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Managing your work-life balance

If you are considering buying a franchise, it is always worthwhile to research different kinds of businesses.

A proven system
Another benefit of becoming part of a franchise system is gaining access to proven systems that tackle all aspects of running the business. These systems have been designed and tested over time to ensure franchisees can focus on the actions that are most likely to result in their success. Having guidelines to follow gives you a better idea of the direction in which to take your business and allows you to avoid mistakes that are common among first-time business owners.

A franchise concept should evolve based on the experiences of the franchisor and earlier franchisees. A model that finds success in a variety of markets and with a range of business tactics is more likely to achieve profitability than an untested idea would be.

Reduced risk
Access to an established brand can make or break a fledgling business. Mature franchise systems offer an opportunity for entrepreneurs to jump into a business with a brand-loyal customer base right from the start, with far less of financial risk than starting a business from scratch.

Of course, while an established system can provide a huge boost for new business owners, franchisees still have to put in the work of engaging with their local community, regardless of the strength of the brand. They and their employees will need to ensure their customers’ experiences are positive if they are to encourage repeat business, customer loyalty and referrals.

In other words, you cannot rely solely on the franchisor’s brand.  While it is far more likely than an untested name to bring in new customers, at least once or twice, it is then up to you as the franchisee to solidify your base by properly implementing the business model and coaching your staff to provide a consistently positive customer experience. You can only deliver on your brand’s promises and expectations if you run the business well enough.

Choosing the right franchise
After you have opted for franchise ownership, it is time to pick the right business for you. To do so, you should take certain steps to make sure you can find a good fit.

Choosing the wrong franchise can lead to problems that cause your venture to fail. Entrepreneurs who do their due diligence properly can align their strengths, weaknesses and interests with the industry or specific business that best matches those characteristics. They will be far more likely to achieve significant success and longevity than those who do not.

It may be surprising, but most people skip the following, critically important steps:

Reflect and evaluate
Before deciding on which franchise to buy, consider not only what you bring to the business in terms of your skills, but also what you want to get out of the business and what your new lifestyle will be like.

First, create a list of your strengths, your weaknesses, things you like doing and things you hate doing. Be completely honest. Next, ask other people who know you well about what they think are your greatest strengths and weaknesses. Their outside perspective can reveal important factors you may not have otherwise realized or considered.

A franchise consultant can help you find opportunities you may not have known about otherwise, let alone considered.

Research different options
While many people already have an idea of the type of franchise they would like to own, it is always worthwhile to research different kinds of businesses. Beyond the specific industry, there are key factors to consider, like the initial cost of the franchise and the lifestyle it will afford you. Treat this step as an education about how different businesses work, so you can start to identify previously unknown concepts to which you are well-suited.

Talk to a professional
This is where a knowledgeable consultant can be your best resource. Many entrepreneurs are surprised to learn certain types of franchises they would never have otherwise considered, without professional assistance, fit their criteria perfectly.

Indeed, the vast majority of franchise consultants’ clients who purchase a business end up choosing one they had not originally considered. You should go into the process with an open mind, because you never know where your journey may take you.

Just like first-time homebuyers seeking the advice of a real estate agent for the largest investment they have ever made, so too should prospective first-time franchisees seek the help of experts in the field. An experienced consultant will help you review your skills, determine whether or not franchise ownerships is right for you, refine your search, focus on the right options and align the results for you. Most consultants get paid by the franchisors, so this is an easy service for you to take advantage of.

With more options than ever, franchise ownership is a proven way to take control of your career and create the lifestyle you want. Welcome to the new world of work-life control!

The Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis (CANCEA), a research and data firm, recently completed its inaugural franchise forecast, presenting an outlook of the franchise sector’s impact on the broader economy.

In 2018, the value of the Canadian franchise sector is expected to grow by 2.76 per cent or $2.66 billion, increasing its contributions to the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) to $99 billion. Total franchise-related employment is anticipated to grow by 0.74 per cent to a total of 1.86 million jobs.

The accommodation industry is predicted to experience the strongest franchising performance in 2018. It is projected to increase its contributions to GDP by 3.83 per cent, 1.4 times greater than the national average, and increase employment by 1.54 per cent, twice the national average.

Ontario has the largest number of franchised establishments, adding 263 in 2018 for a total of 37,277, representing growth of 0.71 per cent. The highest rate of growth, however, is expected in Saskatchewan, where the number of franchises may increase by 0.84 per cent.

Gary Prenevost is president of franchise business consultancy FranNet for Southern Ontario and Eastern Canada. For more information, contact him at gprenevost@frannet.com.

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