It's time to be your own boss and you've decided to
buy a franchise
. Good choice!
provides a great number of benefits that a standalone business does
not, such as: branding, marketing, processes, products, systems,
peer groups, national advertising and much more. In fact,
franchising is so successful that franchised businesses create jobs
for more than 18 million Americans and account for 10 percent of
the private-sector economic output, according to a study recently
released by the International Franchise Association Educational
With thousands and
thousands of franchise businesses
to choose from, you may be confused about what to do next. The
bottom line is that you want to find a business that fits you and
that will provide the income level you want to achieve. So, to make
it simple, here are the seven steps you should follow. Get out your
paper and pencil and start writing!
It's extremely important that when you are looking at a
, you think about yourself first! Always consider your likes and
dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, and your wants and needs.
- What are your skills, experiences and interests?
- List the strengths and weaknesses you discovered from past
jobs. Which responsibilities did you like most and which did you
- How much money are you willing to spend and how much do you
want to make?
- Would you rather manage other employees or do you like
- Which city/state do you want to work in? Are you willing to
- Are you willing to put in more hours in the beginning as you
get your business going? What are your expectations for after you
establish your business?
- Are you comfortable in a sales position? Are you familiar
enough with the sales process?
This list of what you can bring to a business and what you need
from a business will help you immensely to come up with a strategy
and model for your research.
For the next step,
, you can chose to do thisyourself or you can seek out a franchise
consultant (whose services are usually free) to assist you in
choosing which franchise is best for you. Either way, you will want
to keep an open mind. In fact, write this in bold letters across
the top of your note pad.
Why is having an open mind important? There are two big mistakes a
budding entrepreneur makes when beginning to look into different
franchises. First, he spends weeks looking at only one type of
franchise then discovers that the businesses in this category are
either: A) too expensive, or B) won't meet his needs as a business
owner. He then finds himself at a dead end after weeks of
researching. The second big mistake is that if he only looks at one
or two options and chooses one, he may decide later that he would
have been much happier in a totally different business model.
Sometimes the right
is one that may never have crossed your mind.
Using your notes, determine which business model will work for you.
Is it retail, business to business, or a service industry? Will you
want and be able to afford a brick and mortar location or do you
want to run the business from a home office, at least initially?
Will you be comfortable managing employees, and if so, how many?
These notes will help you eliminate a number of categories,
enabling you to focus your energies on those that remain.
So now you have a handful of promising franchises picked out. What
The next step is to get in contact with the franchisors to get more
information about their concepts and talk with them about where you
are looking. It is most likely you will end up speaking to someone
in the franchise development department who will determineyour
interest level and help you find and get the territory of your
choice. Make sure you thoroughly examine any information they
provide online or send to you.
Take note ofthe impressions you have of the franchise based on your
conversation. Pay attention to how they treat you, if they are
knowledgeable and helpful, and if they sound professional and
provide recent and professional materials. How they treat you at
this time is a hint to the kind of future support you will receive
if you decided to join their franchise.
Your next step is to read the company's
Franchise Disclosure Document
, also known as the
. Every franchise in the US is required to have this document. It
is very important that you are able to fully examine and understand
, in order to successfully complete this process.
is full of information about the franchise and clearly explains
your responsibilities as a franchisee and the franchisor. The
will educate you about the history of the company, describe the
training and marketing programs, and discuss the costs, royalties
and fees you will need to pay.Some may even provide earnings claims
that will help you calculate the approximate potential of the
The reason the
exists is so prospects (you) will be able to eliminate the
franchises that can't provide for their needs.
Pay attention to any warning signs that a franchise isn't doing
that well, including extensive litigation with franchisees or a
closing rate of units greater than what's being opened.
CALL EXISTING FRANCHISEES
! This is the most important step you can take when searching for
, one where you will be happy and successful.
These people are your key to finding out how the franchise is truly
run on a daily basis. Feel free to ask them anything you are dying
to find out that the
doesn't or won't tell you. See what they like and dislike about the
business, if they are pleased with corporate support, and even get
a feel for the type of earnings a franchisee makes.
The more opinions you get, the clearer your idea will be of the
franchise and whether or not you would be successful and happy as a
franchisee, which is why this step is key to making a clear and
Next you need to narrow down your choices and set up a meeting with
the franchisor. Yes this part is more than likely going to be
difficult. If you have completed all the steps up to this point,
you should have hopefully found at least one or two companies that
will be able to fulfill your needs.
Once you have a small list of franchises that have passed your
initial screening, you should then set up a meeting with the
franchisor called Discovery Day. Discover Day is meant for you and
your possible future franchisor to get acquainted. Remember, the
franchisors will be learning about and evaluating you, just as you
are evaluating them.
These Discovery Day meetings are very exciting, much like picking
out your first house. You will meet the head honchos in the home
office, and maybe evenmake a visit to a local franchisee whereyou
will beable to ask more questions and quite possiblyget some
hands-on experience with the business.
By the end of your day, you will have learned a lot about the
franchise and should be able to determine whether or not it fits
You have now come to the conclusion of this process...Your final
Like any major decision, you will be filled with anticipation and
anxiety, excitement and fear. Those are very normal feelings,
experienced by almost everyone.
Experience the fear and then let it go. If you've followed through
with all the steps and done your homework, you should be confident
with your final choice. Congratulations - you're ready to be a