What Kind of Franchise is Right for Me?

What Kind of Franchise is Right for Me?Congratulations on taking the first step toward owning your own business! A franchise can ease the transition to business ownership because most franchisors have already done a lot of the work, including creating a business plan, building brand name recognition and providing most or all of the marketing.

But with thousands of different franchise opportunities available - all requiring different investments of time, energy and money - you've definitely asked the right question.
Before you look at specific franchise opportunities, you need to decide which kind of franchise is right for you.

Ten questions to ask yourself:

1. In what industries do I have experience?
2. What are my passions or special interests?
3. What sorts of businesses suit my personality type?
4. What sorts of businesses suit my skill set?
5. What kind of personal commitment can I make?
6. What kind of financial commitment can I make?
7. Can I relocate?
8. Do I want to work from home or a brick-and-mortar location?
9. How much support do I need?
10. What are my long-term goals?

We suggest you answer each of these questions in writing to use as your guide as you explore your franchise opportunities. Now, let?s look at them one by one.

Prior experience.

Some franchise opportunities, such as education, computer services and restaurants require prior experience. Many others do not. Use experience requirements to narrow your search.

Your special interests.

Are you sick of your current job? Are you looking to do something you really love? Have you always wanted to work with animals, for example, Is owning a restaurant your dream? Use your personal interests to decide what kind of business will make you happy and narrow your search to those kinds of franchise opportunities.

Your personality type.

Do some serious self-analysis. Are you a people person? Can you be happy being in one place all day? Then dealing with people face to face all day in a retail franchise operation might suit you. Do you prefer building relationships with a few clients to selling widgets to many? Then consider consultative franchise opportunities that let you work from home. How much uncertainty can you live with? If a lot, then look at newer, less established franchise brands. If you absolutely hate risk, look at more established brands.

Your skill set.

Can you make cold calls? Were you born to sell? Then look at franchise opportunities that require strong sales skills. If not, look at destination franchises, such as retail stores, where the national marketing will bring customers to you. How good are you at managing people? Narrow your search to franchise opportunities that will make the best of your strengths.

Your personal commitment.

Are you willing to work 24/7 or just part-time? Are you looking to quit your current job or just supplement it? Do you want to work during the day or at night? Are you willing to spend most of your time in your car calling on clients, or would you be happier behind a retail counter meeting customers face to face? These are crucial facts to know about yourself before you even think of owning your own business!

Your financial commitment.

One of the key criteria for sorting out your best franchise opportunities is the amount you are willing to invest. The sooner you figure this out, the better. Keep in mind that financing your franchise may include more than just your initial investment of a one-time franchise fee. You may also be responsible for monthly royalty fees, operating expenses including salaries and benefits, inventory and insurance, plus real estate. These costs vary widely from franchisor to franchisor, as does financing assistance. Be sure to allow for living expenses until your business is profitable.

Relocation.

One way to look for franchise opportunities: by location. You can search opportunities only in your state, for example. Franchises that have reached saturation levels in your area may still be available if you are willing to move. So, decide early on if you need to stay where you are or can consider moving to have more options.

Working from home.

If you are a parent with children and are looking for a supplement to your family income, or plan to keep your current job and run your own business on the side, you may want to look only at home-based franchise opportunities.

Franchisor support.

How independent are you? Do you want to do everything yourself, including your bookkeeping, marketing and advertising? Or do you want to focus on your core business and have someone else do the rest? Some franchise opportunities are totally turnkey. In other words, they do the back-office work for you. Knowing that the cost of some of this support may be built into your franchise and royalty fees, decide up front how much support you will need to feel comfortable.

Your long-term goals.

Are you considering a franchise as semi-retirement? How long are you willing to wait to be profitable? Though the growth might be greater in a newer, less established franchise brand, you may not have the time or finances to wait for it to start making money. In that case, look only at more established franchise brands. If you?re looking for something to pass on to your children, stay with the brands with the longest track records. If you?re looking at this first franchise opportunity as a prelude to buying more, perhaps a newer brand will work for you, especially one that is willing to have multiple locations in the areas where you want to be.

What?s next?

After figuring where you stand on all of these issues, you should have some good guidelines to help you with your search. Explore your options. Ask questions. And you'll soon be on your way to achieving your dream of owning your own business.