Investing time, money and energy into opening a franchise can get intimidating for those who decide to choose this path. We understand what a major decision this is, and hope the following step-by-step guide will provide you with more information to help in your decision-making process. While the basics remain the same, the timelines and investment may vary from one franchise to another.
Do you want to start your own business? Does the franchise model appeal to you? Will you be able to run it all by yourself or do you need to hire staff? Are you willing to put in extra hours over weekends if required from time to time?
These are just some of the questions you should be asking yourself before you make this big decision. Starting your franchise is a huge commitment, and you should be certain this is the path you want to take.
Do your Research
Have you identified the area you’d like your business to be located in? What kind of businesses exist in the area? What is the competition? Can the area support another business such as yours?
Provincial Government provides access to free business data. Make sure you go through the data to be able to make an informed decision. Once you’re comfortable you have all of the answers you need at this point, drill down on the list of franchises you’re interested in and ask for their application forms.
Attend a Discovery Session/Information Session
A Discovery Session is a meeting between a franchisor and potential franchisee, during which time you get to learn about their business model, processes and systems. Since the pandemic, many of these Discovery Sessions have been held virtually.
For more information on our Informaion Sessions, please click here.
Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD)
The FDD is a document provided by the Franchisor that outlines the history of the business, the estimated investment, a list of current franchisees in a system, turnover rates, fees, rules, restrictions and numerous aspects of that particular franchise. Once the Franchisor evaluates your candidature, you will receive the FDD. This document contains a wealth of information and can add to the research you’re doing during your due diligence process.
Speak to other Franchisees
Don’t hesitate to ask your potential franchisor for details of their existing franchisees. While the FDD gives you most of the information you need, existing franchisees in the network will help you validate key points about the franchise model. You can learn from their experiences with the Franchisor. Ask them about the support system, lead generation activities, business model and training. This will be your most credible source of information.
Choose a Franchise
Finally after all the due dilligence, it is time for you to choose that one franchise that aligns with your priorities, skills and available resources.
Choose a suitable location
Most franchisors will help you find a suitable location. However, you should be doing your homework as well. See how busy the area is, and evaluate if it can get you walk-in customers. Does it have complementary businesses? How convenient is it to reach the location either by car or by public transit? Once you have finalized a site for your business, the franchisor will also have to approve it before you can start operating.
Create a Business Plan and Secure Funding (if required)
Once you have decided to make this huge investment, the next step is to secure funding. Unless you’re someone who has saved enough to cover your expenses till you break even, making a business plan is essential to secure funding. To convince lenders that you are on a path to success, a business plan is crucial. However, that’s not the only reason why it's important. Having a plan will also provide your business with a strategy and structure and help put your plans into action.
Sign the Franchise Agreement
You have done all your research. You have validated the information and numbers in the FDD. You’ve chosen the Franchise you want to invest in and a location. It is now time to put your plan into action and sign the franchise agreement. A franchise agreement is a legally binding contract that lays out in exact detail the relationship and responsibilities of the franchisor and you, as the franchisee. Since this is legally binding, it is essential that you have a lawyer go through it to ensure there are no gaps or hidden clauses. And to ensure you understand completely your responsibilities and restrictions under the agreement.
The franchisor generally provides initial and ongoing training to their franchisees. This training should cover all important aspects of the franchise model and how to run the business within the model, as well as other topics such as Marketing, Business Development, IT systems, etc.
Training should be one of the decision-making factors for you. The quality, depth and breadth of the training reflects how much effort the franchisor is willing to put in to support their franchisees.
To learn about the industry-leading training provided by TaxAssist Accountants, click here.
Hire Your Staff
Whether or not you need to hire staff for your accounting and tax business will depend on your credentials and skills. If you’re a CPA, tax preparer, bookkeeper, or have a financial background, you might not need to hire staff initially. However, if you do not come with a financial background, you might have to hire technical staff to provide the accounting and tax services.
Launch Your Franchise
You’ve arrived! It is finally time to kickstart your operations. Everything is in place. You will now need to spread the word about your new business. Generally, the Franchisor will have a marketing system in place to help you market your accounting and tax franchise. However, you will still have to put in your own efforts to spread the word locally. Host networking events, offer referral schemes, plan direct or e-mail campaigns, etc.
If you want to learn more about the TaxAssist Accountants business model and steps you need to take to join our network, attend our free 45-minutes Discovery Session. Click here to register your interest.