Three weeks to launch: become a franchise owner this month

Lower risk, the support of an existing brand, and no need for a business idea. But as important, franchising is also a very quick way to launch

Thousands of entrepreneurs choose franchising as their route from aspiring to actual business owner every year.

A franchise guarantees a tried and tested business model, the support of a national (and sometimes international) corporation, and the brand recognition of a big fish.

But there’s one benefit franchising boasts that’s often overlooked – speed to launch.

Whether you’re launching your business whilst in employment, wanting to maintain a healthy work/life balance, or simply itching to get started, the time it takes to launch a business from scratch can be a barrier. With its ‘business in a box’ format, franchising can see your pre-launch timeline shrink.

Explore your franchise options

Time required? One to three weeks

Finding the franchise that’s right for you will undoubtedly be the most important step in your process, and probably the most time intensive. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be strategic about it.

As a potential franchise owner, there’s one major time saver open to you that’s not available to other entrepreneurs – other franchise owners. When you zero in on the franchise option that appeals most, talk to other owners and get the inside track on the company.

Dependent on which franchise option you go for, this stage will have a big impact on your timeline – choosing franchises that require premises, specialist equipment and hiring staff will take longer to launch than a mobile business, for example.

Develop your franchise business plan

Time required? One to two weeks

The business plan is a crucial step in launching any business, franchise or otherwise. But by choosing a franchise, a substantial portion of the leg work involved may be covered for you. Much of the detail about the running of the business will come from the franchisor, and with potentially hundreds of near identical businesses across the country, market research should be a breeze. This step can also be streamlined by visiting a business advice service, such as Nwes.

Find funding to start a franchise

Time required? Less than a week

If you’ve done your research properly, a well-chosen franchise can be a much safer investment for lenders than a freeform business pitch. Not only that, but there are many funding options out there actively seeking to support franchises. The government-backed StartUp Loans scheme, delivered by Nwes, is one such example, offering fixed interest, easy to apply for finance to new businesses. With support of a programme like this, you can be financed within the week.

Complete your business skill-set

Time required? Less than a week

Even if your franchise package has laid out the financials for you, pre-prepared the marketing materials, or offered an HR cheat sheet, your business will be stronger if you take ownership of these skills. Joining a business support programme like Start & Grow, delivered by Nwes, can be done in a matter of minutes, and you’ll be well on your way to plugging any gaps in your knowledge.

The obligatory start-up paperwork…

Time required? A few days

There’s no getting around it. Paperwork features heavily for any start-up. But with a supportive franchise provider, the process can be streamlined. Support is also available from enterprise agencies such as Nwes, which can provide one-to-one business advice to help new starts fly through this stage.

Prepare to launch a franchise

Time required? A few days to a week

Allow some time for the unforeseen. Even in a pre-prepared business, there’ll be eventualities you need to work around. Giving yourself a buffer will mean launch day goes as smoothly as possible.

Letitia Cavanagh is Nwes area manager for Suffolk. To find out more about the StartUp Loans programme, Start & Grow or business support opportunities available in the East of England, head to the Nwes website today.

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