3 Steps to Financing Your HTP Franchise
So you’ve been considering an HTPro franchise for some time now. You’ve done your research, talked to your family, crunched some numbers and it looks as though this ambitious and exciting dream of being your own boss can work!
Then you hit the money wall. Starting any business costs money. You’ve got your franchise fee to think of, of course. But there’s also all those other set-up costs which need to get paid. Even if you know those costs are only temporary, it’s still a big hurdle to clear.
In this article, we’re going to give you some financial tips on how to make your franchise dream a reality.
Step 1: Take stock of your financial situation
This first step might sound pretty intuitive but it’s easy to forget when you get caught up in the excitement of setting out on a new business venture.
It’s really important to know your current financial situation.
You’ll need this information at your fingertips, not just because it’s a vital building block for making a solid business plan but also because it’s the first thing potential lenders will ask for.
No surprises on this one, but your credit score is a really important number when you’re thinking about a loan to get a new business off the ground. The better your score the more favorable the terms you’re likely to be offered.
HTPro is looking for a minimum credit score of 650, but of course the higher it is the more options you’ll have with financial institutions.
If your credit score is going to need a bit of work, Investopedia offers great advice on how you can work to pump it up.
Your net worth is another metric you’ll definitely need when talking to any financial institution about a loan.
You can calculate net worth simply by adding up all your assets (your cash, your house, vehicles and so forth) and subtracting your total liabilities (outstanding loans and projected bill payments, for example).
Your Liquid capital is your cash on hand. This is the money you have in your bank, ready to flow into your business. You’ll need liquid capital for expenses associated with starting your business such as initial franchise fee, advertising, set up costs and so forth.
Your liquidity is going to have a big impact on your business plan, especially in the early stages of set up.
The more liquidity you have, the greater your capacity to become established, operational and viable. HTPro requires a minimum of $25,888 in liquid capital.
Your liquidity ratio is really just a way of calculating how long you can cover your business and personal expenses, assuming no additional income. It provides essential timeframe data you’ll need when setting up your business plan.
You calculate your liquidity ratio by dividing your assets (at the point of planning a business this will be your liquid assets) and dividing it by your projected monthly liabilities (or expenses).
For example, if you had a cash liquidity of $75,000 and projected monthly liabilities of $7,500 your liquidity ratio would be 10. Your liquidity ratio is telling you that you can meet all expenses with no additional income for 10 months.
These four figures will equip you with a solid understanding of your financial situation. It’ll also place you in a good position to speak with potential lenders. Armed with this information, you can also move on to the next vital step in preparing yourself for an HTPro franchise - building a business plan.
Step 2: Build your business plan
Like your financial figures, your business plan is vital both as a plan for your own business rollout and as proof of your strategy and rationale to potential lenders.
There are many excellent resources out there to guide the process. A great place to start is Investopedia’s guide to writing a business plan. This excellent ten-step resource guides you through the whole process, from “soup to nuts” as they say in the classics.
Your typical business plan will include:
- A financial analysis of the assets and resources you’ll need to launch your business, an estimate of your operating costs and projected revenue.
- An assessment of your current industry, including a detailed analysis of the market and the marketing strategies you intend to use. Entrepreneur.com provides this excellent guide to conducting a marketing analysis.
- An organizational and operational plan which describes how you intend to structure your business and how you intend to execute your business plan.
While the idea of developing such a rigorous and analytical plan may seem intimidating at first, remember that it’s not something you need to develop overnight. In fact, done right, this kind of document will be the result of many conversations and a lot of careful research over time.
Step 3: Think carefully (and creatively) about financing
So, you have your financial position clearly defined and a well-developed business plan describing how you’ll help your business grow and flourish.
The next step, for the vast majority of us, is securing a loan to finance your endeavor. Of course, your bank is the obvious place to look for that loan, but it may not be the best place to start. Here are some other options you may wish to consider before contacting your bank manager.
While the idea of securing a loan from family and friends might seem less “legitimate” somehow than a standard loan, it’s actually an extremely common way for startup businesses to secure that much-needed influx of funds.
The obvious advantage of this is that you’re borrowing money from someone who knows and trusts you and has an emotional interesting in seeing you succeed! Despite what those glossy bank brochures say, you’d be hard pressed to find that level of goodwill from a financial institution.
Yes, there are also downsides. Many people are hesitant to enter a borrowing arrangement with family members and loved ones for fear of introducing stress to those relationships. However, with the right planning, mindset, and professionalism these risks can be accounted for and sidestepped.
As with all things, knowledge is power, so here’s a useful guide for your perusal on how to borrow from family and friends the right way. You might also like to check out this guide to promissory notes, which even includes a template you can use to formalize loan terms with a loved one.
You may also want to consider your 401k
Using part of your 401k retirement fund to fund a franchise venture is not a small decision, for obvious reasons. Nevertheless, it can be a smart move in the right circumstances.
By using your retirement funds you’re using your money. In other words, you’re avoiding debt and interest rates. This article on inc.com is an informative walkthrough on the benefits and the potential risks.
We also recommend you talk to a financial adviser to see if this is the right step for you.
Some final thoughts on getting your franchise off the ground
Taking the leap and starting your own franchise business is a big deal. There’s a lot to think about, many numbers to crunch and there’s also the emotional dimension of thinking about the risks and rewards. Hopefully, the above tips will give you some practical places to begin that process.
In closing, here are a few final pieces of advice we can offer.
Leave yourself a buffer
Yes, starting a franchise is one of those decisions in life which requires a huge outlay of energy and emotional investment. In an emotional and psychological sense, launching a new business isn’t a nine to five proposition. In the initial stages, it’ll take blood, sweat, and tears to give your dream its wings.
While all that’s true, from a financial standpoint it’s every bit as important to exercise some fiscal prudence. Make sure you have room in your budget for things to go wrong. Have a little set aside if your car breaks down unexpectedly. Be sure you have money set aside to get take-out on those nights where you’re too tired to think about cooking.
In other words, by all means, put in almost everything you’ve got mentally and emotionally, but leave yourself room to maneuver fiscally.
This is a marathon, not a sprint
Finally, making a business work doesn’t require that every day of your working life be an adrenaline-fueled pursuit of perfection. There’ll be days when your plans don’t come together. You’ll have moments where you’ll wish you had a free pass for a do-over. We strongly encourage you to ask yourself the following question; do I have the “fire in my belly” to wake up every morning, pull myself out of bed and do something that will make my new franchise successful? If you are unsure about the answer to that question perhaps you should rethink taking this path. We can give you the tools and operating system you need to be successful, but we cannot do it for you.
Speaking from our own hard-won experience, that is all part of it. It is not going to be easy. If you keep persisting and learning, then what was hard in month three will become a piece of cake by month twelve.