How to…Get started

You’ve already identified your franchise of choice; you’ve quizzed the franchisor, you’ve heard all the right answers. Here Jamie Brown reveals what you need to get started.

Financing

Everyone wants to start their own business, though the majority will ignore their dream due to the lack of funding they have or can secure for the project. Funding for a franchise is available to you through a number of different avenues, though it’s not always in the most obvious places – your local bank, Government grants and loans and even specific franchise industry funding businesses. All lenders have specific requirements that have to be understood and met. You will have to find out which lender is right for you and this will all depend on the investment you will need for you to really get started.

As a potential franchise owner, it is vital to secure a loan with the terms and repayments in your favour. These would include: the required amount, low interest charges and the best repayment terms. If you are lucky enough to have a willing friend or family member to help you with funding, then this can be a massive help and cut some cost that would be spent on the loan. When getting funding from a bank to start a new business, their typical response will probably be for you to provide a guarantee as collateral. This will normally be in the form of your home, which tends to be the favourite for those looking for funding for a franchise business. However if you don’t want to secure funding with the money in your home, you can use the value of other assets you might own, like insurance policies, shares and stocks. The advantages of setting up a franchise is that it’s a proven model with a larger probability of success compared to starting a new business.

Location location location

When opening any franchise you, must never underestimate the importance of the location. You need to be aware of the area demographic and understand how it will interact with your brand. The franchisor will help you with this, but you will be expected to bring the majority of the knowledge about identifying the location that will bring the highest demand. You have to be aware of where customers are likely to go when looking for your service or product. You’re a retail brand and your clients want you to be located in a high street or a shopping mall, not on a roundabout on the way out. You will have to evaluate this against the prices of rent and the cost of refurbishing the unit. More important notes to remember, even after you’ve found your ideal location are: you will have to get the landlord or lettings agent to agree to your brand being run from their location, which isn’t a problem for the well known brands, but they can be difficult to persuade if they don’t know your brand.

Reputation of your business via employees

Every business strives for a good reputation and this is no different in the franchising world. The fact that people recognise your brand doesn’t mean that they trust or like the services you’re providing. It’s up to you to find the employees that match the company ethics of good work, quality service and professionalism. Its vital that you have people on board who want to achieve this as they are the face of your business. This will also help you in the long term; if you find the right staff members from the beginning this will set a benchmark to other staff members of what is expected. Whether it a new business or a global multi-national company with 1,000’s of workers, it’s vital that you find the right ones for your business’ needs. So take your time over the recruitment process to ensure lasting success.

Opening your doors for business

You have been through your checklist over and over, all your financing is in order and you’ve chosen the perfect location. It is time to take the final step and open your doors for business. This is when the hard work begins; while its ok to give yourself some down time, its vital that in the early stages you set the tone and start working. Many people can maintain enthusiasm when there is a clear mission objective but struggle when the franchisor stops telling them what to do every day. Opening for business is one thing but you have to keep motivated and stay on top of what you want to achieve.