I joined Antal International 1 month ago in the new role of Sales and Marketing Assistant for the Franchise Division. As I am learning more about franchising every day, I took this opportunity with the ‘Better Business Magazine’ to understand more about what motivates our franchisees to strike out into business and make the decision to chose a franchise, over going it alone. I chose our franchisee of 15 months Salvatore Fernandez because he has a very interesting background and story to tell! Salvatore kindly took time out to join me for a coffee and answer these questions.
The Questions: Why did you choose the franchise method to start your own business? And why did you choose your particular franchise business?
I have been working in the hospitality sector for a long time, most of my career. After some 30 years of managing and owning hotels & restaurants, it was important for me to do something that utilised my knowledge of this industry and my network, but avoid some of the problems that you can face in firsthand working in the Hospitality industry. With the Antal International recruitment franchise, I am able to place people back into the hospitality sector, so it allows me to continue working in the same industry and increase my network. The other important advantage of joining Antal International is that I instantly became part of a global Network of business professionals which allows me to place people internationally. It is motivational to help companies become more successful because of the candidates I introduce to them and also to see the growth opportunity for candidates. After considering my business options, some careful research, led me to the conclusion that franchising would be the best and easiest solution for me as I would join a company with a great branding pedigree, who was already enjoying success and profitability and that has training and infrastructure around me. What is the key advice you would give to other prospective franchisees that are considering this kind of self-employment?
Don’t get swept along by the passion you feel for a certain brand, make sure you spend time doing due diligence. I would always advise people to invest time in researching the company and brand you intend to invest in. This research can take time, but it does minimise the risks and will help you to feel secure about your decision. That being said, don’t let this get in the way of making a decision. To be a business owner and enjoy the benefits and flexibility, you also need to be prepared to make a decision and take responsibility for the consequences, because sometimes things can go wrong. To quote Salvatore word for word:
“You have to go there, build your own business but also be prepared to lose.” How did you finance the purchase of your franchise? Did you find it difficult in today’s economic climate to raise the funds you needed?
I was lucky to have my own finances due to the selling of my hotel but what I would advise people is to prepare a solid and realistic business plan with clear objectives about the money you want to earn. Many credible franchisors will be able to provide bank contacts who will be able to help them with financing the franchise. Be realistic when writing your business plan, but also be aspirational about your targets. The most valuable advice for staying on target is to always remain positive, because it will breed more positivity and clients and colleagues will notice and reflect positivity back to you. Do you find that your franchisor is helpful with the running of your franchise operation?
My franchisor, Antal International has always been very helpful all the way through and I know that assistance is available to me whenever I need it. What is the main pitfall to watch out for when running a franchise?
The main pitfall is that sometimes people forget that they are still responsible for their work. Even if you work for a well known business brand, you are running your own business and you must take full responsibility for the way you manage your reputation and work. No matter what business you go into, you get out what you put in. It’s very important to remember this and stay motivated because the pressures and deliverables in running your own business come from different angles to those in employment.
 Can you offer any advice regarding the ideal terms that new franchisees should negotiate as part of their franchise agreement?
There’s no list of ideal terms I would like to see in an agreement, the only thing I would advise people is to negotiate whenever possible. My motto is that there is always a deal that can be done and you should always try to get the best. Ethical franchisors are more interested in building a long term relationship with their franchisees and will make their money through ongoing royalty payments, so my advice is to try to negotiate on the license fee.
 How do you see the franchise sector developing in the future?
There will always be people who may be a little apprehensive about launching their business alone and who will enjoy many benefits of being part of a supportive, tried and tested infra
So a final note from me is to thank Salvatore for his interview and helping me understand a bit more about the steps involved in making a decision to invest in a franchise!
Interview conducted and written by Constanze Kastner, Sales & Marketing Assistant, Antal International