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Interview: Prospective Franchisee

Carina Mäkelä

Professional background:
Research & Marketing (private and NFP sector).

This is an interview with a lady who has done her homework in investigating the opportunity that franchising will provide her in starting up her own business. She won a FREE copy of my e-book in the competition I ran last month.

1. What is your career position at the moment?

“I am currently in the process of finishing a due diligence process with a franchisor I have chosen, after three months research into franchises and some very hard thinking! I now need to finish my Business Plan, get feedback from the franchisor as well as a professional business advisor. I’ve already secured an accountant, have short-listed my solicitors and talked to a franchise manager at a bank. My hope is to get started as soon as possible!”

2. What steps have you gone through in your decision making to want to buy a franchise or become self-employed?

As a first step I went to a number of Franchise Expos, attended loads of workshops to get a really good, realistic view of franchise and talked to a lot of franchisors at the show.

I then contacted a service that matches a candidate with the correct franchise according to the candidate's preferences – all for free! This service gave me a good indication of the types of franchise to go for i.e. which ones match my skill set and business expectations in terms of financial aspect and job satisfaction.

Thirdly, as I have never run my own business before, I attended a number of enterprise/start-up courses and workshops, of which Shelley's was one of the most informative ones as it kept on going even after the workshop had ended! Knowing somebody in the field who is able to provide professional advice on a personal level is so very valuable!

Finally, I did some research into realistic demands of running your own business and, most importantly, whether I had all it takes! You have to be extremely honest with yourself during this process as having a dream of being your own boss and actually coping with the loneliness and insecurity of running your own business, and therefore not having a security of a regular salary, may cause some stress! On the other hand, setting up your own start-up business and setting up a franchise with a support network in place are two very different things!

3. Which tools/resources did you find most helpful?

The most important stages in my process have been looking at my own capabilities; equipping myself with appropriate knowledge by attending the right type of courses and workshops where you have access to real life experience and knowledge; as well as accessing franchise directories which you can use as a first step to start narrowing down your options.

There is a vast amount of literature available regarding franchising, some of which is free e.g. Which Franchise, Business Link and various banks' franchise leaflets. They offer great advice on the type of information you want to draw from the franchisor, what to expect and how to go about making your dream real e.g. getting the financing in place, legal requirements, etc.

4. What advice would you give anyone else who may only be starting their journey of ‘self-employment’ discovery?

You can start by doing a SWOT analysis on yourself, really understanding your skill set and how it can work for you. Also, be honest with yourself about what you like and dislike – this will save you loads of time later. Start your research, be open and don't necessarily rule out franchises because they don't sound sexy enough – they can still provide excellent return on investment, provided you're willing to work hard and follow the business model right down to the letter!

Do your research: franchise (brand image, industry?); franchisor (do you get on, is he supporting you on his own?); business model; your competition; your area; etc. Talk to as many in the field as possible and attend as many events as you can – you never know what's around the corner! And don't get scared - you are not alone doing this! You can always get useful advice and support - that's the best bit!

Carina’s take on Shelley’s E-Book:

“'Buying A Franchise: A Route to Entrepreneurship' forms a really good basis for your franchise discovery process. It introduces concepts such as self-employment V.S. franchising; what it means to you and how to go about the process should you decide to go ahead with it. It will equip you with a background to the financial side of franchising as well as issues you should be aware of in your research into potential franchise opportunities. Finally, it will briefly explain the Business Plan structure and the types of franchise formats available. All in all, it's a good source of sound advice in concise form!”

Get Shelley’s FREE report that outlines ‘The 7 Critical Realities You Need to Know Before You Buy a Franchise’ by clicking here and going to ‘Want to Start a Business’, or

Get your copy of her e-book ‘Buying a Franchise: A Route to Entrepreneurship’ by clicking here.


Copyright © 2008 Shelley Pearson.
Reprints are welcome, as long as the by-line and article are published in tact and all links made live.


About the Author

Shelley Pearson, formerly an independent franchise consultant, created the Expert Franchise Guide business after identifying a serious lack of a provision of franchise business guidance products to small and medium sized business owners. She has developed her products in order to solve one of these business owners’ biggest operational obstacles: access to decisive, experienced and cost effective franchise business guidance. She is now an information marketer and has managed to attract both professional affiliations and clients who recognise and value her business acumen matched with a practical and empathetic approach.

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