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FRANCHISE ADVICE


"My priority was to ensure that the business was well established with a good, long-term demand and a growing customer base, had a stable fra nchise network and a long- term plan for development"


high or too low. He also wanted to be sure that I would exploit the area to its fullest potential. My franchisor directed me to the


banks that are keen on lending to franchisees – Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds and Natwest, have specialist franchise departments, all staffed by experienced people who understand the franchise industry and can provide invaluable input to your decision-making process. The bank I chose, as I was already a customer, asked for the offer document I had been given, the legal agreement and my detailed business plan. To make sure that I was credit


worthy and there were no nasty surprises I checked my credit rating which you can easily do through companies such as Experian Credit Checker or Clearscore. The fi rst year was critical in establishing my new business, my time could have been consumed by the day-to-day minutiae of running the business – but I was careful not to lose sight of the big picture – keeping a close eye on cashfl ow, ensuring


that I got paid within terms by my customers, striving to get the best price for supplies and using suppliers’ credit terms sensibly. Importantly too, I constantly


monitored performance against my plan and met regularly with the Franchise Manager so that I could get a critical assessment of my area’s progress against others. My best friend was my accountant who could look into the business from the outside and be objectively critical if necessary and ensure that any adjustments to the plan are made. Friends told me how lucky I was to


have found a great franchise business, how lucky I was to be successful, to be my own boss. Little did they know that luck is not part of it – it is taking care, carrying out due diligence, asking the right questions, and listening very carefully to the


answers. And then working hard to build what will be a valuable asset if, and when, you decide to retire. Good luck with your search – make full use of the exhibition, visit as many franchises as you can, go to as many seminars as you have time for, but above all let your head rule your heart, do your due diligence, take your time, get professionals to advise you, enjoy the process. 


RICHARD LANGRICK is a consultant at Ashtons Franchise Consulting (who are exhibiting on Stand L50)


BUSINESSFRANCHISE.COM 31


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