5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying a Franchise

For someone with the financial capability, it might seem like a no-brainer to buy a franchise and capitalize on an opportunity. But the idea of stepping into the franchising world shouldn’t be taken lightly. Not only do you need knowledge of the current business model and the industry itself, but the self-awareness to recognize whether you’re the person for the job – or not.

Prior to jumping into the franchise world, ask yourself the following five questions:

Do I want to have a boss?

Yes, to an extent, owning a franchise means being a boss. But it also means having a boss. If independent decision-making is a top priority, franchising may not be for you. This is an obvious reality check, but an important one to really ponder. Especially if you’re used to running independent businesses, you need to estimate how content you will be as a franchise owner. It’s the kind of opportunity that can be an immense blessing for one person and a ball-and-chain for another. Franchising requires a team spirit and a willingness to co-create, not just dominate.

Do I know this brand well enough?

Every brand aims to look pristine and polished from the outside. But a franchisee needs to dig deeper than what customers see. You need to know the ins and outs of a brand so that there are no surprises once you’re all in. Look into the success of other franchises in your area, how long the brand itself has been around, what will be expected of you, your limitations, startup costs, and any other information you can get your hands on. Talk to people who have failed and people who have succeeded. When opening a franchise, there’s no such thing as being too informed about the franchiser and the general process of getting started.

Can I stand behind these products or services?

For an enterprising individual or a seasoned entrepreneur, it can be easy to jump in and take a risk on a business without forethought. But it’s important to consider how you currently feel about the offerings of this business. Knowing that you can’t change the foundational products and services based on your personal opinion or even market changes, is this something you can still fully get behind?

If there are a lot of fundamental things you would change about the products or services offered, remember that these things will largely be out of your control. It’s easier to hop on board with something you genuinely believe in rather than talking yourself into it.

Am I ready to take responsibility for the brand?

Again, there’s a big difference between independent business ownership and franchise ownership. On one hand, you have the huge advantage of brand recognition. You’re walking into a business that is already established, and may even be a household name. But you’re also taking on an equivalent amount of responsibility at the same time. People you don’t know are making decisions every day that can drastically impact the brand’s identity and public perception. You may never even meet some of these people, but you may have to defend their decisions to an extent. In this sense, you again have to remember to enter the world of franchising from a team-oriented perspective. For someone who loves branding, building a unique persona can be fulfilling, while another who hates it may be happy to skip the process and join an already established brand they respect. It’s all about self-awareness.

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What is the goal?

Simply put, what’s in this for you? What are you hoping to gain, how, and how long will it take? It’s true that you must relinquish control of the overall direction of the brand. But simultaneously, you need to have a personal vision intact. Going into a franchise without a clear vision for yourself will guarantee getting lost in the workload. There will be messes to clean up, but you’ll come out with more clarity and ease if you know the direction you’re headed in. Before even beginning, set goals and intentions. You’ll need a plan for during, and a plan for the end when you leave your role as a franchisee.

There is still risk involved in buying a franchise, and you’ll need to put in the hours just as any independent business owner would. The question is whether you are uniquely suited to franchise, or if your entrepreneurial efforts would be best funneled into another channel. Do your research, check in with your personal priorities, and if the water looks good, dive in!

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