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What the First Year of Franchise Ownership Looks Like

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Time concept image of a signpost against a blue cloudy sky indicating one year split into months, weeks, days, hours, minutes and seconds.
Time concept image of a signpost against a blue cloudy sky indicating one year split into months, weeks, days, hours, minutes and seconds.
RTimages/Getty Images/iStockphoto

One of the most exciting things you can do is own a franchise. But, while you might have talked to other franchise owners in your pursuit of your next franchise adventure, the first year of franchise ownership is not often the top discussion topic.

The first year of owning a franchise looks different than the rest. As you bring this baby of an idea to life in your community and use your new franchise to serve your friends, family, and neighbors, you’ll go through a wealth of ebbs and flows. Before that first year kicks off, as soon as you sign the Franchise Disclosure Agreement, it’s a good idea to know what’s in store.

Finding Your Location

Before breaking ground, you must know where you’ll be setting up shop. Many franchise owners enter into their franchise agreement with an idea of where they want to do business, yet it’s not until you finalize the agreement that you will find the storefront.

Finding a location is a crucial part of this puzzle. Having a good site can be expensive, but it also has the potential to bring in more cash flow and revenues. Secure a good location as soon as possible in that first year, so you can move faster to get your doors open and turn that cashflow spigot.

If you have a digital franchise, you’ll still need to find your location, albeit online. Commit to understanding the process from a customer’s perspective online. This understanding will help refine how you communicate your new franchise when doors open to offer a more seamless experience.

Corporate Training

While your location is under construction, you’ll be building your skillset as a new franchisee. Many corporations will fly you to their corporate headquarters to learn the ins and outs of that particular franchise. Once done, you’ll also receive ongoing training to learn how to get your business off the ground quickly and effectively.

Opening Your Doors

Once it’s opening day, you’ll have a wealth of knowledge under your proverbial belt. This knowledge will help you spread your message throughout the community that your doors are open. Plant yourself in the center of your kickoff party, meet the community patronizing your business and make connections to fuel your growth. Regardless of your industry, having those connections will be paramount to your success in the first year.

Building Loyalty Through Immersion

Sometimes, franchise owners can build their businesses from their desks. However, many others benefit from being in the trenches. For example, if you own a gym, working out in your gym is a good idea. If you own a franchise in the restaurant industry, it’s wise to eat there regularly. Keeping your boots on the ground allows you to establish lasting relationships and hear from customers about what they need. This perspective will help you change staffing, systems, and service to your community.

The first year is full of buzz, excitement, and swift progress. Soak up the experience as you enter into a new phase of franchise ownership, and get ready for a year full of exciting lessons learned and new opportunities gained.

Kimberly Crossland is the founder of Roadpreneur and Cruisin' + Campfires, two companies designed to keep families together and living in freedom through travel and entrepreneurship. The goal of both businesses is to inspire meaningful change through the power of a strategic, thoughtful approach to life and business. In her free time, you can find her looking for a new adventure together with her two boys.

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