How do you start looking for a franchise?Everybody will take a different route into the world of franchising. As franchising is not yet an integral part of our business culture (as it is in say the US or Australia), the concept is often discovered as part of a wider search for a business option. Often, this route into franchising as a potential option determines the shortlist process for the prospective franchisee. To generalise, there are the following options to help you start selecting a suitable opportunity:
Franchise Exhibitions: Traditionally, the franchise exhibitions have been a great way for franchisors to launch their opportunity, and to find prospective franchisees. Over time the value of these has changed, in that there are now fewer attendees at the exhibitions; but those prospective franchisees that do attend currently appear to be more likely to invest than before. In my opinion, franchise exhibitions are a great way for you to meet the people behind the brands that you have shortlisted through other methods, and a useful sanity check for you to see other brands when you are further down the franchise investment process. There are a number of franchise exhibitions in the UK, of which some are endorsed by the British Franchise Association – at these exhibitions, the exhibitors are either members of the BFA or accredited to a certain extent for the exhibition. At the other exhibitions, it would be worth doing your due diligence to ensure that you are buying into a reputable brand.
Magazines: There are a number of franchise magazines that showcase a range of franchise opportunities, both through case studies, directories and advertisements. As with every other method of shortlisting, make sure that you do your due diligence on the brands. It is also important to differentiate between business format franchises that are advertising in the magazines, and other business opportunities such as multi level marketing and direct selling schemes. Generally, a business format franchise will be higher investment, but will offer you much more support along the way.
Online: Finally, there are a number of franchise directories where you can search for franchise opportunities by sector or by investment level; and request information from the franchisor. Please bear in mind that many franchisors are inundated by “tick box tickers” who select an information request from every franchisor in their search, and as such the request is considered to be a colder request than perhaps a personal email or phone call. Having said that, the directories do give you a great chance to obtain information from a variety of franchisors to help you start narrowing down your selection.
The above is an extract from The Franchising Handbook, which is due for release later this year. Follow this link to pre-order and be one of the first to read it!