Mark Holland, managing director of Bodystreet UK, shares his top tips
With numerous franchises in a variety of price ranges to choose from and dozens of websites and information packages to sift through, finding the right business opportunity is no easy task.
To lend a helping hand, here are my top tips to help you increase your confidence and chances of success when considering franchise opportunities:
Define what you wish to achieve
When embarking on any new venture, it’s helpful to have a clear vision of what you want to achieve.
Do you want to take an entrepreneurial step in your career, make money, be your own boss or have more spare time? By figuring out your actual goals, you’ll be able to determine what franchise model is a good fit for you and will help you achieve those goals.
You should identify what the primary driver is. Once you’ve worked this out, you’ll need to consider what you enjoy doing. Do you like working in an office? Or would you prefer a business that involves physical labour? Would you be good at recruiting, training and managing employees or would you prefer to work on your own?
The answers to these questions will help you figure out ways you can incorporate what you enjoy doing into your business goals and plan. For me, it was important to find a franchise business I was passionate about. When I came across EMS equipment (electro muscles stimulation) just over two years ago, I was inspired by the concept of working out for just 20 minutes a week to keep in shape and wanted to help others achieve this.
My goal was to build a business where my personal beliefs could be reflected in the business I ran, a business where employees could do well, where clients could be nurtured and where my ethics would not be challenged. I found all of this in Bodystreet.
Do your homework
If you already have a franchise in mind, the next step is to find out as much as you can about the history of the business.
You’ll need to find out about the business and the owners, how long it has been established for and whether there’s a market for the service or products they offer. You will also need to consider any boom or bust cycles, plus any new legislation that may have a direct impact on the business.
In addition, you should look at the trading figures and how the economic climate has affected its trading history. This can sometimes be tricky, so remember it’s okay to ask the franchisor if there’s an area you don’t understand - and don’t be afraid to ask for more information if you’re not satisfied.
Another important factor to take into account is the churn rate - the percentage of franchisees that leave the franchise each year. Some franchisors are more focused on the recruitment of franchisees than they are on supporting their existing networks, which in turn will lead to a high churn rate.
Beware of those systems looking to grow quickly by recruiting large numbers of franchisees, as chances are they won’t have the infrastructure to train and support large numbers of new franchisees each year.
A successful business model should provide prospects with proof that new franchisees are well looked after and given ongoing support.
Company culture is important to business success, so you’ll need to consider whether the franchisors prioritise supporting the network and growing their revenue or if they’re only focused on bringing on new franchisees as others in the network leave.
A successful franchise business is based on a solid relationship between the franchisor, the support team and the franchisee. If you don’t like the people or the company culture, it’s probably not going to be any better once you have become a franchisee.
Make sure you get along with people who own and work in the business opportunity you’re investing in, as they will be the ones who you’ll need to turn to.
Remember, franchisors can often attempt to impress prospects with glossy brochures and slick presentations, but you’ll need to look beyond those and dig deeper.
Compare training and support systems
Ensure you’re happy with the support and training your franchisor provides, as this will be an essential part of your success.
At Bodystreet, we pride ourselves on having an unrivalled support system. Our comprehensive franchise package includes a tried and tested structure for finding, fitting out and launching your studio.
We also help franchisees find top quality people and deliver the marketing know-how to build membership quickly. This type of support is the ideal way of fast tracking your route to success and avoiding all the usual pitfalls associated with starting a new business - and this is what you should look out for when considering franchising opportunities.
Years of franchising experience has taught me that a successful business model should provide the right support from day one, meaning you can get your business up to speed and earn a healthy profit as soon as possible.
If this type of support isn’t available to you, problems will inevitably arise once you’ve started the business. Every successful franchisor should have a tried, tested and perfected business model. They should know what works and what doesn’t, so they can give you all the information and advice you need to get started and keep going successfully.
Evaluate your finances
Taking your capital into account will give you a realistic sense of what franchise opportunities are possible for your budget.
Starting on a shoestring budget can be very dangerous and often unrealistic - and is the most common reason for business failure. You should look for a business model that offers affordable start-up costs, as that way it will be easier to get started and begin generating profit.
Like any business, it can take some time before you hit the break-even point, so make sure you have enough money to live off while you find your feet.
At Bodystreet, we help you secure funding for your franchise, put you in touch with the right people at franchise friendly banks and help you with all the necessary business planning to assure you that it’s a viable opportunity.