Franchising provides a great route to wellness business ownership, but you must understand the pros and cons of franchising to avoid personal and financial disappointment.
Successful Franchising Candidates
Successful franchisees are motivated and tenacious. They have knowledge and experience in most or all areas of business management—sales, marketing, operations and financial management, and human resources.
Assess your skills, ability, and interest in each area. If you buy a franchise, you’ll need a plan to fill in your experience gaps— through franchisor training, complementary knowledge in your partners and staff, and self-education.
If you’re contemplating a franchise in an industry that’s new to you, educate yourself so that you can properly evaluate franchise opportunities.
Prepare your family for the personal and financial demands of a new business. Your business will come first, second and third while you establish it. Your income may be erratic at first.
You’ll have to raise the cash to invest in the franchise. This usually includes an initial franchise fee and startup costs. While you may be able to finance some costs, do not underestimate the initial investment or the cash reserve needed while the business becomes cash-positive.
Franchisors are companies that are primarily in the business of selling franchises.
Their product is the franchise package—the system of contracts, products, services, and operations procedures that they’ve created to ensure consistency across all locations and franchisees. Most good franchisors have experts that work closely with you on everything from pricing to maintenance procedures. They expect you to use the guidelines of the franchise system. Your innovations and ideas are normally channeled to the franchisor for future consideration. You may not have the latitude to implement them locally without franchisor approval.
Franchises may not the best choice if you prefer doing things your own way and want “the buck to stop with you” on business decisions. Franchises are like living in a planned community—the franchisor has already made many of the most important decisions.
Choosing Your Franchise
Wellness franchises include large and small health clubs, weight management centers, and nutrition and vitamin stores. Some franchises target customers with unique needs—for example, women over 40, kids, and people trying to lose weight. Some are very specialized. 0ne franchise offers 24-hour unstaffed access. Another focuses exclusively on Pilates.
You’ll want to look at franchises with a track record of successful franchisees. A well-recognized name appeals to customers and often improves resale potential. Look for companies focused exclusively on franchising. You don’t want your business to have to compete with company-owned stores.
Legal support from an experienced franchise attorney is key. You’ll want the right to easily renew and sell your franchise. You’ll also want an ownership interest.
Some franchisors focus more on selling new franchises than on supporting existing franchisees. Look for classroom training and well-done operations manuals, plus field-based specialists provided by the franchisor.
After narrowing down your list of potential franchises, interview existing franchisees to get their take on the franchisor. Politely approach customers and discuss their experiences.
Partial List of Wellness Franchises:
- General Nutrition Center (GNC)
- Jenny Craig Weight Loss Centre
- World Gym
- The Little Gym