Steer issue 24 July 2019 - Page 19

Getting the most from
professional advisors
Believe it or not, there is a time when you do need
accountants, lawyers and other consultants. You need people
from strict disciplines to help you develop the business plan,
explain the franchise agreement and even offer objective
advice as to which of your chosen franchises they feel might
suit your circumstances best. So, once you have selected your
preferred franchise – and even when you are down to the last
couple – it is time to call in the professionals
All franchisors want successful, highly motivated
franchisees because it is good for the franchisees, good for
the franchisors and good for the credibility of the brand. To
this end, a good franchisor will recommend that you speak to
the professionals. When it comes to finding the right support,
the British Franchise Association (BFA) can advise you on
who is affiliated and thus are a good first port of call.
One of the key areas where it’s worth seeking the help
of an advisor is when it comes to the ins and outs of the
franchise agreement. As this is a legal document, you need to
understand exactly what obligations you are taking on: to do
that you need an experienced franchise lawyer to advise you.
In light of this, please don’t use a lawyer who specialises in
divorce law, property law or, heaven forbid, is a ‘mate’ – they
will almost certainly know little about franchising. With the
complexity of the modern franchise agreement, you really do
need a specialist.
Another area where professional advice can prove
invaluable is when you’re putting your business plan
together. My advice would be to do this in conjunction with
an accountant – and an accountant who has experience of
franchising. It is always useful to have somebody with you
who can make sure your projections are sound and that
you can achieve the income levels you aspire to. Running
a successful business requires experience, skill, drive and
determination and a decent accountant can help you to
generate a better return – even in a successful franchise
Do remember though that advisors can only advise:
ultimately it is up to you to decide how to proceed. As such,
once you’ve spoken to the lawyer and accountant, this will be
the time to step back and review all the information you’ve
gathered. Considering all the advice and guidance you’ve
received, are you up to the challenge? Can you afford it? Can
you take the pressure? Are you confident in the franchisor?
Most importantly, can you see you and your family enjoying
Professional advisors will help you understand the small
print; they can assess the investment objectively and they
will prepare and evaluate business plans. However, remember
advisors are only as good as the brief you give them:
ultimately the decisions and the
consequences are yours and
yours alone.
Nigel Toplis is managing director of The Bardon
Group. Contact him on Tel: 01530 513300 or
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