Learn about the differences between starting a business from scratch and opening a franchise business.
Starting a business is an exciting venture. You get to be your own boss and call the shots with greater flexibility to control your work-life balance. But what’s the best way to launch into business ownership? Should you start your own business from scratch or buy a franchise? The short answer – it depends. Each has its own potential pitfalls and benefits. Which is best for you depends on your own personal values, goals and objectives. Here’s a look at a few of the differences between building your own business from the ground up and opening a franchise business.
Starting your own business can cost less than investing in a franchise, but most new businesses still require a decent amount of startup capital. Financing can be a big hurdle to clear and takes a lot of legwork. You may need to get funding from several sources requiring you to sell your idea over and over again. If this is your first time attempting to go into business for yourself, it can be difficult to anticipate how much money you will actually need to get your idea off the ground.
Franchise opportunities are available in a range of prices. When you buy a franchise, costs are outlined in the Franchise Disclosure Document. All upfront costs associated with opening the business and ongoing fees throughout the term of the contract agreement are included. An estimate of expenses to build out and equip the business as well as the reserve capital needed for the first three months of operation are included. Franchisors may also offer funding options themselves or may have a partnership with a financial institution to assist with financing.
For many entrepreneurs, the idea of being in control of every detail and decision is appealing. You get to develop your own products and services, decide what equipment to buy, choose your own suppliers, determine your own operating system and hire and train your own employees. You have complete autonomy over every aspect of your business.
When you buy a franchise, you pay a fee to open a business under the franchisor’s name and must adhere to their specifications and guidelines. This often includes your location, pricing, hiring and day to day operations. Each franchise brand has their own nuances and procedures, but the basics are the same. You’re given a guideline from start to finish. However, this lack of independence is offset by experience. Not only are you buying a business, but you’re buying an established and proven model along with the tools and resources you need to be successful. Most seasoned franchisors also provide training and guidance in addition to marketing and advertising support to help their franchisees promote their business.
Growing Your Brand
Starting a business from scratch requires building your own brand. It takes time to generate brand awareness, establish a reputation and develop a loyal customer base. A solid marketing plan that extends beyond launch to promote your brand is as essential as providing a quality product or service. Growing your brand as well as a profitable customer base often takes a considerable amount of time as an independent entity. It takes a lot of hard work and commitment, and the effort is essential to keep your business moving forward.
While you lose some independence as a business owner when you join a franchise network, you may have a quicker road to a return on investment. Along with the franchise name, you’re capitalizing on brand equity. You’re unable to make many changes, if at all, to the established business model of the franchise, but the tradeoff can be a faster increase in profit. Customers who patronize your business already know what to expect with product selection and quality because of previous experience with the franchise brand. You still have to acclimate new patrons to your location, but your affiliation with the franchisor provides a ready-made level of trust.
Every business has its challenges. Proactive problem solving and willingness to adapt are key. Startup owners must build their own support network of trusted mentors for advice. Ultimately, they must rely on their own skill to work through issues and get their business back on the right track.
Franchise owners have the support and guidance of the franchisor and entire franchise network. When you open a franchise business, you are never alone. From troubleshooting help to expert advice from someone who knows your business, franchising comes with a built-in safety net.
Your Own Path
Nothing in business is a sure thing. Whether you start your own business or invest in a franchise, there are no guarantees of success. Both require a lot of hard work, passion and drive. As the business owner you set the tone for the establishment you run, no matter whose name is on the door.