Considering a new franchise opportunity? The new year is a great time to start looking at your options.

Think about the industries that excite you, and where you see yourself staying for quite some time. Are you a fitness fan? A automotive aficionado? A fast food connoisseur?

Whatever your chosen flavour of franchise, it’s important to remember that a business opportunity is a long-term venture that will require a fair bit of activity juggling. It is critical that you choose an industry that you are personally attracted to and happy to put the work into.

Melissa Haywood, head of Vistaprint Australia believes having a healthy business relationship is key to staying on track.

“Your relationship with your business can often mirror the relationships in your personal life,” she said.

“It’s crucial you give the relationship with your business the same attention and effort you would your significant other or best friend.”

We sat down with the small business expert to discuss the simple steps all aspiring franchisees can take to get off on the right foot. If you’ve earmarked 2020 as your year to get the entrepreneur train rolling, take a look at these five ways to kick-start your franchise.

1. Create a franchise vision board.

“Having an ‘aspiration’ board in plain sight at work is a constant reminder of why you’re doing what you’re doing,” Haywood said.

Whether it be stronger work/life balance, greater control of your financial future or self-fulfilment, you must be able to articulate and visualise your ‘why’. It might be just the thing you need to help keep the negative thoughts out when those dreaded quiet days come.

“When you look over and see what you’re working towards, you’ll be reminded of why you are grafting now – to reap the rewards later,” she said.

2. Create personalised content calendars.

Create a personalised calendar of everything on the agenda for 2020. That way, you know what you are working towards and what steps you need to put in place in order to meet those deadlines.

“Hanging this near your desk or printing in a large size for your wall will not only inspire you to fill it with networking events, client dinners and brainstorm sessions, but it will also help you to plan, forecast and see the bigger picture,” Haywood said.

Remember also to schedule some time for rest and self-care – and stick to it.

3. Keep your workspace organised.

It sounds counter-intuitive, but keeping your workspace clean and organised can help you respect and love your work tremendously.

“It’s easy to become frustrated and un-focused when you’re surrounded by overflowing folders, scattered documents, and messy inboxes. Make your office supplies your secret weapon in creating a clean, zen work space.”

4. Fostering your support networks

Reaching out for support is not just something you should do when times get tough. The constant flow of communication between you and your existing network is one of the key benefits of the franchise model.

Use the lines of communication you have between your franchisor and other franchisees to proactively address certain problems or issues you may have. Remember, that is why they are there!

But aside from simply relying on the established frameworks, Haywood suggests building a professional support network outside the franchise space, giving you an unbiased view for you to draw from.

“Having a mentor is crucial in gaining well-rounded advice in times of stress. Ensure you’re equipped with up-to-date business cards and contact details, as you never know when you might meet someone important,” she said.

Keep a few business cards in your wallet, you can never be too prepared.

5. Be realistic about your goals.

Setting too many arduous goals for the year ahead can feel daunting when it should feel exciting.

Haywood said instead of aiming for the stars, you should set yourself three to five realistic and attainable goals to create a domino effect of wins.

“Be sure your business mission and vision is clear in you and your team’s mind, and that every goal set reverts back to these,” she said.

Buying a franchise in 2020

If you want to take control of your future and become your own boss, buying a franchise is the perfect way to streamline the process.

Consider your options, consult with a franchise lawyer and account and be sure to do your due diligence. If you follow these steps, you sure to be on firm footing when it comes to launch day.

Ready to start the journey? Take a look at all available franchise opportunities here.