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For athletes contemplating franchising , here are some tips from Michael Stone, a former pro football player and founder of the Professional Athletes Franchise Initiative.

Think about what comes next while you're still playing

Start thinking about your post-sports career while you are still playing. Start your education and networking, so by the time you are retiring from sports, you are ready to move forward.

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Don't lead with your cheque book

Take the time to determine the right fit. Choose a concept that fits your personal lifestyle. For instance, if you don't want to be in a store all day, don't buy a 24-hour mini mart.

Build a team

Develop a team around you with the right professionals experienced in franchise agreements.

Get hands-on experience

Even if you plan not to be part of the day-to-day operations of a franchise, get hands-on experience very quickly so you understand the business and know what it's all about.

Know what's expected

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Understand franchisors' expectation are. For example, a franchisor of a large restaurant brand with indoor seating may expect a franchisee to have previous restaurant experience. Find out if the franchisor expects you to be an active rather than silent partner, if you are allowed to bring in an operating partner and if you are expected to take part in training.

Find mentors

Find people who have been in business that can mentor you or that you can partner with.

Special to The Globe and Mail

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