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Questions to ask before franchising your business

Making the decision to grow your business through franchising involves investment of both time and money and can prove costly to your brand and bank balance if you make a mistake. Here are five hot tips to help you decide if franchising is the future for your business.

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Have you got a product or service that the market needs and wants in the long-term?

There is no point in trying to franchise something which nobody is going to want in ten years, so if your business is in a declining industry, don't try to franchise.

Do you have a proven business system?

Franchising an idea is impossible – any potential franchisee will want to see that it works in the real world. The best franchisors use their own business as a model or develop a pilot product to make sure they get the process right before they launch a franchise operation.

Is your business profitable?

Bear in mind that people who buy franchises are investing thousands of pounds and will be looking for a return on that investment.

Don't expect people to settle for returns which they could earn by working full-time in a salaried post.

Is your brand suited to national expansion?

The brand must be strong and exclusive to sell your business nationwide. So Subway works well for a franchise, but John Taylor's Builders of Manchester won't.

Be prepared to invest in brand development to create something which people will want to buy into.

Are you committed to franchising?

Franchising isn't a get rich quick option which earns you money while you focus on the core business.

The franchise network will need ongoing support and investment and may demand a completely different set of skills from your existing business. Make sure you can make the commitment before you start the process.

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.

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