In today’s internet world, it takes a click of the button to find a couple thousand different brands that are vying for your business, competing for your attention and bombarding you with statistics, data and promises. But deciding on a franchise choice involves an intense process, and most importantly, understanding what you should look for and what you should prioritize in order to reach a franchise concept that works for you.
It is also important to understand that when buying a franchise, you’re not looking for a “partner” in the business, but rather you’re aligning yourself with a concept that you will be working with, a corporate staff that will give you the tools to thrive, and the brand recognition to help you succeed. At the end of the day, YOU will be the reason for your business’ success or failure. As the old saying goes, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink,” the corporate staff will supply you with all the tools you need, but you must
bring the work ethics, enthusiasm, and the passion to realize true success.
The first step of the franchising process is identifying your passion, your trade and your capabilities. The franchise trade stretches across a large arena, and chances are, if you’re looking for a restaurant, you will not want to franchise with a funeral director, and if you have a passion for teaching children, you will not want an auto repair shop. On the other hand, you might not know exactly what your passion is or you might have multiple options that will work for you, so it’s best to keep an open mind, with a focus on 3-4 brands with whom you can see a potential fit.
Corporate support is often overlooked. When you buy a franchise, you will constantly want to reach out to corporate for help and support. One of the first steps, is simply go to the brands’ website, call a couple of the franchisees and talk to them about corporate, and ask them the tough questions. Are they available when you need them? Are they responsive? Are they delivering what they promised? What do you like or dislike about headquarters? Feel free to ask any question, and most franchisees will be open and tell it to you the way they see it.
It usually takes 3 months for an individual to make a decision on a specific franchise, and it usually comes down to categories! As we mentioned earlier, the category you will be involved with is key to your success. You’re about to make a significant investment, so you want to make sure you choose a category that fits your style, agrees with your mode and something you see yourself doing for a while.
Once you have chosen 3-4 brands that you see potential with, start the customizing process by figuring out what you like about it, what you don’t like it, and what is a deal-breaker for you. Investigate every brand: how it works, the process behind it, the work involved to make it run. Try to get a glimpse of every part of the concept so you know what you’re getting yourself into. Is dealing with the elderly in a nursing home something for which you have the patience? Are you prepared to stand in the back of a retail store by yourself, or in front of a hot oven for 12 hours? Do you like to travel? Ask yourself the questions and be honest with yourself.
As you have narrowed down your choices, seek some advice and counsel from family and friends that you trust, people that truly want you to be happy and successful. By now you have also secured the financial part of your purchase, a blue print for the first 6 months of your new venture, and you’re pretty much comfortable with everything you have researched, so a simple second opinion from a reliable friend will go a long way. An outsider will sometimes ask a question that you have not thought about and it can be a big help.
Buying a franchise is more than making a decision. It involves a lot of emotions, as you’re probably investing a significant amount of money. This may be the first time in your life you won’t be handed a paycheck and you will be responsible for creating the business, so it can be a bit overwhelming. You’re doing the right thing! You are living the dream, about to be a business owner and set your life up for success. It’s normal to get jitters because the stress levels are at an all-time high, as you’re making one of your biggest
transactions of your life time, the biggest of all career moves and entering the entrepreneur mode. Go with it, own it, and work it! With the proper forethought,
you will be fine!
Leo Goldberger is the co-founder of The Boys Group, an umbrella group for 3 franchise brands, The Patch Boys, The Inspection Boys and The Dry Boys. Leo can be reached at [email protected] To learn more about the Boys Group, log on to www.TheBoysGroup.com