All the franchise advice in the world won’t count for anything if you can’t get your own franchise off the ground – and your business plan is your launch pad. A clear and confident business plan should successfully communicate your business ideas, and inspire confidence in you and your franchise.
Like a student writing a dissertation, your business plan isn’t going to be any good if you leave it until the night before to throw it together. They’ll be kicked out of the university and you’ll be kicked out of the bank manager’s office. We’re here to give you franchise advice, so remember; putting together a business plan should be the work of weeks of careful planning, research and thought. In some cases, it might even take months. You can’t over invest.
Turn the idea around in your head. Some of your best breakthroughs might come as you quietly mull things over. Think out all the different issues that might affect your company and then formulate suitable solutions and/or contingencies. You can’t stop a foot and mouth outbreak from occurring, but you can certainly set up contingency plans to prevent it bringing down your rural delivery franchise. If you’re planning to set up a franchise and you’re seeking franchise advice, then you obviously care about your new business and so you’ll be thinking about it a lot anyway. Just make sure to harness that idle contemplation and get your ideas down on paper.
It may be a hoary old cliche, but your franchise’s most important asset is you. No one is more likely to make your enterprise a soaring success or a snivelling disaster. You can have the most carefully laid out business plan in the world, but if you don’t inspire confidence then it’s just a bunch of paper. Treat it like any other job interview. Run through all the potential questions that might arise and formulate answers. Even if those exact questions don’t come up, it will get you in the right mindset for your meeting. Prepare your CV, highlighting your distinctive competencies. This can be a deal simpler if you are a franchisee as the franchisor may provide training and support. This will help to reassure investors – the previous success of the franchisor is a good indicator of your future success – but it’s not something you should rely on. You still have to inspire them with the confidence that you are someone who can take on that training, understand it and fully exploit the knowledge you gain.
If you or your management team lack a particular skill set, detail the steps you will take to remedy the problem, e.g. getting a financial advisor in to handle the company’s accounts if you lack sufficient experience.
Carry out competitive analysis. Who are you competing against? Don’t say there’s no one, because there always is. If there’s no obvious competition, think laterally. If you’re opening a swimming pool and there are no other swimming pools in the area, it doesn’t mean you have no competition. What are the other demands on people’s leisure time, particuarly children’s? Are there any cinemas in the area? Shops? After school clubs? It’s not just how you will react to your competitors, either: ask yourself how they will react to you.
All the franchise advice in the world means nothing if you aren’t capable of putting in the work. Put yourself in the place of your investors, and ask and answer all the questions they will ask. You’re the first investor you need to convince.
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