BC-What's In a Name: BMO Study Reveals 'Brand Power' Attracts Franch

(http://www.bmo.com/)

BMO Bank of Montreal released a study of Canadian franchisees that

indicates brand recognition and access to a large support network

provide the greatest advantages to owning a franchise.

The survey, conducted by Leger Marketing, also asked franchise owners

why they selected franchising over starting their own business(i):

-- Appeal of training and central support - 29 per cent;

-- Proven business model - 24 per cent;

-- Predictable start-up costs -14 per cent; and

-- Lack of experience in owning a business - 14 per cent.

"Franchising is enjoying continued growth in North America," said

Joseph Pisani, National Manager, Franchising, BMO Bank of Montreal.

"For Canadians who are seeking to start their own business, a

franchise may be the best route to increase their chances for success.

As part of a major franchise network, an owner can expect to benefit

from professional marketing, national advertising, specialized

training and centralized purchasing."

"Supported by healthy job growth and low interest rates, April 2012

sales at Canadian retailers - excluding automotive dealers and

gasoline stations - picked up to a 2.2 per cent year-over-year rate,

from 1.5 per cent in 2011," said Sal Guatieri, Senior Economist, BMO

Capital Markets. "However, sales are expected to remain moderate in

the year ahead, as consumers rein in elevated debts and take advantage

of the strong Canadian dollar to shop abroad."

According to Mr. Pisani, all potential franchise owners should do

their homework before investing. "BMO can assist with the

investigation process by helping clients ask the right questions of

the franchisor," added Pisani.

If you are thinking about franchise ownership, BMO highlights ten key

issues of franchising that you should investigate first.

1. Who's buying what you are selling?

-- Is there strong consumer demand, and is the demand expected to continue?

-- Who are your competitors, and could more enter the market in the next

few years?

-- Is the product or service of outstanding quality, and how does its

quality compare to the competition?

2. Do your research

-- What's the story on the franchisor's business record and reputation?

-- Have you contacted government consumer protection agencies, Canadian

Franchise Association and your local Better Business Bureau?

-- Is the franchisor's infrastructure comprehensive and stable?

3. Read the fine print

-- Have you reviewed the franchise agreement with an independent lawyer who

specializes in franchise law?

-- Are the terms of the agreement in line with your expectations?

-- Does it cover the challenges you will face in running an independent

business?

4. Do they have staying power?

-- Is the franchisor financially strong and stable?

-- What is the background and experience of senior management?

-- Does the franchisor make available a "Disclosure" document?

5. What does it cost and what do you get for it?

-- How is the franchisor compensated?

-- What does the franchise fee cover?

-- What do you receive in exchange for on-going royalty payments?

6. What's in it for them?

-- Does the franchisor own the land or building?

-- Is the franchisor prepared to go on the lease?

-- Will the franchisor provide you with financial assistance?

7. Is there room to grow?

-- What is the franchisor's plan for expansion and target markets for

growth?

-- Will your franchise be located where the traffic and demand are likely

to be?

-- Are you assured of exclusive rights to the franchisor's product and

service?

8. Will you have the research, tools, and support you need?

-- Does the franchisor thoroughly research new markets using reliable and

credible market research methods?

-- Will you, as a potential franchisee, have access to marketing and

product information regarding your industry as well as your specific

business?

-- Will the franchisor assist you in the development of your business plan?

9. Do you fit the profile?

-- What kind of people is the franchisor looking for as potential

franchisees?

-- Is there a typical franchisee profile?

-- Is there any special training, educational or other requirements the

franchisor would ask of you?

10. Get the big financial picture

-- What is the total cost, including staffing, equipment, inventory,

leasehold improvements, taxes, advertising and promotion?

-- What is the minimum cash commitment you must make?

-- Has the franchisor established a pre-arranged financial services program

for franchisees with a financial institution?

The survey conducted by Leger Marketing was completed between March

21, 2012 and April 12, 2012 with a sample of 500 Canadian business

owners. A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of

error of +/-4.38%, 19 times out of 20.

(i)asterisk denotes small sample size

About BMO Financial Group

Established in 1817 as Bank of Montreal, BMO Financial Group is a

highly-diversified North American financial services organization.

With total assets of $526 billion as at April 30, 2012, and more than

47,000 employees, BMO Financial Group provides a broad range of retail

banking, wealth management and investment banking products and

solutions.

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