Planning Your Franchise Business Plan

If you are unaccustomed to writing business plans, it may be useful to begin by thinking of it as what it is at the simplest level. It's your best guess of how the business will function given all the research you have been able to do into it and similar businesses. As the title says, it's an "Imaginary Future...backed by evidence".

Essentially, it's a letter to your mom explaining what you are up to, and why it's a good idea, so she won't worry…and because she's a mom and built to be concerned about you, it's really got to explain things clearly, in simple language.

At a deeper level, it's an essay examining the proposition that you open a particular business, with supporting arguments backed by evidence.

These supporting arguments are developed by researching the franchise organization you wish to align yourself with, the record of their member successes, the local market you wish to buy into, the specific location where you intend to open, and your own finances, to see how well the idea holds together.

Start with a one-page plan. This will allow you to look at your idea as a snapshot; a quick view of the concept. Rapid prototyping of business plans allows you to look at complete pictures of the potential businesses at ever increasing degrees of clarity.

The basic pieces of this are:

  1. Executive Summary
    1. Often written last, the Executive Summary captures the essence of every topic in the business plan. In a one-page plan, it would likely be a paragraph in which each section was synopsized in a single sentence.
  2. Investment Offering
    1. If you are looking for others to invest in your proposed franchise, this section would outline:
      1. What their investment share would be
      2. What their compensation options would be
      3. What their legal relationship to the franchise would be
  3. Property Description and location
    1. Literally as it says: A description of the property and where it is located.
      1. How big it is,
      2. How old it is,
      3. How many rooms, bathrooms, storage spaces, etc.
      4. What kind of community or zone it is in
      5. What the local parking and transportation situation is
      6. What future development is planned for the area
  4. Project Plan
    1. How will you get it done?
    2. What is the proper order of the various tasks related to the acquisition and launch of the franchise?
  5. Market Review
    1. How much demand is there for the products of this franchise and products like it?
    2. What is the client base?
      1. How many of them are dedicated users?
      2. What makes them dedicated?
    3. What is the competition?
      1. What does the competition offer or do differently/worse/better than your intended business?
      2. How long have they been in business?
      3. In the area?
      4. What differences (if any) are there between their clientele and those you wish to serve?
  6. Marketing Plan
    1. Marketing and advertising activities undertaken by the franchisor
    2. Supplemental marketing and advertising activities that the franchisee may also undertake locally, ie:
      1. Website
      2. Newsletters
      3. Social Media
      4. Flyers/Posters
      5. Events
      6. Advertising
      7. Associations and Clubs
  7. Financial Plan
    1. Projected costs
      1. Purchase of franchise license
      2. Costs of operation
        1. Property costs: rental or mortgage
        2. Utilities
        3. Staffing
        4. Marketing
        5. Professional services providers
      3. Payouts to investors
      4. Franchise royalties and fees
  8. Summary - A quick recap of the main points, tied together as a conclusion to the arguments presented in the document.
    1. ...and this mom, is why my business is going to succeed!

Using this plan as a matrix, you can write a one-page plan by replacing my general sentences with information specific to your planned franchise. Try to use single sentences for the first round. You can expand them later in a new detailed document based on this one, which may ultimately provide the foundation for the Executive Summary of your detailed plan.

Most of these sections are regularly broken off into separate documents. Extract each one of these sections as a template, developing sentences into paragraphs or pages, by adding to the information that they present. As you do so, clarify any questions that may be raised as you write, and answering any that are raised by the friends and associates that you ask to critique your plan.

The proper answer to any comment beginning with: "I don't quite understand this"... or "This doesn't make sense" is either "Thank you, can you please explain how much is clear, so I can explain the rest better" or "Thank you, I guess it was clear to me in my head, but I need to unpack it better". It is never "It's perfectly clear, but you just don't get it!" Generally speaking, if it needs clarification, you should consider that you may be missing some important words that will add clarity...and while you may know when you write it exactly what you "really mean", you will likely not remember this insight months or years later.

We're here to help. If you run into questions along the way to researching one of the franchise opportunities on BeTheBoss.ca, ask us for assistance. Send a note with your questions and we'll do what we can to answer and help you move to the next stage.

Meanwhile, sign up for our newsletters with information on current opportunities available through BeTheBoss.ca and our questionnaire series with lists of useful questions to help you research your new career!

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