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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.

Overcoming Franchise Funding Fears

You want to dip your toe into the waters of business ownership and have decided to jump into a franchise. Maybe you’ve zeroed in on which franchise is right for you or perhaps you’re still exploring the options. Whatever you decide, you’ll need a way to finance the venture, and that can be intimidating. Getting a business loan can be tricky… even as the economy begins to heal. If you’ve got money, banks and credit unions will line up to loan you even more. If you don’t have money? Well, take heart—here are some alternative funding options that can put you at the helm of your own franchise:

What is a Franchise Consultant

Seriously? What is that supposed to mean?

Franchises vs. Startups, What Makes More Sense for You?

In order to decide which alternative (franchise vs. standalone startup) is the wisest choice for you, you need to understand the advantages and challenges of both options.