A good franchise business plan sets the course for success.

Your franchise business plan is just the starting point of the journey

Is there a difference between a regular business plan and a franchise business plan?  My business partner and I were thinking about starting a franchise. Most of the sample business plans we find are for start-up businesses.

Developing a franchise business plan

A franchise business plan does not necessarily differ from any other business plan, but in theory, the franchise business plan should be easier to develop. If there are numerous franchisees in the system you have the possibility of gathering needed information from those sources. An independent start-up requires more investigation as you’re on your own, and always remember, any business plan requires you to take some pretty hefty guesses regarding the future, including with a franchise.

All business plans require thought and effort, but in the case of a franchise, the business is a known quantity in terms of purchases, leases, employees, etc. And again, other franchisees are available for input regarding start-up and sales history. If the franchise you are considering is posted on the Small Business Administration’s Franchise Registry this is a major plus for lenders… if money is available to you at all.

Franchisors and the franchise business plan

If you are fortunate enough to have chosen a franchise that publishes an Item 19 or FPR, which is a financial performance representation, you are even better off. Not every franchisor publishes a financial performance statistics, but most good offerings do offer some information in their franchise disclosure documents. By the way, generally we would not recommend purchasing a franchise without an FPR. Just something to keep in mind.

And last, understand that any business plan is only a navigation tool good at the start of the journey. Its like an athletic competition. One can train and practice and strategize right up to game time. Then things can happen that were never expected and to win, you make adjustments. Business and franchising are no different.