Some people say it’s in the eyes, other say it’s all in the handshake. But, how do you really find the best franchise opportunities for you? Can you really decide your future based upon a potential franchisor’s handshake? I don’t think so, and if you do, well, good luck to you because you are most definitely going to need it.
To those of you who think that a little more thought should go into choosing your next business venture, congratulations! You just took the first step on the road to success. You are right; if you want your franchise to get off on the right foot, you need to take the right steps forward.
First of all, you want to ask questions – lots of them – but more importantly, you want to make sure that your questions are being answered in a timely and professional manner. What would you think if you were on a date with someone and that person refused to answer any of your questions? Are they hiding something? Are they just not a ‘people person’? Either way, you probably wouldn’t want to date them. The same thing goes for franchisors – if they are not freely answering all your inquiries, take it as your sign to move on.
Another way to see if you are getting yourself into one of the best franchise opportunities is to look into what kind of training the franchise offers. Is there operational training to make sure you can actually deliver whatever it is you are supposed to be delivering? Are there any other training seminars offered on broader topics like human resource management? In addition to training, what kind of support does the franchisor offers its franchisees by way of locating a site, negotiating a lease, and dealing with design or construction issues? Chances are most new franchisees will not have any experience in these areas.
Instead of taking a company representative’s word for it, it would be wise to look for additional sources to back up what they are telling you. Does the company have a long history of litigation, and if so, what were the results? You want this record to be minimal at best. In looking at the company’s financial statements, what are its future prospects? Does continued growth, both of the franchise company and the individual franchise units, seem likely?
Finally, talk to some of the existing franchisees to find out what their experience has been like. Did they receive the support they were promised? Has communication with the parent company been open? Are they satisfied with the franchise’s marketing efforts (to which they will most likely be contributing)? Overall, are they happy with their decision to become a part of that franchise? It is doubtful that a franchisee who has had a negative experience will be able to keep his opinion to himself.
Finding the best franchise opportunities out there is never easy. But, by looking at all the facts before taking the plunge, you should be able to find yourself a good deal, and a deal that works for you.