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Franchise Advice There’s nothing like a face-to-face


encounter to gauge the culture and expectations of a company, and also how it fi ts in with what you seek to gain from franchising and your working style and personality. Here are some tips for getting the most from your day:


Make a wishlist You may not achieve all your heart’s desires through franchising, but – if you can identify some of the main work-life factors that are important to you, and that will be affected by your decision – you stand a decent chance! Think about a wide variety of considerations that will affect you. Working from home; employing/ managing staff; spending time working with the public; or children or animals; working outdoors or in an offi ce, short- and long-term plans for your professional and personal life, will all infl uence where your franchising journey will take you.


Pace Yourself It can be a potentially long day, especially if you are a serious inquirer and have travelled far. Equipped with a show guide or fl oor plan, take the fi rst fi ve minutes of your visit to jot down who you want to see and in what order if possible. Some stands may be busier than others at different times, so be prepared to return to an exhibitor in order to have your questions answered, also…


I


f you’ve recently decided to investigate the wealth of possibilities that the world of franchising has to offer, you will have likely done an amount of online research, as well as picking up this magazine.


Whilst these are the best places to start, the logical next step to move things forward is to go along to a reputable franchise exhibition. Visiting an exhibition and meeting


franchisors and their representatives in the fl esh will introduce the human element to your research. As franchise consultant Peter Williams


says: “Bear in mind that exhibitors have spent a lot of time and effort in preparing to meet visitors and will provide lots of information and answer questions. A few minutes’ dialogue will enable the all- important fi rst impression to be gained, establish what is on offer (including availability of the area you have in mind) and determine whether additional exploration could be worthwhile.”


Prepare your questions! You do not need to be prepared with a list of interrogations as long as your arm. You can of course wait and see what enquiries occur to you spontaneously on the day! But you will, however, have a much better chance of leaving the event with a strong idea of what franchises fi t the bill if you get plenty of questions answered. There may not be time to have all your queries resolved, but it is worth talking to as many franchisors and, crucially any franchisees in attendance, as you can.


Make contacts A good franchisor should have representatives on the stand to give you contact details to get in touch at a later date if you feel you want to take your inquiry further or you think of anything else you need to know. Additionally, they should be able to give you some idea of who to contact in your area, or of any forthcoming discovery days. Collect business cards and contact details for anyone representing a franchise that you have an interest in. It’s an equally good time to put a name to a face and press the fl esh.


Preparation in advance will help you to make the best possible impression for what might become one of the best professional relationships you ever develop.


Or seek some help There are plentiful advisory centres, career clinics and seminars to attend if you need some guidance. Career management clinics will help you evaluate your strengths, weaknesses and ambitions realistically and guide you towards a clear career plan in franchising. These sessions are often held on a fi rst-come-fi rst-served basis, so if you think that you will benefi t from this service, go along fairly early and check out availability of appointments. Also investigate and make enquiries at franchise support stands – banks, solicitors, advice centres and the bfa. If you are a serious potential investor, you are doubtless going to need fi nancial and legal advice and the help of industry professionals.


“There’s nothing like the face-to-face experience to gauge the culture and expectations of a company”


About fi nance… Know what minimum and maximum investment level you are considering and make sure that it is a realistic one – express your interest to franchises you genuinely feel an affi nity with. You do not have to provide every detail of your fi nancial plans at this stage but it will be of enormous help to get a sense from the franchisor as to what sort of fi nancial commitment they are looking for – and what you can expect to receive for it.


Take your time! It is understandable that you may wish to make a considered decision and it is one that should not be rushed over. Make sure you have had your questions answered, either at the exhibition or by follow-up, consider your options carefully, and remember, it takes – on average – six months from making the decision to join a franchise to setting up in business, so things needn’t happen overnight. And in the meantime, there are several good, reputable, bfa-accredited exhibitions across the country throughout the year. For full details of all events see www.franchiseinfo.co.uk. 


April 2012 | Businessfranchise.com | 33


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