You have a booming business and you’re ready to expand. Maybe it’s time to consider growing your business through the franchise business model. While many people may think of franchising as limited to ‘fast food,’ franchises can be found in all sectors and industries – automotive, travel, senior care and health and fitness just to name a few. Franchising may be bigger than you think, too: there are approximately 1,200 franchise brands in Canada with more than 78,000 franchisees. Franchising can help businesses expand by having franchisees invest in the concept and open and operate locations under the business’ brand.

So, is your business ready to be franchised? A business that is suitable for franchising, no matter its product or service offering, has a history of success and a tried-and-true formula that will allow it to replicate that success in new location. Also, you must consider your own leadership skills and style. Are you prepared to work with other entrepreneurs (your future franchisees) and to provide them with the time, advice and initial and ongoing support they’ll need?

If you’re intrigued by franchising, here are a few other things to think about. While franchising allows a company to expand through franchisee investment instead of corporate investment, you will still need to be prepared to fund the upfront costs associated with becoming a franchised business. This includes developing training and operations manuals, disclosure documents, franchise agreements, franchisee recruitment kits, as well as registering trademarks and creating a financial model for your franchise. You’ll need to work with a team of franchise support services professionals, such as a franchise lawyer, consultant, marketer, banker and accountant, to help lead you through the process. Make sure that your team is made up of people who have experience and expertise in franchising. For example, a lawyer specializing in franchising will best be able to guide you through provincial franchise legislation, as well as assist in drafting your franchise agreement and other legal documents.

The Canadian Franchise Association (CFA) and its website, www.cfa.ca, offer a wealth of franchise information and ongoing educational programming. Participation in CFA programming is also a great way to meet and network with people experienced in the franchise sector. For instance, CFA’s ‘How to Franchise Your Business’ seminars provide information on franchising from experienced franchise professionals and successful franchisors.