A franchise can be a great opportunity for any entrepreneur who wants an assured fast-track to success without the risk, learning curve and general uncertainty that usually comes with starting a business from the ground up. This makes them very popular too, with a few extremely recognizable large brands having built up enormous market presence largely through successful application of the franchise model.
All too often, though, people choose to buy into a franchise on a whim, for reasons as simple as liking the franchise’s product. This isn’t the best foundation on which to start any type of business, but with franchises at least, you have a good chance of getting off to a running start if you ask the right questions first.
Here are 10 of the most important things to consider when buying a franchise.
1 – How much capital is required?
The purchase price of a franchise can vary widely, but also make sure you are clear on whether this figure also covers other capital expenses, such as real estate, vehicle purchase and shop fit-out. Sometimes the initial fee only covers buying the right to trade under the brand – with everything else an added cost.
2 – What are the financing options?
Many banks offer attractive franchise lending packages worth up to 70% or more of the franchise cost, easing pressure to finance against home equity and other personal assets. However, you should make sure you closely evaluate all options as the wrong decision could cost you dearly.
3 – Is there market demand?
Is there strong consumer demand for the franchise product or service, and is that demand set to continue? As part of this, you should also evaluate competitors, and measure the quality of their product against that of the franchise you are interested in.
4 – What’s the franchise’s track record?
A little digging online can tell you a lot about the franchise’s reputation and business record. It can also reveal whether there are any past or present legal judgments against them. Also, speak with an existing franchisee if possible.
5 – What legal agreements are required?
Before you sign on the dotted line, make sure you’ve run the agreement by a legal professional with franchise experience. And you shouldn’t feel pressured to sign – if that’s the case, you should probably walk the other way.
6 – Does the franchisor have a good marketing program?
See if you can take a close look at the methods the franchisor uses to research new and existing markets. As a franchisee, will you be privy to marketing information, and get training that is specific both to the industry and your business.
7 – What support do they offer beyond initial training?
A good franchisor won’t abandon you after the initial week of orientation. They should be genuinely interested in your ongoing success, and help you develop a business plan.
8 – What is their selection criteria?
Do they have a selection criteria, and how stringent are they really? What are the education and/or training requirements, and is there an “ideal” franchisee they have in mind?
9 – What’s the success rate?
In other words, how many of the franchisees are still in business – and importantly, still happy – after the first two years?
10 – How are conflicts resolved?
If a procedure or policy rubs you the wrong way, what guidelines and mediation processes do they have? Is there any room for original ideas or innovation?
With commitment, a franchise can be the road to a great lifestyle and a very comfortable living. Just make sure you ask the right questions first. You’ll be very glad you did!
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Studying in college is hard for everyone, but ESL learners arguably suffer the most. Moving to a foreign country, learning a new language, and keeping pace with the rest of the class may seem like an unbearable burden. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed, but you have to pull through and not give up.
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Control Your Environment
Improving your language skills is all about constant practice. Living in an English-speaking community is the first thing you should do to start your practice. It might be tempting to surround yourself with people who already speak a familiar language. However, this way, you won’t be practicing English on a daily basis.
You need to make those lessons almost intuitive in a way that you don’t have to do anything to learn the language. If you live in an English-speaking community, for example, if your roommate speaks English, you will have to practice the language, whether you want it or not.
Still, make sure you don’t take it too far. Taking care of yourself is still as important as ever. Feeling like an alien for the sake of education is not worth it. Remember to keep in touch with your friends and family, talk to them as often as necessary.
Practicing language is not just about doing your homework. You can make practicing English a normal part of your daily routine by watching TV, listening to music, and reading books in this language.
Yet, this is a bit tricky. When being surrounded by white noise, people tend to learn not to notice it. You need to ensure this doesn’t happen. As you watch movies or read books, maintain your attention on what you’re doing. If you hear or see a word that you don’t understand – translate it and write it down. Be mindful and remember what you’re doing this for.
Writing Is The Answer
If you want to specifically learn to write, you need to do one thing, and that is to write. Continuous practice will help you understand what mistakes you often make and, in time, eliminate them. Focus on your goal, and don’t get discouraged when something’s not working. After all, even Rome wasn’t built in a day!
Get a journal and write in it daily. Pick a new topic every time and note everything you can think of. It’s also important that you write by hand, a spelling checker in your computer is tempting, but it will not help you remember how to spell words correctly.
Besides, journaling as a habit has multiple health benefits, and it can be therapeutic. It can help you get in touch with yourself and process your emotions better.
Learn In a Group
It’s proven that learning in a group is more efficient due to the sense of competition. Find a bunch of like-minded people who want to study with you or join an already existing one, like a speaking club.
The benefit of such activities is that you get all these people from entirely different backgrounds who are all good at various things. This will help you exchange experiences, which is impossible if you’re alone.
Schedule regular meetings, come up with topics to discuss and activities to do. You could watch videos or movies together, or talk about common things. Having assignments like describing an event can also be beneficial for the entire group. This way, while one person speaks, the rest think about how they would say the same things differently.
This will help you feel more confident in your skills and, consequently, speak and write better.
The most important thing about learning a language is not to be afraid of making mistakes. It’s inevitable; you just have to take it as a natural part of a learning process.
A child that is learning how to walk doesn’t give up after falling once, and you shouldn’t either. It’s most likely that your friends understand that you’re just learning a language, and they won’t laugh at you for misusing a word or a few.
Get over that fear of error and make as many mistakes as it will take. Treat it lightly, and don’t beat yourself up for it. On the other hand, try to attend as many events as you can that will expose you to the foreign language. Not only will it boost your English skills, but also improve your social confidence!
Learning a language is hard; there’s no arguing about that. However, it’s going to get easier with time. Take every hard thing that life throws at you and turn it into a lesson.
Watch your favorite movies in English, converse with native speakers, and you’ll see the improvement very soon!
Remember to be patient about it. Don’t give up, and don’t beat yourself up over something that you have so little control of. Good luck!
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