Fran Talks About How to Minimize Risk When Buying a Franchise

Note: This fictional "Dear Fran" article is based on questions we receive from people interested in buying a Canadian franchise.

Dear Fran,

I have a pretty good corporate job, or...I have a well paying job but I’m not happy with it. I want my own franchise but am unsure about what kind of business to open.

A professional consultancy looks ideal, taking advantage of my corporate past. It makes a lot of sense and I’ve thought about that, but it keeps me exactly where I already am. I want something fresh.

I want to be an entrepreneur; to work with a team that I can develop and grow, and like the idea of being in a customer focused industry. There is something about helping people fulfill their needs that I feel would be satisfying. I like food, but really feel that it’s not so much food as service itself that appeals to me.

With my finance background, I have some excellent skills to bring to any business, but am concerned that I lack the skills to build a business from scratch. I’m also afraid to quit and maybe fail. How can I open a franchise and still keep my day job while I develop things?

I’ll make my own choice of course, but am curious about what your thoughts are on my situation.

Cautious Executive

Dear Cautious,

Since you were gracious enough to ask my thoughts on this with an open canvas, let me suggest something that blends these ideas.

Maybe what you want to do is not so much consider building a single franchise, but developing several outlets, becoming your own mini corporation. You would still be very close to the front of house operations, but would have the opportunity to combine the new field you want to work in with the experience that you bring to the enterprise.

Three options to consider

So, now you have three options: A service industry outlet, a business consultancy, or working towards several outlets of a single franchise organization.

Given your current income and desire to maintain, you need to take some time to really consider these options. It’s a great opportunity to use your finance skills to develop a rock solid business plan. Take some time to assess which of the opportunities we present here best suits your financial goals. Consider also what franchise will fit your needs; this article I wrote might help you through that.

Since your current job undoubtedly involves a lot of thought and time commitment, consider using your income to hire out some of the tasks involved in developing the plan.

Developing the business plan

Essential to building any business is to begin with a great business plan, and to respect what you fundamentally are, hiring around your strengths and availability, filling in the pieces that either don’t require you, or that you prefer not to do.

This is a great opportunity to begin hiring expertise, something that any successful entrepreneur needs to be able to do skillfully.

Resources and research

Before you do that though, start with some reading to familiarize yourself with the terminology and usual business practices of the various types of franchises. As a starting point, read through this page on our website, and then download our ebook Franchising in Canada, A Safe Alternative. We also have many other resources available on the site to help with your research, including franchise CEO interviews, videos and the opportunities themselves.

Hiring to move ahead

Because you want to make sure your business is well-developed before you leave your current position, and especially if you do choose to develop a string of franchises, your business plan should consider the idea of hiring a manager to run the business for you for the first year or two while you become more familiar with the workings of the business.

If part of your current position includes hiring and managing people, then this should be familiar to you and easily done.

If not, then you could ask the franchise organization for recommendations, or hire an HR consultant to manage the hire for you. The key would be to hire someone who is experienced within the franchise industry.

By doing this, you could create and develop your own exit plan and be ready to move from your job to your business at your leisure.

For more information, contact us today and don't forget to take advantage of the wealth of information in our free ebook.