Here’s hoping 2016 is an amazing year! If you have been thinking about buying a franchise, make this the year that you actually do it. To that end, here are steps that you should take now to set yourself up for franchising success in the new year.
1. Ask Yourself Why You Want to Open a Franchise
I think a lot of people see owning a franchise as a bit glamorous. While there are plenty of perks to becoming a new franchisee, you do want to make sure you're getting into it for the right reasons. Are you looking to get away from a boss that you hate? If so, you may want to run away from a bad situation more than you want to run toward a new business opportunity.
Do you just want to make a ton of money? You might be in for a surprise if it’s difficult to turn a profit right away. And if you're not willing to do the work, you might be overwhelmed to find out how much work it actually takes to run a successful franchise.
If, after you do some deep soul searching you still want to open that franchise, proceed!
2. Get Your Finances in Order
Even if you are still months away from signing a franchise agreement, you still need to make sure that your finances are in a good place now to be an appealing option for franchisors later. That means your credit needs to be pretty stellar, and you should have money in the bank to pay for that up-front franchising fee.
Additionally, you will want money to cover expenses during the early months. You will have a lot of expenses to get set up, and with no guarantee of profit right away, you will need money in your account to ensure you can pay both your business expenses and your personal expenses.
If you think you might want to take out financing for your franchise, you still need to get everything in order now so that you are eligible for a loan with a great rate down the road.
3. Get Your Family on Board
It might not even occur to you to get your family’s buy-in when investing in a franchise, but they will be right in the thick of it with you on this journey, so it is really important that you have their support before you even begin the planning and researching process.
Your spouse should understand your desire to run your own business. Whether or not your spouse will be involved in the business is something you should discuss now. It may be important to you that your spouse continue to work at her job so that you have at least one guaranteed income during the lean months. On the other hand, many franchisees are husband and wife teams who save money by not hiring employees and do all of the work themselves. Figure out what is best for your relationship.
4. Create a Timeline
The more precise you are in setting your goal to start a franchise, the more likely you are to make it a reality. Create a timeline with the month you would like to open a franchise at the far end, and other milestones filled in between now and then. For example, set deadlines for:
Researching potential franchise brands
Applying for a bank loan
Touring locations you are interested in
Quitting your job
Having all of this mapped out on a calendar can give you a better sense of how much time you need to achieve each milestone. You wouldn't go out and buy a franchise tomorrow, so you want to make sure and allow yourself plenty of time to do your due diligence and get your bank account in shape for your business endeavor.
With a little planning and soul searching, you can ensure that 2016 will be the year that you become a happy franchise owner!
Susan Payton is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, a marketing firm specializing in content writing and social media management. She’s written three business books, including How to Get More Customers With Press Releases, and frequently blogs about small business and marketing on sites including Forbes, AllBusiness, The Marketing Eggspert Blog, and Tweak Your Biz. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.