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Guidant’s Complete Guide to Buying a Franchise outlines what it means to be a franchise owner. We have broken down the guide into segments to give prospecting franchise owners an understanding of hidden costs, important documents, and the overall journey to franchise ownership. This introduction to the Guide is the first step.
The journey to becoming a business owner is exciting…but can be overwhelming at the same time. There are a variety of options and opportunities available to you – the world is your proverbial business oyster. This guide is designed to familiarize you with what it means to own a franchise, help you decide if being part of a franchise suits your goals and personality and take you through the ins-and-outs of the journey to franchise ownership.
Entrepreneur publishes an annual list of the Top 500 franchises, and the Small Business Administration has a directory of over 2,000 approved franchises. So when it comes to choosing the franchise that’s right for you, there is no shortage of options for you to wade through. Here we'll walk you through some myths, tips, and resources to help you find the perfect franchise.
The first step in choosing the best franchise for you is determining if any franchise is best for you. (Shocking, we know.) To tackle this, let’s start with a common misconception about franchise ownership: the requirement of prior experience.
I have good news and bad news for this one. Bad news first: some franchises will require that you have X amount of years working in their industry, to ensure you have the experience required to successfully operate a location. Good news: some of them don’t! You do not need to have prior experience in a given field in order to be a successful franchisee.
For example, a Jiffy Lube does require workers who have experience and skill with cars. But that doesn’t necessarily have to be you. As the owner, your job can be to manage the office and your employees. And it can be your employees’ jobs to care for your customers’ vehicles. So, the experience you need to run a Jiffy Lube is more on the office management side, and less on the car side, even though Jiffy Lubes exist in the automobile industry.
Now we know that you can be a franchisee if you want to be. So how do you know if you do, in fact, want to be? This answer will likely differ for each of you, but we think a good place to start is some serious introspection. Think about yourself, your traits, your goals, your strengths, and weaknesses. Do you embody some or all of the traits that make a successful franchisee? How do you even know what those traits are?
The world wide web is full of tests and quizzes that can help you narrow down your decision of whether franchising is the right choice for you. Let’s be frank: these are not vetted, scientifically sound tests. There is no guarantee that you will make a great franchise if one of these tests says that you will. What these tests do have going for them is the questions they ask, which will hopefully help direct that self-reflection we talked about. They may also bring to light aspects of franchising you haven’t thought about.
There are personality and aptitude tests professionally developed by companies who specialize in this arena. These tend to be much more in-depth and aim to indicate which type or category of franchise would be a good fit for you. Results might show that you, who exhibits the traits of a social butterfly, should look for franchises that include a high-level of customer interaction. Or that you, the non-conformer, should seek out a young franchise that offers more flexibility – not one already entrenched in its methods. Tests like this also tend to come with a price tag.
Yet other types of tests focus more on identifying what your goals are for the franchise process, in order to narrow down franchise brands that way. This type of test and the categorical version above is most commonly utilized by franchise consultants.
Which brings us to another resource at hand: the franchise consultant. A consultant can be very useful, both in helping you decide if franchising is right for you, and then helping narrow down the giant world of franchises into something more manageable.
A franchise consultant is a professional who specializes in helping you find the right franchise fit. He or she will help you identify your goals – what do you really want to achieve through business ownership? – and narrow down the list of businesses that fit those goals. They know the questions to ask, how to help you find financing, the information you’ll need to collect and many other nuances in the complex world of entrepreneurship.
(And keep in mind that while we’ll use the term ‘franchise consultant’ throughout this chapter, there are also business coaches and brokers who work with both independent businesses and franchises.)
There are a lot of options to choose from in the world of franchise consulting. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re looking for a consultant to partner with on your journey to franchise ownership:
At Guidant, we have a team dedicated to working with a trusted network of franchise consultants. If you'd like us to help you identify a consultant to work with and/or make an introduction, give us a call at 888-472-4455. If you'd rather dig into some online research, check out these options:
If you’d like to go the independent research route, there are a multitude of websites that list out franchises for sale. Often these sites will allow you to filter results by location, industry and investment amount. They also typically have searchable categories like low-cost, top-rated and new franchises. These sections make it easier to find a franchise that fits your specific requirements.
Okay. So, you’ve worked with a franchise consultant or have done your research independently and are narrowing down your favorites. You’ve expressed interest to the franchise corporate team, spoken with them on the phone and traded relevant information as you each work to determine if the other is a good fit. So far, things are going well for both sides. At this point, you may be invited by the corporate team to a Discovery Day.
Which is what, exactly? Excellent question! Discovery Day is the opportunity for you to ask questions, see how the business is run and experience it all first-hand. You’ll speak with the people who actually manage and run the franchise, see the office space and tour any warehouses or production sites your brand may operate. This is your opportunity to get any lingering questions answered and decide once and for all if this brand is the right fit for you.
Keep in mind that this experience goes both ways: not only are you evaluating the franchise for a good fit, the franchise team is also deciding if you’re a good fit for their brand. Discovery Day is a two-way street. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
At the end of the proverbial day, Discovery Day is a great opportunity for you to shore up your knowledge about the franchise you might invest in, and vice versa. Enjoy this part of the journey!
Throughout this chapter, we’ve covered resources to help you decide if you want to be a franchisee, resources to help you narrow down your list of potential brands and what to expect from Discovery Day when you’re close to picking a franchise. Next chapter we’ll take a quick look at actual franchise brands in useful categories, like top low-cost franchises and popular franchise industries. Get excited!
This information is not intended as an offer to sell, or the solicitation of an offer to buy, a franchise. It is for information purposes only. Currently, the following states regulate the offer and sale of franchises: California, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. If you are a resident of one of these states, we will not offer you a franchise unless and until we have complied with applicable pre-sale registration and disclosure requirements in your jurisdiction. Franchise offerings are made by Franchise Disclosure Document only.