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Ask most prospective franchisees what they think is important when it comes to running a successful business and they’ll probably start talking about cash flow, managing overheads, staff and sales. The truth is that way before a franchisee opens his or her doors for the first time, there are a bunch of actions he or she can take to help ensure sustainable success. Image: Score

One of the most important things for franchisees to get right from the get-go is ensuring that they pick the right franchisor to partner with. Choosing a franchisor whose values, vision and culture match your own is key, as is ensuring that you have the right skillset to make the most out of the franchise product and its marketing.

A franchise 'Discovery Day' is the perfect time to get to know more about a franchisor. In this article, we look at some questions any interested franchisee should be asking a business he or she is considering investing in. But you don’t have to wait for a Discovery Day to ask them—every interaction you have with a franchisor is an opportunity to learn a little more and make sure that your final choice is the right one.

At F45 Training, we believe in being completely transparent with interested franchisees. We make it easy for anyone to access our global network and the wealth of experience we’ve built over the last eight years. Here are some additional questions to help franchisees get to know their franchisor and find the right business for their investment:

How much do you know about your competitors?
This is a vital question. Any franchisor should have a good idea of who their toughest competition is and how to address them based on a thorough understanding of their market. Anything you can learn about competitors in your local market will be particularly valuable, as will understanding what the franchisor is actively doing to differentiate themselves from these businesses.

How will the franchise continue to evolve?
A real strength of F45 is the fact that the business is continually innovating and evolving to offer both our franchisees and members the best product and experience possible. Make sure to ask any franchisor what changes are on the horizon for the business and brand. Pay particular attention to any changes happening when it comes to marketing and operations.

What’s the biggest opportunity in the marketplace?
A good franchisor will not only be aware of what their competitors are planning and doing, but also where the biggest wins in their industry are waiting. Asking this question will not only give you an idea if the business is aware of new chances for growth and success, but also allow you to evaluate their plans to make the most of these opportunities.

Who is the business’s end consumer?
It’s vital that any business knows exactly who its target consumer is. The fitness industry can be tricky because different products appeal to different ages and demographics, and consumers can vary across franchise locations. Make sure the franchisor you’re talking to has a deep understanding of who their product is designed for and also who you should be targeting in your individual marketplace.

What is it that you’re actually selling?
This might seem like a question with an obvious answer, but every business should have a good idea of what its product really is and what makes it appealing. At first glance, F45’s product might appear to be a simple workout, but it’s actually a one-of-a-kind experience and authentic sense of community. F45 franchisees looking to get the most out of their businesses need to understand exactly what’s needed to deliver this experience.

How has the market changed over the last five years?
Check to see if the franchisor has a good grasp of what has happened in the industry over the last five years. Has their market share grown? Has their strategy changed, and if so,  why?

Who are the franchisor’s major suppliers?
Find out who the franchisor’s major vendors are. It’s worth noting their terms and offerings of preferential terms for ongoing purchases. A big advantage that F45 Training offers over many other health and wellness models is that studios require minimal equipment for start-up, which means less maintenance and lower levels of necessary ongoing support. 

Is there investment in research and development?
A good way to check how dedicated a business is to innovation is to look at its spend on developing and implementing new ideas, as compared to total revenue. The fitness space goes hand-in-hand with new trends, so it’s important for any business to stay current with new developments. Keep in mind, though, it's important to make sure that there’s value before over-investing in a new area.

What’re your advertising and marketing goals?
It’s easy for a franchisor to throw money at marketing—the real question is if their communication has a clear plan and purpose. With advertising and communication spending under increasing pressure to deliver a return, you should have an idea of the business’ brand goals and how measurable they are.

How does the business stand out?
Ask how the franchisor works to differentiate their business from others in the marketplace. A good franchise brand should aim to be noticed, not just through its communication, but also in terms of its culture and the product it offers. For F45 franchisees, success often means getting the most out of what makes the brand unique and playing to its strengths.

Is there early support for franchisees?
The first few months to a year are often the most difficult for a new franchise. There are many difficult balls to juggle while getting a grips on a new business. The F45 network makes it easy for franchisees to get help and support for their first few months, but it’s always worth finding out how a franchisor partners with new franchisees during those vital early stages.

How is best practice shared?
A big win that a franchise can offer over a stand-alone business is the ability to draw on relevant examples of success. With almost two thousand studios across the globe, the F45 Training network offers a wealth of knowledge that can easily be accessed to find case studies applicable to any new market. It’s important to ask a franchisor how they share what works and what doesn't.

How is success measured and communicated?
At F45, it’s vital that franchisees share the business’ sense of purpose. Of course business success is key, but we also truly believe in changing lives for the better. You should ask any franchisor what success means for them and how they share business performance with their franchisees.

What’s been their biggest franchise disaster to date?
It’s not only through success that we learn—often, our mistakes and failures teach us more than when we win. The same is often true in business, and you can learn a lot by finding out about some of the franchisor’s flops and how the business reacted to them.

Stay curious.
Buying into a franchise concept is a big decision to make, and it’s almost impossible to do too much investigating and questioning before you sign. We hope this article gives franchisees something to think about before they decide on a franchise. Never stop asking those all important questions!

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/323423 

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