Category: Uncategorized

How can a franchisor assist struggling franchisees

In the current economic downturn, all franchisors are certainly going to experience an increase in franchisees who are struggling to make a profit. Franchisees that are battling are certainly a risk to your brand.

Struggling franchisees pose an external risk to your brand because:

The public sees a brand as a whole and does not identify that a franchised business is an independently owned and operated business;
One outlet is a reflection of your entire network, so a standardised experience is expected, therefore if there is a negative interaction there will be a negative connotation to your brand as a whole; and
In the age of viral social media content, a negative customer engagement has the potential to cause rapid brand damage.
Similarly, struggling franchisees pose an internal risk to your organisation because:

They will not blame themselves and will turn the blame to you as the franchisor when their business is not performing well;
A struggling franchisee can quickly spread negativity throughout your network;

You as the franchisor can be in a detrimental position, if a struggling franchisee defaults on payments to key third parties that you have relationships with e.g.: landlords, finance institutions, suppliers etc.; and
Failure to pay you the agreed franchise fees can cripple the support structure you need to offer to struggling franchisees especially
What can a franchisor do to assist a franchisee who is then struggling?

Firstly it is absolutely imperative that franchisors have a look at themselves to honestly assess whether they have the business model and support structure in place to give each franchisee the best chance of making a success of their business. This would include reviewing whether a franchisor has:

A proven, replicable business model for the franchisees to replicate.
A fair and balance fee structure which makes the business viable for both franchisor and franchisee.
A realistic cash flow projection to ensure franchisee is adequately capitalised from the outset.

Strong systems and procedures in place.
A viable and sustainable country development plan in place.
Site and territory selection criteria.

An up to date, accessible and relevant franchise package in place (operations and procedures manual, disclosure document and franchise agreement).
Comprehensive initial and ongoing franchisee training programmes in place.
Defined franchisee profile with a strong recruitment and selection process.
Strong franchisee support culture and infrastructure.
Despite the above tools for success being in place, a franchisor will still likely always have franchisees who are not making the grade, that is the very nature of business.

The way in which a franchisor can look to assist a stressed franchisee is to implement an “intensive care programme” to assist. This would include:

Identifying at an early stage that the franchisee is at risk through regular field visit support and intensive business assessment including benchmarking
Identifying where the problem lies within the franchisee’s business, this is the most important step of the process and can be achieved by:
Determining how involved the franchisee is in the day to day operations of the business;

Intensive financial analysis (benchmarking, sales analysis, cash flow analysis etc.);
Intensive operational analysis;
Staff satisfaction surveys;

Customer satisfaction surveys; and
Assessment as to whether the franchisee’s area or market has changed, leading to a decline in demand for the product or service offering.
Making recommendations for corrective measures to be implemented to resolve the problem in the business.

Where necessary, assisting the franchisee to implement corrective measures with specialists.
Review performance of corrective measures.
Some don’ts when looking to assist a struggling franchisee:

Never allow a franchisee a royalty holiday or break. If you have developed a sustainable franchise business model, it is likely that the problem in the franchisee’s business is not the royalties they are paying a franchisor, but rather some other issue within their business. Therefore, providing a royalty break is not treating the problem at hand and is a “quick-fix”. For further information on this, see article

Similarly, a struggling franchisee should never cut back on their marketing efforts as a way of reducing expenses, again it is likely that the marketing expense is not the sole problem within a business and furthermore, we believe marketing should be viewed as an investment, not an expense.
In conclusion, it is clear that non-performing and loss-making franchisees are a reality for franchisors. Strong franchisors are built on the basis of keeping strong, healthy relationships with franchisees, therefore it is in the best interest of the franchisor to do their utmost best to assist a franchisee that may be struggling.

Retaining Franchise Employees

Retaining great employees is the key to success in franchising, or in any business for that matter. This is especially true in retail businesses, where your company is represented by the people who deal directly with your customers.

Hiring has its own challenges, but once employees are trained and performing well, your goal is to keep them. After all, you’ve spent the time to find them and train them, and don’t want to go through that again if you don’t have to. The best way to do that is to make them feel valued, recognized for their performance, and provide them with a working environment that’s better than the competition’s. Easier said than done, but definitely doable. Just look to the best franchise organizations to see how it’s done.

Employee retention begins with the hiring process, moves on to training, and that’s where the rubber meets the road. A perceived slight, a negative word from a manager or co-worker, a denied request for a day off can send an employee out the door, never to be seen again (except to pick up their final paycheck). But one of the most common reasons employees leave a job is ignorance: feeling ignored by their manager or employer; or more commonly, ignorance on the part of the franchisee or their managers about what they should do to retain employees!

Employment expert Mel Kleiman, president of Humetrics, has an employee retention system he calls “The Five Firsts,” which he calls “a simple system to retain top talent.”

First hour on the job. Kleiman calls this the “most important time you will ever spend with your new hire.” He says this is not the time for completing paperwork or going over rules and regulations. Instead, it’s the time to build a relationship, establish expectations, and make a great first, and lasting, impression.

End of first day. He recommends spending the last 15 minutes of a new hire’s first day debriefing, answering questions, and ensuring that they leave with a positive attitude about your company.

End of first week. The goals of this meeting are to reinforce the new employee’s decision to join the company, as well as to get the newcomer’s feedback and to ask them for job applicant referrals.

First paycheck. This is an opportune time for giving the new hire specific information about their performance so far. Says Kleiman, “Tying this conversation to the presentation of the first paycheck underlines the importance of your feedback and strengthens the employee’s relationship with you, the job, and the company.”

End of first 30 days. This, says Kleiman, is a “stop-loss strategy,” a time to evaluate how you and your team have performed in bringing the new employee up to speed, as well as a time to reevaluate the person’s overall performance and to learn from them about their experience to date.

One franchisee recently instituted a five-month reorientation program for his hourly staff, saying “We realized that we were losing a disproportionate percentage of folks at six months, and that those who stay beyond six months stay for a significant time.” Again, retaining trained, high-performing employees is critical for success.

Other tips from successful franchisees include the following:

Use the franchisor’s training program, augmented by your own specific needs, values, and culture.
Make your expectations clear from the outset, and be consistent.
Measure performance, which results in accountability and a sense of fairness.
Meet frequently with managers to educate them about employee retention practices.
Be flexible with scheduling for hourly employees as much as possible to support employees’ lifestyle needs; provide 2 consecutive days off a week.
Have fun; create a team environment people enjoy being part of.

Hold an annual event for all employees, such as a company picnic, bowling party, or other family-oriented gathering.
Have someone who specializes in employee training (human resources, director of training, etc.).

Provide a clear path for career advancement (management training), as well as personal growth (continuing education, GED, ESL, etc.) for hourly employees; consider outside training and coaching for managers.
Use technology (computer-based training, DVDs, online) to save time and provide uniform, ongoing training.

Treat management like owners (and front-line employees as well) by providing bonuses based on performance or attendance. Show them how their actions affect your business. Cconsider opening the books (at least partially).
Provide generous benefits if you can afford to, especially health care.

Treat employees the way they want, not how you think they want to be treated.
Perhaps most important, there is a strong body of research, as well as expert opinion, that recognition, the idea that how an employee feels they are treated is more important than all other factors in their decision to remain — even money. Awards, gifts, and “employee of the month” campaigns can go a long way to motivate and retain employees.

Says one franchisee with more than 1,000 employees, “We keep them through how we treat them.”

8 Things to Ask Before Investing in a Pet Franchise

You know that the pet industry generates $86 billion, that you’d love nothing more than to work with animals, and that you want to be your own boss. Owning a pet franchise will enable you to meld your love of animals with your entrepreneurial spirit, but before you invest in one, be sure to ask the following questions.

What kind of support will you receive? Although as a pet franchise owner you will be provided with a proven successful business model, your ability to make it profitable for you will depend on many factors including the pet franchise model you select, how much work you put into your business as well as the type of support your franchisor provides. Ideally your franchisor will help you implement personalized business and marketing strategies, be available to answer any questions you may have, and provide you with initial and ongoing training, helpful technology, and sales support.

What is the culture like? Every pet franchise has its own culture and you’ll want to be comfortable with it. Speaking with the franchisor and existing franchisees within a franchise system combined with reviewing the franchisor’s franchisee satisfaction survey results if they have them, will provide you many insights into a franchise’s culture.

Are the franchisees satisfied? The overall attitude and satisfaction of franchisees of any pet franchise you are considering is an important factor. Be sure to speak with at least half a dozen franchisees and to ask the franchisor if they can provide you with an independent franchisee satisfaction report. Every franchise company will have some level of discontent, but speaking with many different franchisees will show if it is something the majority of franchisees are experiencing, which would be a big red flag, or if just a handful are. Depending on how long the pet franchise concept you are considering has been around it’s a good idea to speak with franchisees who have owned their franchise for different lengths of time such as ones who have owned theirs for less than two years, two to five years, for five to 10 years, and more than 10 years.

What is the initial investment range? The initial investment range of a pet franchise business is the estimated costs you will incur starting it. It typically includes the franchise fee, which is a one-time licensing fee paid for the initial term of the franchise agreement, training costs, equipment, marketing materials, and build-out costs for businesses with a physical location. The initial investment is always given as a range since there are many variables that can affect it including local market conditions, the size of the location, the size of the territory, etc. These initial costs are outlined in Item 7 of the Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD), which any franchise you are interested in will provide you with if they feel you are a good fit. The FDD outlines what the franchisor will do for you, what they will expect of you, financial information, information about franchise performance, contact information for current franchisees, and much more. Every pet franchise will also require additional capital investment over time. These costs depend on the type of business you are investing in.

What is the required net worth? Many pet franchise companies have minimum net worth requirements for their franchisee candidates that can be significantly higher than the initial investment itself. Higher net worth requirements are typically tied to your ability to be approved for financing to cover the initial investment, working capital, and other additional capital should you need it.

Has the franchise been involved in litigation? Item 3 of the FDD outlines the details of any current litigation the franchise company is facing or bringing against a franchisee or other parties. If the franchisor has an extensive history of litigation involving franchisees this is a red flag.

How profitable could you be? Pet franchise companies, like all franchise companies, are not required by law to disclose the financial performance of their franchise locations, but if they do provide unit-level performance data it will be listed in Item 19 of their FDD. Keep in mind that most numbers provided by franchise companies are typically gross revenue numbers, which don’t really provide you with any insight into the actual potential profitability of the business. Asking franchisees within pet franchise systems you are interested in about their typical expenses will help you estimate the potential profitability of the pet franchise you are considering. The best franchise companies disclose both gross and net numbers in their FDD, with averages for their entire system.

What is the franchise’s history of terminations and transfers? FDDs list changes in units over the past three years. This includes new units opened and those that didn’t renew their franchise agreement, ceased operating for other business reasons, franchise units that were terminated by the franchisor (meaning that the franchise agreement was legally terminated and the franchisee is no longer part of the system), as well as units that were transferred to other franchisees. While reputable franchisors occasionally terminate the franchise agreement of an individual who is significantly under performing and/or not in compliance with the agreement, a high rate of terminations or transfers within a certain time frame should be considered as a red flag.

You’ll be able to get the answers to the questions above by asking any pet franchisors you are interested in to fill in the blanks, carefully reviewing their FDDs, and speaking with their franchisees. Although conducting this level of due diligence may seem daunting, it is essential that you do so in order to increase your chances of investing in a pet franchise that will meet your objectives.

Youth in Franchising

Youth in franchising? Millennials at the helm? Can younger people with relatively little business experience (or money) learn to manage a successful franchise operation?

A combination of several factors says yes: prospective franchisees looking to make a living in a tough economy, franchisors seeking to expand their system in an era of tight credit, and the aging out of a generation of Baby Boomer franchisees. This confluence of economics and demographics has led to a rise in the numbers of younger people signing on as franchisees.

First, the demographics of youth. Members of Generation X, born about 1965 to 1976, hardly qualify as “youth.” So let’s focus on the next group, Generation Y, also known as the Millennials, born about 1977 to 1990. Millennials also are a big group, dwarfing Gen X and about the same size (70-plus million) as the post-Second World War Baby Boomer generation (born 1946 to 1964).

Millennials account for more than 25 percent of the adult population in the U.S. And the reality of the oldest of the Baby Boomers retiring is a scary prospect for franchisors, who are working to fill that gap by developing recruitment and training programs aimed at Millennials.

For many in this group, the job market has been dismal in the past decade, just as they came of age and looked to begin their working careers. With employment prospects dimmer than in previous generations, Millennials have been forced to seek alternatives to traditional corporate careers. Many have moved back home with their parents, while others have chosen to attend graduate school to bolster their credentials in the hope that their employment prospects will improve by the time they’re done.

Others are eager to get started in business. They do the math and realize that the price of graduate school and the price of becoming a franchisee are not that different — and that franchising pays a lot better than grad school, an important factor when you’re facing the prospect of paying off student loans.

Most college grads and twenty-somethings don’t have the financial resources for a franchise fee, opening costs, and surviving the first crucial years. Nor do they have the business experience or the people and life management skills required to succeed in business, which is another reason many will choose franchising over starting out in business for themselves. What they do have in spades, however, is energy, enthusiasm, an eagerness to learn, fresh ideas, and perhaps most important, parents and relatives willing to finance their entry into a franchised business.

Some of these parents are the same Boomers who are preparing to retire. Those who are franchisees might want to turn the business over to their offspring, and can offer training, support, and mentorship as their children learn the business. Others are seeking to give their children a good start in business and realize that the franchise model provides that training and support, and that mentoring can come from experienced franchisees within the system. However, those whose retirement savings were severely reduced by the Great Recession must not only work longer (which means fewer opportunities for younger people), they also must find ways to make more money for their Golden Years. Investing in a franchise through their children is one way to do that.

These youthful franchisees appear to have much going for them, and franchisors report their success rate is about on par with older first-time franchisees. Some assets youthfulness has going for it in franchising are a willingness to listen and learn; energy and passion; the ability to work long hours to build their business; fewer preconceived ideas about business than older people have (i.e., a greater willingness to follow a system); and an entrepreneurial spirit that has been trained to collaborate more than previous generations. Many have started businesses in high school and college, and are better prepared to manage than franchisors might expect. Some have done so with friends, and team up with them as franchisees to share the financial and management burdens of operating a franchise.

Younger people also have grown up with technology, an increasingly important part of managing and marketing a business today. Their affinity for computers is a given, and social media is a part of their everyday lives. And for franchise concepts or brands that employ teenagers (fast food, especially), their closeness in age can help bridge the “generation gaps” so many older franchisees struggle to overcome in their hiring and retention practices.

On the down side, youth is a time of exploration, and franchise agreements run five years or more. Can young people commit for that time when their lives are still taking shape? What if they fall in love with someone across the country, or even in another country? What if they turn out to be incapable of managing people, doing the books, or marketing? While this can occur with older franchisees, at least those prospects have more of a track record, have done their exploring, and are looking to settle down and settle in for the long haul.

Young people most likely to succeed as franchisees will enlist experienced, older advisors, whether their parents and family, other franchisees, or by hiring or outsourcing or partnering with professionals who can make up for their youth and inexperience. After all, while enthusiasm can go a long way, it’s nice to know where you’re going. Enlisting the aid and support of people who have already “been there, done that” can help youthful franchisees not only determine where they’re going, but provide them with the operational, financial, and management tools and skills they need to get there.

6 Reasons Home Services Franchises Are Booming

Outsourcing work that needs to be done on their homes, whether it be on the outside or inside, is something many time pressed Americans are doing. They realize that doing so ends up enabling them to use their limited time to do more fulfilling things such as seeing family and friends or enjoying a hobby.

Why Are Home Services in Such Demand?
Home services, which is made up of a variety of verticals including plumbing, landscaping, pool service, painting, decorating, cleaning, home repair, and more, is currently a $600 billion market. Its growth is being driven by a variety of factors including:

The growth of online and mobile home services booking services. Today’s Americans want to be able to quickly find and compare home service providers online.
Home services are always needed. Things regularly get damaged, wear out, or break around a home. There are also ongoing services that are routinely needed such as house cleaning and landscaping.
The fact that many home services maintain or can increase a home’s value and make homeowners feel proud of their home, also helps drive demand for home services.

Americans have less time to spare. ABC News reported that, ‘not only are Americans working longer hours than at any time since statistics have been kept, but now they are also working longer than anyone else in the industrialized world. And while workers in other countries have been seeing their hours cut back by legislation focused on preventing work from infringing on private life, Americans have been going in the other direction.’

Duel-family income homes, two-parent households in which both parents work full time is at 46%. Two parents working equates to more money to spend on home maintenance and improvements. The median household income for families with two full-time working parents is $102,400, compared to $55,000 for households where the dad is employed full-time and the mom is not employed.

There are 76 million maturing Baby Boomers. They control 70% of all disposable income in the United States and 45% have a disposable household income of $100,000. Many are placing an increasing priority on enjoying life, which includes outsourcing the burden of maintaining their homes.

Why Invest in a Home Services Franchise?
You could start a home services business on your own. But it will likely take you longer to achieve success than it would if you choose to invest in a home services franchise. This is because the franchisor has developed a proven system that you can simply execute after going through their training program and with their ongoing support.

You’ll receive your franchisor’s support in a variety of crucial areas including training and operating procedures as well as marketing. You’ll be in business for yourself, but not by yourself.

To increase your chances of being successful as a home services franchise, it’s important to adhere to the franchisor’s established guidelines. If you are someone who has a difficult time following a system established by someone else, franchising is likely not a good fit for you.

Another advantage of investing in a home services franchise is that you do not necessarily have to have the technical skills the business requires in order to run it successfully. That’s because the franchisor will teach them to you or the business model enables you to outsource the actual work to others. In fact, most franchisors prefer to bring entrepreneurs on board who have a good business head on their shoulders as well as great interpersonal skills so they can grow a team who does the actual work that they manage.

Your Dream Career Can Be Yours
The demand for home services is strong and will continue to be. It’s a market with consistent need.

Not all home services franchise concepts are created equal. Brand recognition, startup costs, market demand for the product or service, franchise fees, potential revenue, and contract provisions are just some of the factors you should carefully consider.

Sorting through the variety of home services franchise opportunities that are available to identify which one is most likely to meet your financial and personal objectives may initially seem overwhelming. Doing extensive due diligence including reviewing the Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) and talking to franchisees of franchises you are interested in, however, helps you narrow your focus and greatly increases your chances of selecting the ideal franchise for you.

A home is one of the most valuable assets for most families. By helping families to maintain and improve their homes as a home services franchisee, you will be saving them time while giving them peace of mind.

What Franchisees Need to Do Before Interviewing with a Franchisor

Franchisees who are serious about buying a franchise already know that they’ll need to undergo an interview with a franchisor before they can sign the franchise agreement and make the investment. Much like any interview, franchisees know they can’t walk in unprepared. They have to do their homework in advance and that typically means being ready to answer questions that the franchisor will have about them as well as ask their own questions about the franchise.

Beyond asking questions about one another’s backgrounds and what a typical day at a franchise looks like, what else needs to happen during the interview? What other topics should you discuss together? How can you come across as competent and ready to buy the franchise and take on a role of a lifetime? Here are a few other areas of due diligence you can prepare for outside of the Q&A.

Have a thorough understanding of challenges in the industry
Your franchise investment, ideally, should be in an industry you have researched in-depth. You might even have experience working in it, or a passion for its offerings and services. Beyond focusing on all the good things, you should also be familiar with challenges facing franchise owners and in the industry in general.

For example, consider the doughnut chain Dunkin’ Donuts. It’s a familiar brand name with a sizeable consumer base that has carved out a space in the breakfast world. But, consumer tastes are constantly shifting elements. Food trends and even health issues can lead to less of a demand for the product which could prove to present issues to a franchisee looking to invest in its franchise. You don’t necessarily need to have an immediate answer as to how you can address potential issues, but you should be well-versed in the industry’s existing challenges.

Receive a copy of and read the Franchise Disclosure Document
By now, you should have a copy of the franchisor’s Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) which potential franchisees generally receive after the franchisor has received their application and is considering it. Do not, under any circumstance, sign contracts or pay money to the franchisor before you have received this document.

While key portions of the FDD’s 23 items are outlined on the Federal Trade Commission’s website, don’t assume that you can waltz into your interview after skimming the copy or relying on what you see online to get you through. Read your copy carefully and speak with a trusted legal professional or advisor if there’s an item you don’t understand.

Analyze your financial situation
Many entrepreneurs start their own business based off an original product or service they can offer the public that fulfills their needs. As such, there are several avenues of funding available for them like venture capital or grants. Franchises operate a little differently when it comes to finding financing options, so it’s a good idea to look at your finances and see if you have more than the bare minimum to cover the business expenses. Make an effort to double your numbers before interviewing with the franchisor. The FDD states that most franchisors calculate three months’ worth of expenses, but entrepreneurship is always risky and prone to unexpected costs. Aim for six months, instead.

Meet with current franchisees
Item 20 in the FDD includes a section about the contact information for current and former franchisees. Try to contact both types and see if you can meet up and talk together. By asking questions to existing franchisees, you’ll get a better idea of what being in the business is like and their overall satisfaction in working with the franchisor. Keep in mind that previous owners may not be able to speak with you if they signed a confidentiality agreement. However, if they did not, you may be able to explore more through a frank discussion together as to why they left and any issues they had with their franchise.

Consult a legal professional
I can’t legally tell you what the best decision to make is as a franchise owner. Even if you feel comfortable with all of the research you’ve done and meetings you’ve had, it’s always a good idea to work alongside a legal professional before signing the dotted line of an agreement. They can assist you with any questions you may have and help you make sense of any other concerns.

How to Start a Business With No Money

Lack of funds does not have to be a hindrance to your dream of owning your own business. There are ways to start a business with little or no start-up capital. But it will take skills, hard work, and some solid marketing knowledge. Even if you are interested in pursuing a franchise opportunity there are ways to realize your dream when your bank account is less than adequate.

Why you need money
Startup fees vary from business to business. Some companies require office or retail space, others you can get off the ground from your kitchen table. Certain businesses demand that you have permits and other licenses, all of which have fees attached. You also may need equipment, computers, and funds for other operating expenses such as marketing to spread the word about your new endeavor. And of course, you must pay for staff since you can’t run your business all on your own.

Of course, buying into a franchise system comes with expenses as well, including everything mentioned above. A franchise fee must be paid to operate under the franchisor’s name in addition to ongoing royalty fees.

Ways to save funds
To get your business off the ground with as little capital as possible, you have some options. First, determine if any of the needs that demand money listed above can be reduced. Maybe you can operate without office space or forego hiring help in the early stages.

Another option is to start out small and build up your business. Think of this as a warm up period. If you had hopes of offering multiple services, say you are doing a lawn maintenance business and you want to offer mowing, fertilizing and other yard work, you start by only mowing until you start to have some revenue coming in.

Finding financing for your dream
If your goal is to own your own franchise, you won’t simply be able to bootstrap your business in the same way that you could if you were going out on your own. But the upside of having to pay a bit more for the rights to a franchise system is you have their proven system to back you up and guide you to making your business a success.

The majority of franchisors offer financing for prospective franchisees. Start by investigating what your options are for financial assistance from the franchisor. It’s likely that each franchisor will differ slightly in what they do. Some may offer a loan with a simple interest rate and no principal, but it has a balloon payment in five to 10 years. The franchisor may also have financing that only covers certain portions of your startup expenses, say the franchise fee or equipment. Some franchisors may also have relationships with equipment companies to lease you the necessary equipment.

The key to securing assistance from a franchisor or a bank loan is good credit and your ability to pass all of the other financial requirements. If the franchisor thinks you are a good bet to help them expand their business, they will most likely offer you financial assistance.

Other financing options
If the franchisor doesn’t come through in terms of financing, or if what they offer doesn’t cover all your needs, there are other ways to find the money for your business. From second mortgages or home equity lines to bank loans, from loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to veterans’ loans, there are several avenues you can pursue. Recruiting family and friends to lend capital is another option, as are crowdfunding, finding a partner who has ready money or borrowing from yourself against your retirement (otherwise known as Rollover for Business Startups [ROBS]).

If you do opt for financing outside of the franchisor, following these tips can help you secure the money you need:

Assess your financial situation and determine what you can afford to invest. Consider talking to a financial advisor to assist you.

Find a bank or lender that has experience not only with small businesses but also with franchises as well.

Explain your financial situation in full. Hiding information will not help you with a lender.

Complete all the necessary paperwork as fully and neatly as possible.

It is possible to start a business without a lot of capital. The key is perseverance and a willingness to explore every angle.

Pet store – 10 steps to opening own your franchise pet store

For some, owning and managing a pet store is a dream career. For some lucky franchisees, it’s a reality. If you’ve always wanted to run a business, the franchising system may be the answer. Here, we take a look at 10 of the most important steps you’ll need to consider before you open your own pet franchise.

Online pet store franchise?
There are various types of pet stores and an incredibly diverse array of pet franchises. Prospective franchisees are almost spoilt for choice. While this is most definitely a good thing, it does mean you’ll have to think about the specific type of pet store you want to own. Are you looking to get into retail or would you prefer to care for animals? Do you want to sell pet supplies or are you more interested in offering grooming services? These questions will allow you to narrow down your choices and give you a better idea of what your options are.

How much do you want to work?
Pet franchises often offer flexible work options, and franchisees will need to think long and hard about what type of business they want to own. Do you want to own a full-time franchise that’s profitable enough to support your entire family? Would you rather operate a part-time franchise that means you earn less but have a more flexible work schedule? Consider which is the best option for you and then begin looking for a franchise that suits your needs.

Examine your motivations
Whenever you begin a new business venture, it’s a good idea to take a step back and consider your motives. Are you in it for the money? Is it because it’s a rewarding line of work? Is it a personal passion project? There is no right or wrong answer in this regard, and all of these motivations can form a legitimate basis for starting a new business.

However, it is essential to distinguish between sustainable motivations and short-term whims. If your motives extend solely to a love of animals, you may want to consider other ways of fulfilling your urges. Starting a franchise is a long-term commitment that requires a great deal of dedication and determination. It should not be undertaken lightly.

Do your research
As we’ve already mentioned, the pet industry is vast and diverse. It’s also incredibly diverse. Franchisees will need to ensure that they perform thorough research and take an in-depth look at a select few franchises if they’re to fully understand what they’re getting themselves into.

Contact the franchisor
Prospective franchisees should contact all of the pet franchisors they’re considering applying to. It’s vital that franchisee open a dialogue with any franchisor they’re interested in signing up with, as they’ll be working closely with the franchisor team in the future. A strong working relationship is a feature of all high-quality franchises, and the only way you’ll know whether you’ll work well together is by talking.

Speak with existing franchisees
It’s also a good idea to speak to existing franchisees. You should avoid any pet franchisor that tries to stop you talking to their franchisees or that only permits you to speak to one or two cherry-picked franchisees. Franchisors that give you free access to all franchisees have nothing to hide. Most franchisees will provide you with an honest account of what it’s like to be part of the pet franchise and will often be able to provide particularly useful financial information.

Attend a discovery day
As you become more convinced that you’ve found the right franchise and get closer to signing the franchise agreement, you’ll need to attend a discovery day. Most franchises offer some kind of discovery day experience. This involves inviting interested individuals on-site and into the business to see how it’s run and what day to day life is like as a franchisee. It can provide invaluable insight and should be one of the most influential factors in any decision you make.

Examine the Franchise Disclosure Document
The Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) will only be made available once it’s clear that you’re seriously interested in becoming a franchisee. In the vast majority of cases, you’ll have to sign a non-disclosure agreement before you can read it. The FDD details everything you need to know about the franchise and will provide you with all of the financial information you need to make a decision. It’s vital that you take your time to read over this document properly as it should contain information about processes, procedures, and systems that you have not yet had access to.

Begin drafting your business plan
Having decided on a specific pet franchise and researched all the necessary details, it’s time to begin drafting your business plan. This will act as your guide through the first year or two of business and will help you make sure that your pet franchise is financially viable. It should include financial considerations, marketing strategies, and your long-term aims and objectives, amongst other things. It will also play an essential role in your finance application.

Apply for finance
Once all is ready to go, and you’re preparing to sign the franchise agreement, you’ll need to submit your finance application. Depending on the franchise, you’ll find that major lenders are willing to finance anywhere up to 70% of your pet franchise. However, your financial history and your ability to put together a comprehensive business plan will have an impact on the decision, too. In most cases, your franchisor will help you draft a suitable business plan.

To open your dream pet store, you’ll need to jump through a lot of hoops. However, as long as you’re sure that you’re making the right decision and that a pet store is the business for you, the process will be worth it in the end. As with any business venture, the most important things to remember are the need for thorough research and access to trusted advisors.

A guide to choosing the right franchise

Finding the right franchise may be one of the most challenging decisions in your entire career. There are so many franchises to choose from that it can be a little overwhelming. In order to help you out, we’ve compiled this brief guide to choosing the right franchise.

Know what you want
If you’re considering buying a franchise, the first step is self-evaluation. What do you want? What do you want from your business? What is your priority – financial stability, flexibility, or the challenge of running your own business? Everyone gets into franchising for different reasons and it’s a good idea to understand your own motivations before you commit to any particular franchise.

Knowing what you want means asking a few simple questions of yourself. Do you want to work full time or part time? Do you want a business where you’re on the frontline or do you want to step back and manage? How much are you willing to invest? What returns do you want from your investment?

If you can answer all of these questions, you’ll begin to get a clearer picture of what you want and what franchise might be the right fit. Unless you know what kind of business is going to satisfy you, your search for the ideal franchise will be difficult.

Know what you’re good at
As well as knowing what you want, it’s important to know what you’re good at. Unfortunately, these two aren’t always the same thing. You can be amazing with numbers but find accounting the dullest job around. If this is the case, you’ll have to come to some kind of compromise and try and work out which is more important to you.

If you do find yourself in the fortunate position of being able to pursue a job in that you’re both good at and derive pleasure from, you’re in the perfect position. Remember, the best franchises for you are those that you both excel in and enjoy. It’s the magic combination.

Passion over profit
Though you may think it would be difficult to decide between a franchise that you’re incredibly passionate about and a franchise that has the potential to earn you a lot of money, it’s not. Go for passion over profit every time.

This is good advice for a number of reasons. First and foremost, if you don’t have any passion for your work, you’re going to find it very difficult to succeed as a franchisee. Every franchise business opportunity depends on a franchisee who is willing to sacrifice a great deal to make the business work. This level of dedication is very difficult to achieve without passion.

Second, a more profitable franchise may be better in the short-term but in the long run, you’re likely to struggle to maintain it. With franchisees who have no passion for their industry, careers are generally short. There’s no reason to go on beyond the shortest period possible. The mantra here is ‘get in, get your money, and get out.’ While there’s nothing necessarily wrong with this, it does not constitute a long-term business plan. When you’re working on a labour of love, you can sustain momentum for longer.

Don’t rush it
If a franchise promises immediate profitability or a sure-fire shortcut to riches, steer clear. Franchising isn’t some kind of magic business model that can conjure profits out of thin air. Like any other type of business, it depends on hard work and dedication. There’s no such thing as a get rich quick scheme and if that’s all you’re looking for you might be in the wrong business.

Instead, look for a franchise that has a well described and carefully constructed business plan. You want realistic steps towards success and a clear vision, not vague allusions to the millions you’ll soon be earning as a result of becoming the newest member of the franchise.

Meet the franchisor
All franchisees need to meet the franchisor before they begin considering whether or not a franchise is right for you. The franchisor/franchisee relationship is so essential to a successful franchise unit that it needs to be one of the key factors that influence your decision.

While talking to your franchisor over the phone is a good start, it is necessary to meet them in person. You can tell a lot about a person when you meet them in the flesh and your feelings towards an individual can differ quite drastically. Body language is an important means of determining whether or not you consider someone honest or not. Likewise, having a short face to face conversation will tell you more about your compatibility than hours chatting on the phone.

Speak to existing franchisees
It’s also important that you speak to existing franchisees. Any franchisor with nothing to hide will be happy to provide you with a full list of current franchisees and their contact information. If they encourage you to speak to a specific franchisee, you need to be aware that there’s a good chance you’re speaking to the franchise’s official cheerleader. Take what they say with a pinch of salt and ask to speak to a franchisee of your choosing. However, most franchisees will be honest about how their relationship with the franchisor has turned out.

Know your way out
Finally, it’s important to think about how you’re going to make your exit if everything goes wrong. No one wants to start their role as owner of a new business by thinking about what happens if it fails – but you should. A good franchise opportunity won’t punish you for stepping away if things don’t go to plan unless the failings can be specifically attributed to you.

Conclusion
Different franchises suit different people. What is good for one person is not necessarily good for another and potential franchisees need to be looking for an opportunity that best suits them. Finding the right franchise is not about identifying the biggest money spinner, it’s about finding a franchise that you’re passionate about, that suits your management style, and that you make a long-term commitment to.

How to get back into the groove after your holiday

Whether you’re sunbathing on a white, sandy beach, trekking through the forest, or skiing in the Alps, holidays have to come to an end sometime. You’ll also have to return to work. Here, we offer our top 10 tips on how to hit the ground running after your holiday.

Start as you mean to go on
The ring of your alarm on the first morning back to work is never a welcome sound. However, we’re firm believers in the idea that you need to begin your first day back in a positive mind frame and start as you mean to go on. Try getting up as early as you can and giving yourself plenty of time to prepare. The last thing you want when coming back from holiday is a rushed, stressful morning that reminds you how tough getting up to got to work can be.

Eat well
It’s also a good idea to make sure you start the day with a proper breakfast. Obviously, ‘a proper breakfast’ will mean different things to different people. However, we would recommend a light, fruity muesli, a couple of eggs, or something healthy and fresh, that’s able to get you going. As a franchise owner, you’ll need all the energy you can get to make it through that first day back, so don’t skip breakfast. Sit down, take the time to prepare something delicious and enjoy a healthy start to the day.

Prioritise your time
On your return to the workplace, you’ll probably find there’s quite a lot of work to catch up with. If this is the case, try and prioritise important tasks and get those out of the way first. Not all of the hundreds of emails squatting in your inbox will be urgent. Replies can wait for many of them. Get what needs doing out of the way first and, if you’ve got time left over, crack on with less important tasks.

Give yourself an easier first day
While it’s a good idea to go into work with the intention of having a productive day, you don’t need to overload yourself. Try and ensure that your diary is clear on your first day back and that you’ve got no meetings or important calls to make. This will relieve some of the pressure of returning and allow you to focus on those things that really matter.

Get back in touch with regular contacts
If your role involves interacting with certain individuals on a regular basis, it might be beneficial to get in touch, see what has been happening, and let them know you’re back. This may mean giving your most important clients a ring, calling a quick team meeting, or dropping in on any managers or supervisors you work with. These don’t have to be formal meetings – a quick, relaxed chat will do the job.

Get up to speed
There’s bound to have been a few things you missed out on while you were sunning yourself on holiday. That first day back is the best time to catch up on news, see if there were any important developments while you were away, and ask if there’s anything you need to know. In the vast majority of cases, there will be nothing of great importance. However, it’s a good idea to make sure you’re up to speed and aware of everything that’s happened while you were away.

Don’t ruin all that good relaxing
There’s a reason you go on holiday. It’s so you’ve got some time to sit back, relax, and enjoy yourself. It’s to give you a bit of personal time away from the stresses of the workplace. It’s to remind you that your franchise and the franchise system aren’t the most important things in your life. On returning to work, it’s vital that you don’t ruin all that good relaxing by immediately throwing yourself into stressful situations that could be avoided. Try and take it easy, dodge unnecessary conflict, and don’t overwork yourself.

Keep a steady focus
Returning to the real world after a relaxing holiday can be a shock to the system. There’s so much to catch up on and it seems like there are so many things you’ve missed out on. You could spend hours scrolling through news headlines, social media accounts, and viral videos. You could get caught in long conversations with any number of staff members. If you do, you’ll regret it, though. Allowing yourself to be distracted will only add the amount of work you’ve got to tackle. Rather than decreasing your workload, you’ll find that you’re behind even more and struggling to keep up. This is not what you want from the first day back.

Thank those that covered
When you went away, some of your roles and responsibilities were probably covered by other staff members. Now is the time to recognise this support and thank them for keeping things ticking over. Showing your appreciation will demonstrate that you’re grateful for being able to trust your employees when you want to go away.

Capture that holiday state of mind
Finally, on that first day back, you need to capture that holiday state of mind and not let go. It’s all too easy to slip right back into work and completely forget about how relaxing and enjoyable your holiday was. Within a couple of days, it may feel as though you never went on holiday at all. To prevent this from occurring and to ensure that you benefit from your time off as much as possible, take a moment to consider your holiday memories. Keeping them fresh will keep you going for longer.

Conclusion
We all need a break sometimes. Even the best business opportunities can tire and stress us out. Taking a holiday is a chance to refresh and relax, without the pressures of work. It would be a shame to return to work and not try and bring that peace of mind with you. If you’re heading back to work soon, follow our top ten tips and hopefully you’ll benefit from a more positive first week back than you would have otherwise.