This lesson is part of our free Franchise 101 course.
Your success as a franchisee will depend a lot upon your own skills and how hard you work. But it will also depend upon the level of support that you receive from the franchisor, and so it’s important to ask about that support when you first contact a franchise.
Facing the Unforeseen
When you join a franchise, you’ll be given training. In an ideal world, this would set you up to run a franchise outlet all on your own, and that’s what the franchisor is aiming to provide.
But even with the best training in the world, there will still be things you don’t know and unforeseen problems that you’ll need help with. These are the moments when you’ll need advice and guidance from headquarters.
To make sure that you’re getting involved with the right franchise, you should check that there is adequate infrastructure to support franchisees. The best time to assess that is in the early stages of contact with the franchisor, when you’re asking questions about how they work.
Asking the Right Questions
To assess this, it’s important to ask the right sorts of questions. You want to know:
- What kind of ongoing support will be available to you as a franchisee?
- How big is the franchisee support team?
- When is the team available to answer questions and give guidance?
Ask these questions of all the franchises you contact. If something seems to be missing or unclear in one of their answers, then ask for more information. These questions will tell you a lot about how well you’ll be supported, and you don’t want to end up stuck later on because you didn’t dig deeper now.
If the franchise can’t adequately answer your questions then that’s a bad sign, either for their communication skills or for the support they provide. You should consider it a serious mark against them in deciding who to work with.
Evaluating the Answers
Once you have your answers, you can compare the different franchises you’re considering. Which ones give more support or have a better support team? Who’s more flexible in their approach and availability? Who gives support in a form that would suit you?
Consider the answers in the context of the company, not just its competitors. For a small company with a limited number of locations, a modest support team may be able to cover everybody’s needs. A tiny support team in a company with hundreds of locations should ring alarm bells, as support may not be available when you need it.
When you join a franchise, you’re entering into a relationship. You want to make sure that the other side of that relationship will have your back when things get tough, so ask the right questions, evaluate the answers, and make sure you’ll get the support you need.