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5 Things to Expect In Your First Your First Year as a Franchisee

The first year of any business is often the hardest. If you are planning to buy a franchise of any sort, here are the things you can expect to happen in your first year.

The franchise model offers a ton of benefits for business owners and investors, including a proven system of operations and an already recognized name. That said, a lot of franchisees expect their businesses to take off from the first day even before they experience what it’s like to handle the franchise–a big mistake that you should avoid from day one.

Just like any other business, franchises require a lot of hard work, dedication, and perseverance. Whether you are buying a healthcare business franchise or a food service franchise, here are some things you can expect from your first year of operations:

1. You will have to put in work

Franchisors have gone through years of building their brand in order to come up with the most ideal system. When you buy a franchise, you are not only getting this proven system, but you are also getting the name recognition that the brand has built throughout the years. With that in mind, you’re probably thinking: “The work has already been done for me, so I don’t have to do much else.” But this type of thinking is what can hinder your growth in the first place.

Even if a franchise is basically a ready-to-operate business, you still have to put in a lot of time and effort into it. You have to learn and understand how the system works, which can only be achieved through continuous learning and adequate training. Furthermore, you have to actually be there at the business so that you can ensure its operating as it should. It’s not as simple as paying for the business and letting the franchisor run it, so expect that you will have to put in the work.

2. You are going to be busy

A business owner is at their busiest during the first year of operations since you’re going to be learning the system and getting the business off the ground at the same time. Hence, you must be prepared for long days and sometimes even longer nights. You also have to be ready in case you have to sacrifice your personal time for the sake of your business, but keep in mind that it’s not always going to be that way.

If you can’t commit most, if not all, of your time to the franchise, then it may not be the right time to buy one.

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3. You will face adversity

The old adage “Expect the unexpected” cannot be truer for businesses, especially franchises. Even if franchises are generally less risky than businesses started from scratch, you still have to be ready to face adversities along the way, especially during the first year. Moreover, you’re still learning how to grip the reins in a business that you may not be entirely familiar with. Hence, expect problems to arise every once in a while, and be proactive in avoiding them.

4. There may be unexpected expenses

The spending doesn’t stop when you pay the franchisor. When you run a franchise, there will be unexpected expenses along the way; expenses that you have to have cash reserves for. Therefore, you have to ensure that you have built up a healthy emergency fund before buying the franchise. Otherwise, you may find yourself in a crushing financial pinch in case something happens.

5. The franchise may not be successful

The franchisor will likely have wooed you with promising projections and impressive proposals. But should you expect your business to be as successful as they say it will be in the first year? Definitely not. There are a lot of factors that can affect your business success, particularly in the first year, such as:

  • The timing of your launch
  • The location of your business
  • Your employees
  • Your crisis response
  • The initial capital
  • The business expertise of the franchisor
  • Your own skills and experience

Will you be able to achieve your goals in the first year? Possibly, with the right direction and management. Should you expect the franchise to be successful right away? No, you’re better off being realistic than overly optimistic.

Buying a franchise can have a great return on investment. However, you shouldn’t go into it blind, even if you see all the other franchisees of the company being successful. So be ready, expected the unexpected, and listen to your gut. During the first year of operations, all of your hard work will eventually pay off.

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