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How to Assess Retail Franchise Opportunities

Once you’ve decided that entering the retail franchise space is the right move, it’s time to search for the right brand and business concept.

You'll need to evaluate and assess start-up costs, company values, corporate support, differentiators, as well as many other variables that will help you discover the franchise opportunity that will resonate with you.

To help streamline your research, we’ve compiled a list of factors to think about while assessing the right franchise opportunity for you.

1. Ensuring Your Choice is Within Your Budget

Whether you’re a first-timer or seasoned professional, one of the first things any potential franchisee should do is sit down and create a budget and compare that with the franchise brand’s investment fees.

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You can help narrow down your brand concept options by gaining a clear understanding of the initial start-up costs, the number of employees you will need to hire for the business to run smoothly, cost of supplies, permits and the franchise fee. Most franchisors disclose these fees on their franchising websites. Having a budget can put all the expenses into perspective and make for a smoother transition into becoming a franchisee.

2. How Much Creative License Does a Franchisee Get?

For certain people, having someone tell them how their business should be decorated and what color scheme they should stick to is a dream come true. Others value some degree of creative liberty to make their business their own and reflect their community.

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Most franchise brands like to keep their locations consistent, which ensures brand recognition with customers. Researching franchise brand policy on store design and the location’s décor can help weed out any you may find to be too restricting or too relaxed.

3. A Strong Corporate and Franchisee Support System

What some franchises may lack in the creativity department, they make up for strong, close-knit support systems from the corporate team and with fellow franchisees. Especially for first-time franchisees, you’ll notice there are different levels of support. The vast majority will have a well-structured manual featuring a step-by-step program to properly prepare new franchisees for their business-owning adventure.

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But some brands take support a step further by being available to answer calls at any time of day, no matter how small the concern. They may provide business coaching or consultants that regularly meet with franchisees to check on their business performance numbers. Be sure to get a firm understanding of how invested a franchisor is in making sure you’re successful as a business owner.

Look for franchises that offer training programs to any level of franchisee, aid in the planning and execution of location grand openings and make their corporate team readily available to address any issues you encounter.

4. How Do They Grab Consumer Attention?

How a brand markets themselves can say a lot about their business success. A fantastic reason to join the retail franchise space is the value of brand recognition. People are more likely to become customers when they recognize a store name. Some of your monthly fees as a franchisee will contribute to a national advertising fund and marketing strategies that will in turn be used in campaigns designed to bring the brand to greater prominence and drive traffic to your location.

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Take note of their policies on individual store marketing. For prospective franchisees who may not have a firm grasp on the latest digital and marketing technology, it’s important to find a franchise model that offers up help and advice on creating successful, brand-aligned content for your location.

5. Alignment with Brand Values

Finding a franchise brand that upholds values that you believe in is essential for any business owner. By aligning with brand values, you can be sure that going into work every day and creating a successful business will bring enthusiasm to your business.

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For example, many of the franchisees who invested in Plato’s Closet®, Once Upon A Child®, Music Go Round®, Play It Again Sports® and Style Encore® did so because of a belief in creating a greener and more sustainable industry and making sure their communities have access to high-quality products at an affordable cost. The retail industry is notorious for the amount of waste it produces, contributing to 20 percent of global wastewater and happens to be the world’s second-largest polluter. Winmark’s resale franchise brands offer a business model that combats these wasteful practices.

Ultimately, finding the right retail franchise opportunity is up to the individual. Joining a franchise is an exciting time, and taking the time to correctly assess and evaluate your options can ensure that you’ve made the right decision and are ready to sign your franchise agreement.

Learn more about the franchise opportunities with any of the five resale retail brands within Winmark’s portfolio by downloading our free franchise reports here!