Considering Franchising Your Business?

Do you have a business that you think could be transformed into a successful franchise? Franchise Development Services Managing Director Professor Roy Seaman CFE offers his advice

When we were conducting market research prior to the establishment of Franchise Development Services in 1980, Franchise Consultants were few and far between. People who owned businesses or had ideas that they thought could be franchised did their best, but there was an 80 per cent failure rate suffered by those endeavouring to franchise their business at that time.

Today, thanks to the ready availability of more experienced Franchise Consultants, Lawyers and other professional advisers, the failure rate has been reduced to 40 per cent. So what separates those that succeed from those that fail?

Often it is the calibre of the Franchise Consultants and Franchise Lawyers that are part of the think-tank and advisory team. What many people do not realise when they embark upon their Franchise Development Programme is that there are several different ways in which a business can be franchised. An experienced Franchise Consultant can not only recognise the best way to franchise a business, but provide valuable advice and guidance in all of the sectors that are so critical in designing the business model for successful national, and indeed international, franchise development.

If you are the owner or CEO of a successful business seeking to investigate franchising, call in the very best and most experienced Franchise Consultants you can find. Some companies even invest in two or three professional opinions from Franchise Consultants before they proceed. This provides you with the opportunity to experience the real value of the Franchise Consultant and to select your Franchise Consultant for the long-term.

As well as engaging a Franchise Consultant, you must carry out your own research. There are many print and online resources which can assist - for example The Irish Franchise Directory is published annually and will give you the best Irish market.

Also, take out a subscription to Irish Franchise Magazine and visit the Irish Franchise Association website (www.irishfranchiseassociation.com) to get up to speed with who's who in the world of franchising.

You should then spend some time investigating which Franchise Consultant and firm you would like to make contact with. They will either invite you to their office or agree to visit with you at your own premises. If the latter, be prepared for a sales presentation. The most valuable asset that a Franchise Consultant can offer you is experience, so ask for a complete list of clients, together with telephone numbers and emails so that you can take up references.

The ideal Consultant is one that will be able to assist you from conception through development and implementation. Before you meet with the Consultant request information to be sent to you by post to read through to review their history and track record.

When meeting with the Consultant look for one with an independent and objective view who will add value to your envisaged Franchise Development Programme. Ideally, the Franchise Consultant will have developed their own method of asking you questions and understanding your basic concept. They may even be able to offer you some initial advice and guidance during your first meeting. You should not only engage the Consultant with whom you feel most comfortable, but one who has a considerable track record in helping a number of companies to successfully franchise their business.

The Franchise Consultant should offer you the best advice and guidance based on practical experience, not theory. Your Franchise Consultant should have the ability to crystallise their thinking and provide you with precise advice and guidance as well as insights and directions based on a thorough analysis of your company as it is today and as it will be as and when you franchise.

Should you approach an established Franchise Consultancy, your initial meeting may well take place with a consultant whose job it is to carry out a form of initial evaluation to ensure that it is worthwhile you engaging that company in the first instance. When such an opportunity is offered it is always advisable to attend the Consultant's offices, since you will be able to learn more by visiting them initially than by them visiting your premises. Once that initial meeting has taken place you would then be recommended to choose the most appropriate and experienced Franchise Consultant in their team to suit your future franchising goals and aspirations.

Basic Questions to Ask Franchise Consultants

  • How many years have you been involved in franchising?
  • What is the range of services you offer?
  • Can you handle long-term involvement?
  • Which companies have you helped to franchise?
  • What has been your track record?
  • With whom have you dealt with in the companies that you have helped to franchise, and would it be possible to talk to them?
  • Can you obtain some guidelines in relation to timescales, budgets and realistic expectations for Year One?

Company Profile

FDS has been established since 1981 providing a comprehensive range of services to the established and prospective franchisor and to franchise owner investors. FDS has assisted more than 500 companies with various aspects of their franchise development objectives, and more than 5,000 individuals to achieve their investment ambitions by owning and operating a franchise.

Today, FDS is a global brand with offices established in 10 countries across the UK, mainland Europe and the Middle East, and is a Full and Affiliate Member of the British Franchise Association and a Member of the International Franchise Association.