Where to Find Great Franchise Information
by Rick Bisio – Franchise Consultant & Author of the Franchise Book –The Educated Franchisee
Frankie was eating a sandwich at a fast food franchise. He liked the sandwich. The place was packed. “This place must be a gold mine,” he thought. He called the franchisor, carefully examine the franchise information the franchisor provided, talked with several franchisees, attended discovery day, rounded up his down payment, and opened his doors.
Now Frankie finds out that he made a very expensive mistake. He still likes the sandwiches, but he is struggling with the employees, the hours, and the general public. Turns out, the franchise isn’t a good fit for him. But his life savings are invested in it, and he has to make the business prospering before anyone will purchase it.
Frankie considered he did his homework. He did spend a lot of time, and he examined the franchise materials supplied – what went wrong?
He didn’t start his franchise education at the beginning – Frankie skipped right to Step Four.
Don’t end up like Frankie. Perform the following franchise investigation steps to decide what you actually want and need, then to assure you’ll be able to identify it when you see it.
Step One: Take a long, earnest look at yourself. If you don’t already have a life vision that excites you, build one. Then assess your skills, and look at what types of businesses you would be good at. (Hint – evaluate your skills, not your likes.) Make certain your income and lifestyle goals are quantifiable.
Step Two: Understand business ownership. Study the mentality of franchise owners and understand why people own their own businesses. (Hint – it’s not just about getting away from “the man.”)
Step Three: find out more about franchising in general. A little research here will diversify your view of how franchising works, of what you actually purchase when you buy a franchise, and of what’s available (Hint – franchising is about so much more than fast food and mufflers!)
There are several franchise resources available, from consultants to books and magazines, and it goes without saying that there are countless web sites as well. Of course, if you want one-stop shopping, I can’t help but recommend The Educated Franchisee, The How-To Book for Choosing a Winning Franchise. In all sincerity, I wrote the book because, as a Franchise Consultant, I have often been disturbed by the sad stories of people who got into franchising for the wrong reasons, or got into the wrong franchise – it’s tragic, really, when you understand that a little bit better preparation can make the difference between success and failure.
If you’re not ready to invest to a book and want to dip your toe in the water first, here are some web sites that can be useful. You might be on www.educatedfranchisee.com <http://www.educatedfranchisee.com> already, reading this article. If not, that’s a good place to start. There is a lot of franchise information on the site, ranging from a Recommended Reading List to FRANdata’s “Profile of Franchising,” and many other franchise resources.
Two other useful sites are The International Franchise Association site: www.franchise.org <http://www.franchise.org> and Entrepreneur Magazine’s Franchise Zone, at entrepreneur.com/franchises/index.html <http://www.entrepreneur.com/franchises/index.html>. Entrepreneur also issues “The Entrepreneur Franchise 500” every January.
These resources will provide information on investment level requirements for numerous types of franchises, and will surely open your eyes as to what types of franchises are available.
The last step is to examine individual franchise companies. The easiest way to do this is to work with a franchise consultant (full disclosure – I am a franchise consultant as well as an author), or to work with each individual franchise directly. Here are the tools franchisors normally make available to franchise candidates:
The initial package: Franchisors provide brochures, DVDs and web sites planned to give you an overview of their particular franchise opportunity.
The FDD (Franchise Disclosure Document): This is the standard disclosure document that all franchisors provide. It presents information on the company’s history, the backgrounds of key executives, costs and fees, obligations of the parties, litigation experience, success rate information, audited financial statements, and a list of existing franchisees for you to call. Many franchisors also include information on franchisees’ earnings although they are not required to do so.
Speak with existing franchisees: select a number of franchisees from the list in the FDD. Call them to receive a wealth of information. Do they like the business? Would they buy it again? What do they do every day? How was the initial training? How is the on-going support? Are they hitting their financial goals? How long have they been in business? What is their relationship with the franchisor? And so on. Organize your questions carefully. If you are searching for a good list of questions to ask, go to the download section of www.educatedfranchisee.com <http://www.educatedfranchisee.com>. You will retrieve hundreds of questions to ask.
Meet the franchisor: Assist to a Discovery Day at the franchisor’s headquarters. Meet the staff, and make sure you believe they are well-qualified and that you’ll be at ease requesting and accepting advice and guidance from them.
When you have collected all the franchise information you need, you can decide if the franchise is a right fit and if it provides you a high probability of reaching your goals. Then make an educated yes or no decision, and move forward. (Hint: “hopes and dreams alone are not a right reason to buy a franchise! Collecting solid information is the way to exponentially increase your chances for meeting and exceeding your franchising goals!)
The Educated Franchisee is dedicated to franchise education through the sharing of franchise information.
Our objective is –‘To create educated franchise buyers that have clearly defined objectives and are able to recognize the right, or wrong, franchise when they see it. An educated franchise buyer will move into the franchisee role with their expectations properly set and will have a heightened potential for success within the franchise system creating a win/win for all involved.”
To get more franchise information about how to stack the deck in your favor you can –
- Visit our website at www.educatedfranchisee.com
- Purchase one of our franchise books – The Educated Franchisee or The Franchisee Workbook
- Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.