If one of your career goals is to start a business, buying a small franchise business is a great way to achieve this goal without starting from scratch. And becoming a franchisee offers a variety of opportunities depending on your business interests – more than 300 different industries have embraced the franchise business model with a new franchise location opening every 8 minutes in the U.S.
Are you considering buying a small franchise business? Here are several steps you should take along the way.
Do Your Research
Before making the final decision to buy a small franchise business, it’s important to complete extensive research. First, think about which industry or industries you’re most interested in. If you’re passionate about fitness, you might consider buying a fitness center franchise or if you have a background in healthcare, a home health franchise might be just what you’re looking for. With hundreds of potential industries, create a list of your favorite choices before researching further.
Once you’ve decided on the industry, some other factors to take into consideration during the research phase – and questions to ask the franchisor – include:
- How well known is each franchise business you’re considering? Will the franchise already have brand recognition in your local area?
- How much total investment will the franchise business require up front? Do you have the funds available or will you require financing?
- What are the monthly/annual costs of keeping the franchise up and running?
- What support does the franchisor provide to franchisees in terms of marketing collateral, business plans and training guides? Are these materials readily available or will you have to do a lot of the planning on your own?
- How many employees do franchisees typically hire at each location?
Choose the Right Locations
Selecting the right location for your small franchise business is critical to overall business success. Each time you weigh the pros and cons of a location for your small franchise business, make sure you answer the following questions:
- How many of your competitors – either other franchisors from the same franchise system or different brands entirely – are already established near a location you’re considering?
- What are the demographics of the local area? Are they a match for your target audience?
- What are the traffic patterns like – is the location off the beaten path, in a high traffic area or convenient for potential customers to get to?
- Will you have to build from scratch or is a building up for lease that will only require minor updates?
Hire Your Best Team
Once your franchisor has confirmed the average headcount for each franchise location, it’s time to start recruiting and hiring. The first employees you hire in time for opening day can make or break your franchise, as they’re representative of your brand as you launch in the local community. Write compelling job descriptions for each role to attract top candidates and get them excited about working for your franchise. Once the applications start rolling in, follow an easily repeatable hiring process to make your hiring more efficient while creating the best candidate experience possible.
Some key steps to an effective hiring process include regularly reviewing applicants, completing multiple rounds of interviews, administering candidate skills tests, completing reference and background checks, and distributing onboarding materials before they even arrive for day one. Completing all steps of the process ahead of each hire ensures you hire the best team possible while maintaining compliance.
Implement a Training Program
Starting with opening day, the first few weeks at a new franchise location can be stressful, and an effective training program can make the launch run much smoother. Tap into corporate training materials from the franchisor if they’re available, and complete any other training steps you think are necessary. Another way to iron out any kinks ahead of opening day is to complete a dry run or even a soft opening with employees’ family and friends before officially opening to the public. If you notice any bumps in the soft opening, this offers the opportunity to reiterate any training before your franchise is open to actual customers. Once you know what works best with your training program, repeat the same training steps each time you hire a new employee.
While there are many steps involved in small franchise business success, hiring the right team can help you increase efficiency, customer satisfaction and profitability in the long run. Interested in more franchise hiring tips? Download our eBook, Staffing Up For Success: The Four Things to do When Hiring for Your New Franchise Location, below.