Selecting the Right Franchise for You

Posted by digiadmin on February 21, 2019

Chapter 2: Selecting the Right Franchise for You

FRANSAVE is proud to partner with Guidant Financial to provide you with the tools you need to fund your new business. From exploring financing options to obtaining expert guidance, the services provided by Guidant Financial are designed to help aspiring business owners get established and—ultimately—thrive.

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.

small franchise business

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 Myth of Prior Experience

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?

Find the Right Franchise with Personality & Franchise Fit Tests

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.

These are examples of free, easily-accessible online quizzes: this one from Franchise Help, and this from Franchise Opportunities.

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.

Working with a Franchise Consultant

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:

  • Location – it’s definitely preferable to select a coach who is geographically close to you, to make face-to-face meetings much easier.
  • Full-time status– generally speaking, a coach or consultant who works full-time as a coach or consultant will be able to give you more time and attention than an individual who is only a coach on the side. That said, it doesn’t have to be a deal breaker if you find somebody you feel good working with. Just make sure to have the time commitment conversation up front, so you know what to expect.
  • Consulting experience – this one is a bit of a no-brainer, but we’ll mention it anyways: select a consultant who has successfully coached entrepreneurs before. Shoot for someone who has some experience in the field and has already learned from past mistakes.
  • Franchise ownership experience – This one is less of an obvious option. Having a coach who has actually gone through the process you’re going through now can be a huge win. Even better, a consultant who has owned and operated business will bring invaluable experience to the table.
  • A variety of franchise options – the dirty little secret of franchise consulting is that some consultants only work with a handful of franchise brands. This means that you may be encouraged toward a brand that isn’t necessarily the best fit for you. Does that mean it’s a bad fit? No, definitely not. But do keep an eye out for coaches who aren’t able or willing to show you a broad range of brands.

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:

 

Online Franchise Listing Platforms

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.

Some of your online listing options include Franchise Opportunities, Franchise Direct, FranchiseGator, Entrepreneur, and BizBuySell.

Making the Most of Discovery Day

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:

  • Travel and lodging expenses are out of your pocket. The franchise may offer to foot part of the bill, but most of it will be on you. This is one of the main reasons that attending Discovery Day is meant for someone who is pretty serious about the brand.
  • Prepare for your visit. Have a list of questions or details you want to learn about. A good way to formulate this list is to speak with current franchisees of the brand. Learn from their experiences, both from Discovery Day and working as a franchisee.
  • Dress for success! This is a two-way job interview, so make a good first impression with professional attire the same way you would with a traditional, corporate job interview.
  • If your spouse isn’t going to be a business partner, they’re still highly encouraged to join you at Discovery Day. This is to ensure that your #1 supporter is 100% on board with your brand choice. The franchise team will also be looking to make sure the two of you are on the same page.
  • It’s common for the franchise team to take you and your spouse to lunch, dinner or both. Have fun and enjoy yourselves, and just keep in mind that you’re still in a two-way interview.

 

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!

Upcoming blogs to watch for:

  • The Best Franchise Brands for…
  • What Support to Expect from Your Franchisor
  • Understanding the Hidden Costs of Franchising
  • Understanding the Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD)
  • How to Finance Your Franchise Purchase
  • Choosing the Right Entity for Your Franchise
  • Franchise FAQs

 

Ready to Get Started? Contact Us

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.

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