Getting Started with Franchising

Paula Bedford | Managing Director | Begin Bright

Having worked closely with over 20 franchise companies in over 32 countries with different franchise models and business sizes I am often asked about the benefits of franchising, how to get started on the journey and what to be aware of when making this big decision.

My view is a simple one, franchising is a great opportunity to be your own boss. Franchising offers the independence and flexibility of being a small business owner whilst also being a part of a trusted and established brand network. All franchisees should be involved in  influencing, growing and enhancing the brand – and I truly believe being part of such a community is a great asset for a business owner and something that only a franchise model is able to provide.
 
Getting started on your franchise journey should involve a lot of research and due diligence to determine if a particular brand and business model is right for you.
 
To start the research process, I would strongly recommend visiting Franchise Exhibition events where you are able to see a number of businesses who are looking to expand. This is the perfect opportunity to talk to the franchisors team, ask lots of questions, add yourself to their contact list and pick up reading material. Also, there are often plenty of presentations from different organisations and business leaders that can help you to develop your understanding on the finer details of being a franchisee. Attending expos are a great way to build knowledge and networks, while exposing you to businesses and potential opportunities that you may not have previously considered. You’ll find each state in Australia has these types of events annually, as a minimum, and you can gain entry for a small fee or sometimes for free. In addition, there are also many franchising publications and organisations that you can access either in print or online to assist you. 
 
When considering what types of franchise business you would like to invest in, remember that you don’t necessarily need to have industry expertise as the brand should provide all the necessary training. Whether you decide you want to invest in a business you already have a passion for or something completely new, take your time in assessing if a business is right for you, your business goals and your lifestyle.
 
According to your own investment goals there are different ownership options available. For example, single unit ownership provides the opportunity to focus on a single site, while multiple site franchise ownership can be really beneficial for business minded people who want to leverage resources over a number of locations within a territory or territories. When you have narrowed down the business or brand that you are interested in, don’t be afraid to ask questions to potential franchisors. Ensure that the business you decide to invest in can support you with internal expertise including robust operations manuals and systems, learning tools, marketing, and support office functions such as IT. In addition, if the business requires subject matter knowledge, ensure that the franchisor demonstrates they’re up-to-date in their particular field, for example our Begin Bright franchisees are provided with tools, materials and resources compiled by our Early Years Education subject matter experts. 
 
When looking at which business to invest in, understanding the franchisors ownership and business structure is important. Begin Bright is owned by Cognition Education Group, a leading global provider of educational services. We are able to utilise their experienced team of educators, learning designers and infrastructure to enhance the strategy, the support and the opportunities we provide our Begin Bright franchisees.
 
It is also vital to understand if a franchisor has the right systems in place to ensure that the business is future proofed, giving you longevity to your investment. At Begin Bright, we use cloud based platforms that are flexible and user friendly so our owners can spend time where it matters, with their customers, developing their businesses and supporting the educational journey for our future generations. We also provide ongoing learning and development to support our partners to ensure we are supporting their needs whilst they are growing their own businesses. 
 
As part of your due diligence I also recommend speaking to small business owners, franchise owners and a franchisee from the brand you would like to invest in, especially if you have never owned a business before. It is hugely beneficial to speak with people who have prior experience. Although the franchisor will assist you in establishing your business, it’s important to gain your own understanding of what it takes to succeed including local marketing initiatives, social media and building links and networks in the local communities. There is a lot 
of information available online, one great support tool is the free Griffith University course that really helps in understanding what entering a franchise agreement means.
 
Franchising is an exciting and rewarding journey. There is a lot of information available to help you in the decision-making process. Whatever decision you reach always ensure you have taken independent legal and financial advice before making a commitment.
 
Paula Bedford is the Managing Director of Begin Bright - School Readiness and Primary Tutoring centres. Paula has a wealth of experience in franchise and operations management, having had various roles with international franchising brands.
 
Find out more about franchising with Begin Bright at: