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A Checklist for Franchising your Business

Companies have been franchising for more than 50 years now, with widely varying degrees of success. Make no mistake: franchising an existing business is a major undertaking. There are all kinds of details to consider, including geographical and operational issues, the question of competitors, the level of financial investment you'll require of your franchisees, and much more.

Services like Acurate Franchising can guide you through each stage, but you'll want to get some understanding of the process first; hence the checklist below.

The Checklist for Franchising a Business

We thought it might be useful to break the process down into a to-do list for the prospective franchisor. This isn't meant to be an all-inclusive guide by any means, but the list below should give you a solid idea of what lies ahead.

  • Legalities - Prepare a standard disclosure document. At minimum, the FTC requires every franchise to have a Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) before offering franchises for sale in the U.S. Some states have additional registration requirements and peculiarities of their own to consider. Put it this way: expect to think about your business inside and out, and have literally hundreds of business issues spelled out in print.
  • Financials - Prepare audited financial statements. This is actually a required part of the FDD, so until your statements are audited, you won't be able to legally proceed with franchising. You'll need an accountant with experience in producing these audited statements.
  • Systems - This is the heart and soul of any successful franchise company. Every aspect of your business must be developed to the point where it can be easily described, standardized, and replicated. Then every detail must be documented.
  • Training - You will need a training program, plus qualified people to provide the training. The better your training program, the more successful your new franchisees will be.
  • Marketing - Formalize your marketing plan. You'll need two sales systems: one for your franchisees to follow that will drive customers into their units and one for you to use to recruit those new franchisees and generate revenue (from franchise fees and, hopefully, ongoing royalties) as a franchisor. Prepare marketing materials that can be easily understood and duplicated.
  • Quality Control - Create checklists, policies, procedures and tactics to ensure your systems are uniformly enforced.
  • Attitude - This is perhaps the most important item of all. You must be focused, positive, flexible, and dynamic -- all at once and all at the same time. In practice this means expecting a challenge and stepping up to overcome any obstacles in your way.

Services to Help you Franchise your Business

While creating a franchise concept is a complicated and all-consuming process, the rewards -- financial, personal, and otherwise -- can be enormous and compound favorably through generations (just ask anyone whose parents or grandparents started a successful franchise system)!

Fortunately, you don't have to go it alone. The most successful franchisors recognize their areas of knowledge and strength as well as the areas in which they would be best served utilizing the services of domain experts, such as franchise lawyers, accountants, and consultants.

The Importance of Setting Clear Expectations

So my recommendation is as follows: As early in the relationship as possible, invest the time necessary to clearly describe the shared expectations for how you will work with your customers and, and how you will work with your employees. If you do this well, everyone will be on the same page and when you deliver something a little bit better than they expect, the will see you as someone they trust, like and want to be loyal to – a strong driver of success for any business.

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