If you currently run a successful business, you may be considering starting a franchise. Although franchising can be a good way to rapidly expand your business, starting a franchise is a complicated process. Luckily, there are industry experts who specialise in helping businesses prepare and launch their new franchise. This article will set out the three professionals you should speak to when starting a franchise: a franchise consultant, an accountant and a franchise lawyer.
1. A Franchise Consultant
Franchise consultants are specialists in guiding franchise businesses towards success. They provide advice to new and existing franchise businesses on how to achieve their commercial objectives. As a new franchisor, a franchise consultant can also help you to build systems and processes to support your business in the long term. Common services a franchise consultant might provide include:
- undertaking a feasibility assessment of your current business model and plans;
- recruiting and selecting franchisees;
- developing an operations manual; and
- providing ongoing business strategy advice and support.
Many franchise consultants have extensive experience in the industry. Some may have worked in business consulting before moving into franchising as a specialist industry, and others may have experience as a franchisor or franchisee. Either way, your franchise consultant will be able to share their experience with you.
Two key indicators of whether a franchise consultant is suitable for your business are:
- experience in your particular industry (unless they have any current conflicts of interest); and
- willingness to provide value upfront.
Although there are many similarities between franchises in different sectors, specific experience in a similar industry to yours is an excellent sign that your franchise consultant will understand your journey.
Secondly, you should look for a consultant who is willing to give away some initial information for free, whether that is via their website or free consultations. This is because franchising regulations and processes are extremely complex. As a new franchisor, you will have a lot to learn. A good consultant will be willing to help you learn and provide some value up-front before asking for a financial commitment.
2. An Accountant
Starting a franchise can be an expensive process. On the other hand, many franchises generate large amounts of money in a short period of time. Because of this, most successful new franchisors have an experienced accountant on their team to help with financial planning and management.
Many accountants specialise in franchising. Some work with large, multinational franchisors and manage complex business structures, whereas others work more closely with newer franchisors. Accountants that work with new fanchisors will have important experience in planning and executing growth strategies. For example, a franchise accountant can help you with:
- managing financial planning and projections;
- preparing business benchmarks and financial targets;
- completing business valuations and growth forecasts; and
- ongoing bookkeeping.
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3. A Franchise Lawyer
Lastly, a franchise lawyer can assist with reviewing the legal aspects of your franchise. This is an important step, because there are many complex laws and regulations that apply specifically to franchising. For example, laws regulate most elements of the franchisor-franchisee relationship. This includes:
- onboarding and training;
- ongoing support; and
- dispute resolution.
An experienced franchise lawyer can help you to navigate this regulatory environment. For example, a franchise lawyer can help you with:
- drafting the franchise agreement and disclosure documents;
- negotiating the terms of important contracts;
- issuing grants and supporting documents to new franchisees; and
- providing ongoing advice about governance and compliance issues.
You should find a lawyer who also has experience in franchise disputes and litigation, as a unique dispute resolution process applies to franchising. Your lawyer should also be willing to provide information and answer questions without charging you for each piece of advice they provide. As your relationship with your lawyer will be ongoing, you should feel confident that you will receive enough help from them.
Franchising your business may seem like a daunting process. As a new franchisor, you will need to familiarise yourself with the complexities of marketing, recruitment, accounting, industry laws and regulations. However, there are certain steps you can take to make the process easier. For example, building a strong network of professionals can help you to set your new franchise up for success. The key professionals that can help you on your franchise journey are a franchise consultant, an accountant and a franchise lawyer. If you are interested in franchising your business, contact LegalVision’s franchise lawyers on 1800 532 904 or fill out the form on this page.
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