The benefits of a good Franchise Consultant

Using a Franchise Consultant will increase the success of a business opportunity, advises Richard Holden of Lloyds TSB.

In Greek mythology, as a punishment from the gods, Sisyphus was made to roll a huge boulder up a hill and before he got to the top it would roll back down and he would have to start again throughout eternity.

Accordingly, pointless or interminable activities are often described as Sisyphean. I thought that I may have embarked on my own Sisyphean task after noticing, against expert advice, an increasing number of business owners who have chosen to develop their franchise model without the support of a reputable consultant.

While no doubt the task of educating people about the benefits of professional franchise support is endless, it certainly is not pointless.

If you have 20 years of experience and knowledge at a senior management level in well established and proven franchise brands, it may be possible to franchise a business without the guidance of an experienced consultant, however it probably wouldn’t be advisable. The old phrase ‘two heads are better than one’ springs to mind. Consultants will have assisted many brands to develop through franchising, so they will always be able to bring something to the table to help their clients deliver their plans.

The only thing more risky than not using a consultant is to use one who doesn’t adopt an ethical approach to franchising. But how easy is it to identify an experienced and reputable consultant from a rogue one? For someone who knows what to look for, it is relatively easy however, here’s where the British Franchise Association give you a big helping hand. It will only accredit consultants who can demonstrate a successful track record of franchising support and take up references with their clients. A full list of accredited Franchise Consultants is available on the website under the professional advice section.

Anyone looking to franchise their business should be seeking expert guidance to give them the best possible chance of success. A reputable Franchise Consultant will carry out a thorough feasibility study identifying whether your business is suitable to franchise. They will provide tailored franchise solutions to meet your requirements and offer practical advice and planning to help you meet your goals.

Every business is different, so a ‘one size fits all’ approach to franchising simply does not work.

Some rogue consultants claim that they will do 90 per cent of the work for you, while others claim to save you thousands of pounds on unnecessary costs. It is easy to see why these offers are so enticing, particularly in the current economic climate, when some reputable consultants quote three, four or even five times more. The truth is ‘you get what you pay for’ and you get little more than template documents and probable failure from rogue consultants. Another timeless phrase resonates: ‘if it sounds too good to be true then it probably is’.

Use the services of experienced British Franchise Association affiliated professionals. Get a letter from the consultant prior to engaging them setting out what they will offer you and an individual breakdown of costs for the entire process. Ask for references from their former clients and ensure that you follow them up. Meet with at least three consultants before deciding who is best suited to assist with the franchise development of your own business.