Small business owners often have several comforting factors in place when opening a franchise. Besides the brand recognition attached to the business name, a franchise also comes with practices and procedures already in place, and an extensive support network of fellow locations.

Despite these built-in advantages, not all franchises become successful businesses. Many factors are responsible for franchise failures, but the franchisee shouldn’t be one of them.

If you are hoping to join a franchise, here are five tips designed to help put your new business on a path to prosperity.

Find a franchise that fits your skills and personality, not just your passions

You may love golf, but that’s not a great reason to open a franchise that sells golf equipment and apparel. Ironically, such a move may even end up taking the fun and freedom out of your initial passion. The better approach is to make an honest appraisal of your best skills and prevailing personality traits, and try to find a business where those things would be assets. No matter what kind of franchise you buy, be it wildly popular or relatively unknown, it’s ultimately your own abilities and attributes that will impact its fortunes the most.

Don’t be afraid to spend a little, and don’t try to save your way to success

When you’re starting out in the franchise world, the overwhelming majority of your efforts should be focused on two important outcomes: growing sales and generating revenue. If those aspects of your business aren’t working, not much else is going to matter. Resist the temptation to be too tight with the purse strings in the early going, and be prepared to invest in things that can help boost your business, such as extended opening hours or additional staff. Don’t get bogged down in cost-saving details like installing energy-efficient light bulbs or selecting the best inventory management software – there’ll be plenty of time to sort all the details out once you’ve managed to establish a thriving business with plenty of satisfied customers.

Stick with the system

One of the appeals of franchise ownership is buying a business that comes with an established set of practices and procedures. While it might seem simple to stress the importance of sticking with those policies, it’s still an important consideration. Remember, the franchise world isn’t always the best place for rebellious, do-it-my-way individuals – you need to be willing to follow the rules. Study the system that comes with your franchise and make sure you understand it. Don’t be tempted to take shortcuts or invent your own methods for different tasks – there’s generally a tried-and-tested reason the franchise suggests doing things their way, and they’ve likely seen what can go wrong because of unintended consequences and unforeseen outcomes. If a particular process seems really out of whack or inefficient, discuss the issue with your contact at the franchise before making any changes – they may be able point out something you haven’t seen yet, or they might encourage you to try the new idea so they can see how well it actually works.

Never stop networking

Whether it’s while chatting with fellow franchise owners, meeting with local small business owners at the chamber of commerce or local business association, or mingling with community members at volunteer events and festivals, there’s seldom a bad time to be networking, gaining insights, and making new contacts. Soak up the knowledge and valuable lessons fellow business owners are willing to share about what they’ve learned, and remember to keep an ear open for the desires and distastes of the everyday people who patronize your franchise.

Show some community spirit

Raise your profile and generate goodwill by getting your business involved in the local community. Sponsor a youth hockey team or neighbourhood festival. Donate your time, or products, to a charitable cause. Open your business up for tours or offer to educational sessions and training. As much as possible, get your staff involved in supporting these initiatives. Besides doing good, and being able to feel good about it, you’ll get your business name out there and create valuable attention.