9 steps to finding the perfect franchise

Yes, there is a franchise out there for you, and here’s how to find it…

We often get asked ‘what’s the best franchise to buy?’. Well that’s an impossible question to answer because there are so many variables to consider.

For starters:

  • Your financial situation
  • Your personal situation
  • Your skills and personality
  • Your ambitions and goals

And that’s without even considering the variety of franchise brands available for you to choose from, and the attributes of each different brand.

But there is a way to find something that will suit you to a T – if you’re prepared to do the hard work that it takes to make a success of any franchise. The effort you put in now to match yourself with the dream business will be worth all the time and money you invest.

Take these steps to find your way through the maze of franchise options to the right one for you.

1. Work out what you want

This is about taking time to reflect on who you are. Why? Because you need to know your strengths and weaknesses, what your skill set is, how hard you want to work. That’s what the franchisor will want to know. That will be the first step in outlining what you need in a franchise.

Work out what you want for your family. Is a flexible lifestyle the aim? Perhaps you have a financial goal you want to meet. How much time will you need to spend in the business and away from family and friends to achieve this? Consider how realistic this is for you and if you and the family are prepared to make the sacrifices.

2. Research what’s involved in being a franchisee

Find out from a variety of independent sources just what’s involved in signing up to a franchise – there are legal and financial consequences and commitments so you need to have a good grasp of these.

The process might seem quite laborious, but understanding what’s required of you and of the franchisor will help in the elimination process – you only want to deal with business models that are above board, transparent, and responsible.

You can find advice through our website, the Franchise Council of Australia, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

3. Do a budget

Now you know you’re committed to the franchising concept, it’s time to work out how much you can afford to invest.

Seek information and advice on what you need to consider in evaluating your financial position, and how much risk you are prepared to take on.

Honesty is crucial here. If you are economical with the truth at this point, you're setting yourself up for failure. Working within your means will give you a better chance of success than overreaching yourself and getting caught without cash to trade, pay your fees, or the rent.

You can find yourself a franchise that will work for you at the right cost.

4. Set out your parameters for the search

Now it’s time to pull this all together. Create some must-have and must-avoid points; write down what your ideal franchise would provide you; note your maximum investment; highlight what you are prepared to compromise on; add any learnings you have gained from your research.

5. Research the brands

Now the search starts in earnest. Shortlist franchise systems, investigate the market, review the models. Do your research – speak to franchisees as well as the franchisors, find out what profile the brands have on social media.  

Find out if what the franchisor tells you matches franchisee experience. Are there issues that disturb you? It’s important to listen to any nagging doubts – they will only become louder and more persistent if you go ahead without getting them resolved.

6. Think with your head not your heart

You might love the brand but you need other aspects of the business to be aligned. This commitment will be long term and possibly a significant investment so avoid strong emotions that lead you into a non-viable option. 

7. Seek expert advice

Yes, it will cost, but getting advice from an accountant and lawyer on the business proposition makes perfect sense. You’d do this for a house purchase, right? Well, this is just as significant.

It pays to turn to experts in the field who understand how a franchise operates and can give you insights not available to a family lawyer or tax accountant.

8. Get funding

Most franchise buyers need to fund their purchase through a loan so if this is the case, you’ll need to present a commercially sensible case to the bank. Doing a business plan will help cement your ideas about the business. If the bank doesn't have confidence in your ability to take on this project, then take that on board and refine your search.

9. Take a breather – is this right for you?

It might be a great franchise – just not for you, right now. Turn back to your initial parameters and review how well this franchise matches the list. Remember why you want to take this leap. Remember, there’s always another franchise…

If you're committed – great, go ahead and sign up.

Buying a franchise is always a risk, and for many of us a leap of faith that we can run the business.

But getting it right can be a confidence booster and can change your future.