If you are considering opening a franchise, there are many different factors you need to inform yourself about and consider. Because starting a franchise is a big decision, it pays to make the time investment upfront in terms of research before you take the plunge.

Successful franchisees have shared various strategies and tips for how they made their individual franchises successful. Here are just a few common tips from franchisees with experience that may help you as you evaluate whether now is the right time for you to do the same.

1. Understand the benefits of a Standard Operating Procedure

A Standard Operating Procedure, or SOP, forms the basis for most franchises. SOPs document and explain the processes of a business, step by step. Franchises rely on standardized procedures to ensure consistency across the brand in multiple locations and outlets. Once you understand the benefits of an SOP, you will be better equipped to use one when you open your franchise.

2. Prepare to navigate unexpected challenges and disputes

This is good advice for any small business owner, but particularly when you open a franchise, you need to be flexible and plan for the unexpected. Sometimes, disputes with the franchisor can arise during negotiations or after you have opened the franchise, and you need to be ready to face these disputes in a strategic way. Once you have invested yourself in a franchise, it is in your best interest to maintain a positive working relationship with the franchisor, and a dispute can threaten your livelihood.

3. Be strategic about choosing your franchise

There is a vast selection of franchises available nowadays, so you can – and should – be very choosy and particular about where you finally decide to invest your funds and devote your energy. You do not necessarily have to base your decision on the most profitable choice. Because this is going to be your daily business, it is also a good idea to select an industry or business you enjoy. Your franchise should also be one you can envision yourself growing with and that will work well in the location you have chosen.

Choosing a franchise is an important step in your entrepreneurial career. With the right amount of advance planning, you can lay the groundwork for a successful future.