Every emerging franchise system has its start-up phase where it’s actively recruiting franchisees. Think of any well-known, successful franchise brand and they too faced the task of finding early adopters of their brand.
As one of the first franchisees of a brand, you may experience a more fluid situation, requiring you to be ready to adapt to changes as the business develops. The good news is you’ll be growing your business along with the franchise company in a true partnership with the franchisor. Early adapters typically have more input in the development of the franchise system and receive more personalized attention.
When considering buying into an emerging franchise system, there are a few things you should take into consideration to ensure this is the right move for you:
Does the franchisor have any previous franchising experience?
It’s wise to research to see if the franchise founder(s) have had any success building another franchise brand. A proven track record goes a long way and is invaluable experience. You’ll also want to learn what their long-term vision is. And you should ask if they have any references you may speak with.
Do you have the right mindset?
Are you comfortable with change? Are you willing to be in on the ground floor, providing helpful input to help build the brand? Being one of the first franchisees can be an exciting opportunity to experience real business growth.
Are your expectations realistic?
Look at the performance of the franchisor’s prototype operations to see how well it performed to get a realistic picture of the level of success you can expect. Keep in mind that as the brand builds, so too will the revenue. Know going in what level of input you will have regarding business operations as you work to build your business.
Is the price right?
A franchise in its start-up phase doesn’t have the same proven system of a seasoned brand. For early franchisees this can be a distinct advantage because early adopters typically pay less for their franchise than franchisees who come along later. First franchisees also benefit from a higher support level while other value factors such as system documentation may not be as well developed as it will be later.
Being one of the first to join a franchise system can be a very satisfying move for an entrepreneur, sharing in the advancement of a brand. But you won’t have the benefit of consulting with lots of other franchisees who can share valuable feedback. You will, however, have the benefit of more support and assistance from the franchisor leadership, who hopefully have a lot of experience in franchising. The bottom line is being one of the first franchisees of a system is a ground floor opportunity.