Victoria Sharp (FMAAT), Managing Director of The Avanti Group (UK) Franchise Ltd, explains how to find the right franchise for you
You’ve decided you want to take on a franchise, but you don’t know where to start. Here are my top tips on how to find the right franchise for you, including what to look out for as you go through the process:
Do your research
It does not matter where you have identified your potential franchise opportunity, you alone are solely responsible for the due diligence before you invest.
Start by reading the website and the franchisee Prospectus, to find out important details about the franchise company, as well as the initial fees, investment and obligations.
Attend Discovery Events or 1-2- 1 meetings to really understand what is provided to you and expected of you.
Location, location, location
One of the toughest, and most important decisions a franchisee will make is choosing a location for their new business.
You’ll need to understand your target market and the local business community. Consider details like traffic patterns, parking, nearby stores, local competitors and check with the franchisor whether you’ll be guaranteed a protected territory (ie, no other franchisee in the same trade can open within a certain radius).
Specialist solicitor consultation
You should consult an independent solicitor, preferably one who specialises in franchise law. They should review your Franchise Agreement, identify any potential red flags and advise you on your rights.
Given the size of the investment you’ll be making, it’s prudent to pay for a professional legal advice at the beginning.
Does the franchise have professional accreditations?
Is the business accredited with the British Franchise Association (bfa)? This is a mark of quality for ethical franchisors, who are assessed against a strong code of ethics.
Do a cost/benefit analysis
Make an old fashioned list of pros and cons. Drawing a line down the centre of a piece of paper, on one side write the benefits, eg established brand, proven market, industry experience, training and support.
On the other side, list the costs and liabilities, including the ongoing franchisee fee, and see if that highlights areas for consideration, further investigation or helps you to make the decision to go ahead.
The core qualities of a great franchisee
When you’ve decided on the best franchise for you, it’s now about showing how you can be a great franchisee. As an example, here’s what we look for in franchisees:
Approachability. Not all accountants are boring and grey and Avanti accountants break the mould with their friendly, colourful, jargonfree approach.
Our 15-point culture statement is at the core of our company and is at the centre of all we do. We want our franchisees to break the mould and make a difference to the businesses they work with, instead of simply crunching the numbers.
Excellent judgement. It goes without saying that as bookkeepers and/or accountants our franchisees should possess excellent judgement skills. However, working from a proven model doesn’t mean they can’t take calculated risks.
The Avanti Group (UK) Franchise Ltd is here to support our franchisees and provide them with all the tools they need for success, but we also want them to seek out opportunities and use the tools, combined with their own judgement, to grow their businesses.
Ethics. As an accountant, franchisees will be aware of professional ethics, but it’s important to us that they are ethical in how they run their business too.
We want our franchisees to ensure that communication with clients and suppliers is clear and not shrouded in technical jargon. Our franchisees should buy into the ethics of The Avanti Group (UK) Franchise Ltd and work closely with the franchisor to ensure best practice.
You have a flair for business, some relevant skills or experience in the sector and the desire to set up on your own. One of the biggest reasons for choosing a franchise rather than starting up your own brand is the extensive support you receive from your franchisor.
So how will the franchisor you choose to work with support you as you grow and develop your business? Will they allow you to enjoy the freedom and flexibility of running your own business with the security of a proven business model, established brand and a team of experts to support you?
For example, as an Avanti Bookkeeping or Tax Accountant franchisee we offer a clear road map to a successful business, tried and tested systems and processes, ready-made marketing material and the full backing of our 20 years’ accountancy and business experience.
As we’ve built the Avanti name on progress, plain speaking and absolute clarity, here’s what our franchisees get from us:
Their own business, backed by a leading name in accountancy. We know what it takes to build a successful business and we share these skills and the knowledge with our franchisees.
Our training, ongoing support, proven business model and development package help our franchisees grow into successful business leaders. We’re a family business and we look after our new arrivals. Each franchisee has a territory area and full support and mentoring from us and their fellow franchisees.
The freedom and flexibility to develop their business their way, so it fits with their lifestyle.
We want our franchisees to be free to work the way they want. They can build a team of staff while they manage the business strategy or service clients themselves. Their business, their choice.
The chance to build their position as a central and influential member of the local business community.
Our franchisees have an exclusive licence to operate our successful business networking events in their territory. So they can connect with like-minded business people, grow their contacts, support and nurture their local community, drive sales through visibility and add further value to their businesses.
Avanti offers a distinctive, highly recognised and already established brand. Avanti franchisees benefit from a proven model of success, along with bespoke accounting systems, marketing support, training, ongoing business support and a unique opportunity to launch a business networking group within their territories.
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