Entrepreneurship is risky, but owning a franchise allows you to share the risk of entrepreneurship while securing, to some degree, help and guidance in your venture. Here are five steps to help you get started on the right foot.

1. Do YOUR Due Diligence

This is still your business and therefore your responsibility. Being backed by a successful company does not guarantee your success, you still have to do the work. Thoroughly research out the opportunity and determine if it’s a good one. What is the company’s success rate? What help do they offer their franchise owners? Is it in a good location? How much will this opportunity cost and can I afford it?

Be honest about whether or not you can fully commit the time, money and sweat equity into owning a franchise before getting started because if the business fails, you lose your money. The big business will still be a big business.

2. Form a LLC

Outside of the tax advantages, forming a legal entity protects you and your business in the face of a lawsuit. Many franchisor require their owners to form a LLC prior to signing the franchise agreement.

3. Inquire and Apply

Franchising information is often found on the company’s website and plainly state the requirements and qualifications necessary to become a franchise owner.

After applying online, you can expect the franchisors to inspect your credit, run a background check and possibly reach out for further verification in regards to your assets and finances. If the franchisor believes you may be a good candidate they will likely invite you to “Discovery Day”. This is a great time to ask questions and determine if this company is a good fit for you.

If all goes well you will receive the franchise agreement for you to review. If you agree to the terms and all is well, you can move forward.

4. Finance Your Franchise

Franchisors may offer in house financing as a way to help franchisees. Their financing option often come with several perks including waiving the franchising fee.

If you decide to seek outside financing, traditional banks tend to favor franchise owners. Approval is based on your personal credit, credentials and finances; however, the company’s reputation has a positive effect on approval rates. You still have to present business and financial plans to show them that you can afford to take this risk as well as to banks when seeking any kind of business loan.

5. Keep Working

The work doesn’t stop just because you got approved. Follow the guidelines, hire good people and put in the work to make your business a success.

A strong big brand name backing you does not guarantee success. We all have that one particular someplace somewhere that we would rather not go because the people aren’t friendly or they’re unorganized. Stick through the process and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.