Anyone can call themselves a franchise consultant. Yet if you employ a consultant to guide you through franchise consulting the process of franchising your business they can have a massive impact on your personal and business aspirations, not to mention those of your franchisees.
A well structured, well documented franchise based on best practice can help a business grow quickly and profitably with the resultant benefits for both franchisor and franchisees. On the other hand, a poorly developed franchise which has neither a robust operating, financial or legal basis can bring untold misery for all involved.
Therefore, it is essential to do some homework before you appoint a franchise consultant and make sure you are getting the best possible advice. In fact, when you consider the overall investment you have made in your business to date and how much more you will invest to expand it further, paying a little extra to ensure you get the very best advice makes good sense.
Here are some questions to ask and make sure you get satisfactory answers to, when interviewing franchise consultants prior to making your choice:
Do you belong to the British Franchise Association (or equivalent franchise body in the country you are operating in)? The most obvious and basic question to ask and if they are not a member, why not?
Are you qualified? If a franchising qualification is available in your country such as the British Franchise Association’s QFP qualification in the UK, is the consultant qualified and if not, why not?
Are you a sole trader or part of a recognised firm? There are some good franchise consultants out there working on their own, but as in all walks of life there are real benefits to using a recognised company. Better training, wider knowledge base, financial security, cover in case your guy can’t continue the project for any reason, better industry contacts, a more structured process, probably a better end product and ongoing support in other areas such as training or international development as you franchise grows.
What is your track record? Don’t be fobbed off with the “Here are some companies I’ve worked with” answer. Ask for details of projects they have seen through from start to finish and how successful the businesses have been since franchising.
What is your experience in franchising? Franchising is not something you can learn from a book. It takes many years of practical experience working in franchising before you could even consider being able to advise other business on the subject.
What continuous professional development do you do? The business world and franchising in particular continues to evolve at a pace. Does the franchise consultant have any way of staying abreast of these changes? Larger firms should require CPD from their franchise consultants.
Can you sponsor me into the British Franchise Association (or equivalent franchising body in your country)? If they can’t it means the BFA does not accept this person is a professional franchise consultant and the conversation should end right there.
So, don’t fall for sales patter or a winning smile. You owe a duty of care to your business and your future franchisees to ensure that you get the best advice you can. Ask the difficult questions and don’t be satisfied until you find a franchise consultant that can give you all of the right