when, you Franchise.

Should you be approaching an established company who specialises in providing advice and guidance to prospective, as well as established Franchisors and other sectors of the Franchise market, such as prospective Franchisees, your initial meeting may well take place with a consultant whose job it is to carry out a form of initial evaluation to ensure that it is worthwhile you engaging that company in the first instance. When such an opportunity is offered it is always advisable to attend the Consultant's offices, since you will be able to learn more by visiting them initially, than by them visiting your premises. Once that initial meeting has taken place you would then be recommended to choose the most appropriate and experienced Franchise Consultant in their team to suit your future goals and aspirations.

Here are some basic questions that you can ask:

  • How many years have they been involved in Franchising?
  • What is the range of services that they offer?
  • Can they handle long term involvement?
  • Which companies have they helped to Franchise?
  • What has been their track record?
  • With whom have they dealt with in the companies that they have helped to Franchise and would it be possible to talk to them?
  • Then you should obtain some guidelines in relation to timescales and budgets and Year 1 realistic expectations.