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What should I consider before buying a franchise?
You must make sure you adopt a cautious and logical approach to taking a franchise. Under no circumstances should you be rushed or pressurised. The issues you need to consider are complex and this short contribution will only touch the surface.
First, is owning a business right for you? It will mean pressures and sleepless nights, long hours, perhaps working at weekends and not taking holidays in the early years of your business. Is that for you and do you have the support of your family?
Next, you need to establish precisely what business activity interests you and, at the same time, establish what financial resources you have to fund the business. While banks are keen to lend to franchisees taking up a franchise with a well established and profitable franchisor, you will have to contribute some of your own funds and also potentially provide security for the loan the bank makes to you. There is no point in selecting a fast food franchise involving a shop fit costing many hundreds of thousands of pounds if you don’t have the financial resources to fund it.
Finally, when you have established your desired business area, investigate all the franchisors in that sector. Try to find out as much as you possibly can about the franchisor from the franchisor’s existing franchisees - you should be provided with a full list.
John Pratt is senior partner at specialist franchise firm Hamilton Pratt and has advised franchisors for over 25 years.
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