Part of the process towards franchise ownership involves an interview with the franchisor. This is typically done before a franchisor provides you with the franchise disclosure document or schedules a Discovery Day. The interview serves as a way to determine if you have the financial and personal qualifications needed to be a successful franchisee for the brand.
You should come to any franchisor interview prepared with a somewhat established business plan so you are prepared for any potential questions that might arise during the interview.
1. Know Your Goals as a Franchisee
Both you and the franchisor will have goals and expectations when going into this relationship, and it’s important you know whether your vision is aligned with the franchisor.
Don’t be afraid to reveal your ambitious goals for franchise ownership. It’s important that you state your intentions, such as if you plan on purchasing more franchise locations later on.
2. Do Some Research on the Industry/Franchise
While it is not usually required for a prospective franchisee to have prior experience in franchising or business ownership, it is still a good idea to familiarize yourself with the basics.
You should also do some research on the industry you plan on entering. You’ll want to formulate a good idea of the size of the industry, room for growth, and your competition.
The franchisor may also be interested in any past experiences you’ve had- perhaps running another franchised location or experience within the industry itself. If you’ve had experience as a franchisee and believe you already possess some of the traits of a successful franchisee, then it may be worth expressing in your franchise questionnaire or interview.
By doing some research on the brand and industry beforehand, you will also be prepared to ask more valuable and important questions during the interview.
3. Make Sure You Are Committed
Owning a franchise requires great people skills, leadership abilities, a strong work ethic, and lots of enthusiasm. The franchisor may use the interview as a way to gauge your level of commitment and uncover whether you have what it takes to operate a franchise location.
Unfortunately, not all franchises turn a profit in the first year so you must stay focused on the long term. Planning ahead and being prepared is key to your success.
4. Talk to Your Friends and Family
Buying a franchise is a huge investment that will touch every part of your life. It will be important for you to have the full support of those around you. Without that, it may be difficult for you to grow and find the motivation to continue to grow your business.
If you are married, purchasing a franchise is also a significant financial decision that requires a strong discussion with your spouse. With the support of your friends and family, you will be much more likely to succeed.
5. Have a Plan for Building a Customer Base
Getting a franchise off the ground can take work. The franchisor needs to know you have a suitable plan in place to gain momentum and start building a customer base.
Many franchisors will offer plenty of guidance in this department, with training manuals, digital marketing campaigns, marketing materials, and other programs you can partake in.
However, a franchised business is still very much your own business, and it is up to you to be sure you implement a strategy to utilize these resources properly and effectively.
6. Have a Finance Plan in Place
Depending on the type of franchise you pursue, you’ll need a healthy amount of capital to sustain your lifestyle as you start up your business. This is where long-term planning really comes into play.
Your franchisor will want to make sure you have the available working capital that will allow you to make it through the initial period prior to breaking even.
Determining Mutual Fit
If you’ve carefully considered the above topics and have developed a strong plan for starting up, growing, and financing your franchise, then your franchisor interview will likely run quite smoothly.
Take advantage of this opportunity to address any questions or concerns, and keep your eyes and ears open for any red flags exhibited by the franchisor.
If, for example, your franchisor seems more interested in the upfront investment fee than long-term success and royalties, it may be a sign your franchisor has a different motive and you should consider researching alternate opportunities.
Keep in mind, interviews with the franchisor are a way of determining the mutual fit of the franchisor and franchisee. So, not only is it a chance for the franchisor to ensure you are qualified, but it is also a chance for you to do your due diligence and to see if a particular franchise opportunity is right for you.
Purchasing a franchise is a big decision, but if you follow these steps, they will help guide you towards the path that is best for you.