Visiting franchise exhibitions is a great way for prospective franchisees to learn more about what may be their next career step. Exhibitions offer a wide range of information from a variety of different sources. It is important for you to be able to get the most out of the exhibitions you visit and the time you have to spend there.
Potential Franchise Businesses
Exhibitions will have a large amount of franchises exhibiting and it is important you make time to see the ones you are most interested in. Do your research ahead of time and find out who is going to be there, what stand number they are on, and consider the questions you want answered. Franchisors will also be handing out brochures throughout the day. Many people opt to take as many brochures as possible and browse through them at their own leisure. But remember: the opportunity to speak to the franchisors at the exhibitions is a unique one so take the time to speak to the people you are most eager to meet. Some franchisors will be happy to book you in for a meeting at the exhibition, so if you’re pushed for time make sure you speak to the franchisor to see what they can arrange. Exhibitions are also a fantastic opportunity to meet current franchisees. They will be there to speak to you to give a clear understanding about what it’s like to be a franchisee.
Seminars and Workshops
Throughout the day, there will be a number of seminars and workshops going on that will offer impartial advice for potential franchisees. Most exhibitions will provide you with a timetable of events so make sure you have a look at what’s on. Not everything will be relevant but there will be something for everyone. Many exhibitions are held over 2 days, with some seminars being repeated on the second day. Before you arrive at the exhibition, make sure you know which seminars you want to listen to, where they will be and anything you may want to ask the speaker. The presenters will all be experts in their field but all seminars will range in topics. So consider hearing from the franchisors, franchisees and independent franchise experts.
Meetings can be arranged to speak to banks, lawyers, financial professionals and business advisors whilst at the exhibition. These may need to be booked ahead of time, so make sure you check on the exhibition website. These meetings can be invaluable and can provide you with impartial advice and best practises for moving forward in your franchise journey. The advisors can set you up with who to talk to, what to do and where to go in order to secure the next steps in the franchise process.
From over 900 franchises to choose from in the UK, deciding which one is right for you can be a challenging task. Ensuring you thoroughly research your opportunities before making your final decision is one of the most important steps in the investment process.
Here are ten important questions you can ask the franchisor in order to establish if it’s the right franchise for you.
1. How long have you been in franchising?
If the franchise has been running for a number of years, the concept is tried and tested. However, success can be measured in a number of ways; we recommend establishing the growth of the business within the previous five years at least.
2. How much is the initial set up and what do I get in return for the franchise fee?
One of the common mistakes made when buying a business is not establishing the total outlay. The most important thing to establish here is what the franchise package includes. Does the package allow you to launch the business? If the business requires a shopfront, is the fitting included in the price? You need to make sure you know what you are getting for your money.
3. How much working capital do I need?
When trying to establish what the total outlay is, always consider your personal expense. If a franchisor advises you initial set up fee is all you need then consider running a mile! It will take a little time to get you trained and to set the business up. You want to make sure you have enough working capital to keep you going before you really start bringing the profits in.
4. Is the franchise business seasonal?
This is a very common mistake investors do not consider. Seasonal business can not only have negative impact on the finance, but also job satisfaction. Some people can very quickly lose interest in the business by not being active all year long. For others, it allows for more flexibility. Make sure you know how the business runs and whether that suits you.
5. How often is the operations manual updated?
All franchisors should have an operations manual, but printing 1000’s of pages and giving it to you to read is not really practical in the long run. Furthermore best practice is always evolving and the manual will need to be updated constantly. Ask your franchisor about the operations manual and how it works. You will want to ensure the business is developing as times change, but is still proven to work. A good franchisors will also take into consideration any thoughts you may have about developing the operations. If they like the idea, they may test it to see if it works and roll it out to the company if it is successful.
6. Who provides the training and what does the training cover? Is there future training available?
The reason one probably invests in a franchise is due to the fact that it is a proven concept. However, only a comprehensive training program will get you in shape to practice the concept. You should try to establish if the training covers all elements of the business you’re looking to invest in and is it documented. This is also an opportunity to find out how long the initial training is. Commonly, training is for less than 6 weeks. But if it is any longer, most franchisors will have it written in the contract. Keep in mind that the time spent during initial training will take a toll on your working capital.
7. What help will I receive in local advertising and promotion?
One of the signs of a good franchisor is how much support is available and marketing is perhaps the most important element of it. However, you should try to establish if the franchisor has the business structure or personal help to offer support. As a new business, you will need support in promoting your services to your territory.
8. What exclusive rights do I get?
It is critical in the franchise industry that multiple franchisees are not operating in the same area; otherwise you end up with competing with the same brand. Furthermore, consider other aspects such as online orders.
9. What continuing support do you provide after the business has commenced?
Cost is the biggest killer for business and supporting your business can cost lot of money. Good franchisors generally take care of the support as much as possible and gets the franchisees to focus on selling. Focus on long terms supports for your business processes when trying to establish an answer to this question.
10. Can I talk to current franchisees?
If you even have to ask a franchisor to speak to the franchisee you should be concerned. If the franchisor hesitates to give you contact details of active franchisees, then you should walk away from the investment. It is important to meet people who were once in your position, and it will give you the chance to see how the franchise works from their prospective.
Do you often find yourself thinking about running your own business but you’re not sure if now is the right time? Consider these points and see if you’re ready to invest in a franchise.
1. You want to work for yourself but not by yourself
Franchising is an excellent option for going into business for yourself but having the support and guidance of a proven system behind you. Your franchisor will provide you with training, skills and the knowledge you will need to get the business running successfully. You will have a vested interest in the business, and rather than working to please the manager, you’ll be working to make yourself proud. As a franchisee you will also play a part in the business’ decisions and have a say in future plans.
2. You’re financially ready
Becoming a franchisee is an investment and the financials should not be taken lightly. Franchising can cost a lot of money and it’s important you consider all your options. Do your homework and have a plan for meeting all of the financial requirements both upfront and ongoing. Make sure you speak to your potential franchisor about the support that’s available to you as well.
3. You’ve got the mind-set of a franchisee
As with all business, as a franchisee you will have your ups and downs. There will be challenges and setbacks which you will need to face head-on. You will need to have the get-up-and-go attitude that will get you through these trials and make your business a success. If you are ready for the challenge, then it may be time to pick up the phone or take our Two-Minute Franchise Matching survey.
4. You’re getting all the right advice
Even if you haven’t picked the franchise system for you yet, it is important to hear advice from all areas. This includes the franchisor, franchisees, and experts from places such as the British Franchise Association. Visiting exhibitions and discovery days can be an excellent way of gathering information and learning all you need to know about franchising. We also have a free eBook available for prospective franchisees to download with top tips and best advice on how to find the right franchise for you. Download your copy by clicking here.
5. Your family is on board
Buying a business is a both a financial investment and a personal investment. Many franchisors will encourage you to bring your partner, friend or family member along with you on a discovery day so that you can have a trusted second opinion to hear. It will be beneficial for you to have your family encouraging and supporting you during your franchising venture as this is make the business-ownership process a lot easier.
If you are considering becoming a franchisee, make sure to check out all of our Franchise Tips for best advice.