When you decide to become a franchise partner, you have lots of work to do before ever buying the business.

Start by building a team of advisers to help you find the right franchise fit. Here are the most important people to connect with and have on your team:

Lawyer. Choose a legal adviser who has expertise in franchise law. He or she will be an invaluable asset when you need to review legal paperwork, including a company’s franchise disclosure document.

Accountant. You will need skilled advice on keeping accurate tax records, managing your cash flow, paying bills and compensating your employees. Make sure your accountant has experience in federal and state tax rules for the type of business you choose.

Financial Planner. Does the franchise business model fit with your short- and long-term money goals? A financial planner can help analyze whether the franchise you choose will put you on the path to achieving those goals, while maintaining the lifestyle you enjoy.

Loan Officer. Many people don’t have cash on hand to pay all the costs associated with opening a franchise. A lending officer can help you learn about funding options. The Small Business Administration (SBA) has a variety of loan programs and lists franchisors such as SYNERGY HomeCare who meet criteria for small business loans under the SBA guidelines.  

When you’re ready to move forward, the SBA offers help for writing a business plan.

Franchise Representative. When you narrow your list of potential franchises, a company representative will be happy to talk to you.  Your initial conversation should help steer you toward learning more about the franchise or toward investigating another company.

Current Franchise Partners. The truest sense of how the operation runs will come from people already doing what you’re thinking about doing. The franchisor will give you contact information for current franchisees and those who left the system in the prior year.  But dig deeper– ask to be connected with current franchisees who are similar to you in age, life stage, business background, geography, and/or family dynamic.

Making these connections before you invest will help give you confidence in your final franchise choice. If you choose the right team, you can turn to your advisers again and again as you work to grow and develop your business.