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Choosing the right franchise for you

Franchising is a proven route for people looking at starting their own business, but choosing the right franchise requires the same research that starting any business does. Here are five hot tips on choosing the right franchise for you.

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Decide what you are prepared to commit to

Before you even consider the type of franchise you want, make some decisions about what you want to commit to. Do you want a full-time, hands-on franchise or are you looking for something more flexible to fit around your lifestyle?

How much do you want to pay for your franchise and what kind of returns are you looking for? Do you want to work in the business every day, or are you looking for a more hands-off managerial role?

Choose an industry you are passionate about

Setting up any new business requires commitment and dedication, so make sure the business is something you will enjoy doing for years to come. And if you are investing as a couple, be sure that you are both happy about the choices you make.

Research the market

Don't assume that, because the franchise is available, the industry is robust and has the potential for growth. Do your research and look at how the industry is likely to perform in the next five, ten and twenty years.

No industry is future-proof, but you need to assess how the business will perform in the long term, especially if you plan to sell it.

Choose your partner wisely

Look at the size of companies operating in the industry – too small and the support may not be there, too big and all the prime sites may have gone. Pick a company which has an established track record, as a business as well as a franchisor, and can offer you the level of support you will need on an ongoing basis. If possible, choose a British Franchise Association member, and check out any company you are considering with the BFA and Companies House.

Making the final decision

Before you sign on the dotted line, there are some very important checks to make. Make sure you visit several sites and visit without giving notice. Talk to as many franchisees as you can, not just those names supplied to you by the company.

Check the company's predicted financial results against actual franchise results of the most and least successful franchisees. Look on the internet for details of the company and its directors. Only when you are totally sure should you sign on the dotted line. 

About the author

Tony Urwin is a director of Franchise Development Services, a network of British Franchise Association Affiliate Consultants established in 1975, which gives businesses in the UK support in developing their business into a franchise. For more information please e-mail tony@fdsnorthern.com.

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