Franchising can offer a great business opportunity, but there are many different kinds of franchising models and business structures, and so many different brands and concepts. How do you know what's right for you?
Begin your research by conducting a thorough and honest internal audit of yourself. Look at how you like to operate. Analyze your strengths and weaknesses. Review the things that make you tick, and the things that tick you off. Do you like to be in charge and calling the shots, or do you like to delegate? Do you like to be behind a counter or desk all day, or do you prefer being out in the field working one on one with customers and potential customers? This is just the tip of the iceberg for the kinds of questions you should be asking yourself. Give this some serious thought. The worst thing you can do is prematurely choose a franchise concept you will be unhappy working in day after day.
Now, armed with a general idea of what you think you'd like to do, regularly read every franchise-related publication (and website) you can get your hands on. Talk to friends and acquaintances who have been in franchising. And don't be afraid to ask the franchise owner down the street for their take on what it's like to be a franchisee. You'll want to process and evaluate all of this information with trusted friends and advisors.
At this stage in the game, many prospects turn to franchise brokers or consultants. These professionals do come with strings attached and are not the answer for every prospect. Brokers essentially work much like real estate agents. They can help you find the ideal franchise for your budget. Brokers can help you determine what brands and concepts would be a good fit for you based on your strengths, weaknesses, and interests.
For example, if you have strong sales skills and a demonstrated history of being able to manage yourself, you may not need a higher-priced retail franchise to succeed. You might just be able to leverage your sales and self-management skills and purchase a home-based or mobile franchise. Brokers and consultants are especially valuable to anyone new to franchising.
Of course, these professionals don't represent or have knowledge of every brand and concept out there, but the good ones will be knowledgeable about the industry in general and about specific brands or industries. They can be a good place for you to turn. Be aware that franchise brokers generally represent a finite list of brands that they are compensated for representing. Nevertheless, brokers can be another tool in your franchise selection arsenal.
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