You've probably heard more than once that franchise...
You had a lot of great choices to choose from, and you’ve finally settled on the franchise you would like to start. That is a giant step to be sure, and one that now allows you to bring everything else into focus, but even so, it’s only the first of many needed before your new Tim Horton’s or Subway has its glorious grand opening.
Let’s run through a checklist of the most pressing needs you’ll have to address, and the best ways to go about doing so.
Your first goal is to acquire the financing to get your franchise ball rolling. While franchises are a far safer bet long-term than a completely new business, they also tend to require a greater initial investment. In the case of opening a new Tim Hortons, that investment can exceed $400,000. Without a hefty dose of collateral, or a track record of successfully launching and/or running businesses, your local bank is unlikely to hand over a cheque with that many zeroes on it.
So what’s a budding, but poor entrepreneur to do? Well in many cases, franchises intent on spreading their seed have set up their own internal financing programs to help potential franchise owners get started. Liberty Tax, which started in Canada in 1997, and now has 3,200 locations across Canada and the U.S is just one such franchise doing so. While such internal financing can limit returns initially, they’re a great option, and often the only option, for many franchisees.
Now that you’ve got your finances in order, it’s time to scout out potential sites for your franchise. There are several key factors to consider during this process, including the potential for customers and the amount of competition nearby. You’ll also need to decide whether to build your own store, or transform a pre-existing retail space into your chosen franchise. Naturally, the former comes with greater cost and timeframe.
Don’t skimp on researching potential sites during this period, as location truly is vital for many businesses. Consider how other businesses, similar or otherwise are faring in the area, and the future prospects for the surrounding area. Are you moving into a growing and thriving area, or one that has seen better days?
Now that you have your location, you can begin setting up your business. Depending on your chosen franchise, much of the design and layout choices may be largely out of your hands, which may be a good or bad thing depending on your nature. In most cases all of the equipment and design elements you need will be sold to you directly by the franchise, and you’ll simply be responsible for putting it all together; imagine if Ikea sold businesses in a box and you’ll get the idea.
For many businesses this will be the most time-consuming aspect of building the franchise, while for others (like the aforementioned Liberty Tax, it’s a relatively simple process of setting up a few desks and hooking up a few computers.
Nonetheless, keeping cutting-edge options in mind, in case implementing them is possible, can add a lot to make your franchise unique and successful.
With your franchise nearly ready to launch, the last step is to hire and train staff in preparation for opening day. This should be an exciting time for you, a chance to really put your vision for what your business will be like and how it will operate in place. While we won’t go too deeply into hiring practices, consider the overall dynamic of your team, and how they will function together in the working environment. You also want to focus on finding people who will be interested and capable of working with you for a long time.
You may also wish to consider hiring a diversity of people to give your business many faces that others can relate to, including men and women of different nationalities. Ultimately, it’s up to you, and you need to be completely comfortable with who you hire, that they’ll be the right fit for you and your customers, and will represent yourself, your business, and your franchise well.