Every day I work with people that have had wild success in franchising as well as those that are totally new to business ownership. From my experiences and theirs I give you these 5 tips to keep in mind as you pursue success in franchising.
First: Know yourself
The franchise you look at will be a very public offering, you will have many pages of paperwork to go over, people to talk to at the corporate office as well as franchisees that have gone before you. Verifying what the franchise offers is largely a checklist project.
Interestingly for most people looking at franchises the part of the equation that gets overlooked is internal. You bring inherent ways of working and learned skills that combine and should inform you of what franchise you would fit into best. Before you contact your first franchise take out a pad of paper and write down everything you know about yourself, what makes you tick and what the skills that you bring to the equation are. We call our version of this your “model”.
As you look at franchises keep that model in mind. Do your work habits and skills fit the role of a franchisee in that system?
Second: Think like an owner, not a customer
It is very common to approach a franchise search based on those consumer experiences we have had at restaurants, retail stores and with service businesses. Inevitably, the sum of the consumer experiences we have had only touched a small fraction of the franchise industry and where we love to get dinner may not be where we would love to work.
The role of the owner is very different from the role of the customer. Owners manage the team, work behind the scenes at both the highest levels and sometimes picking up the most menial duties in the operation.
In some businesses the owner is on the front lines and on others they are semi-absentee or even absentee.
Understand the role of the owner, their daily activities and lifestyle.
Third: Recognize strategic advantages
Right now I know of one franchise that will fund roughly 75% of every unit you want to open and you won’t have to sign a personal guarantee for the funding! That is unheard of, but some people get stuck on whether or not they would be a customer. That doesn’t matter! They may not be the target market but there are plenty of people who would be!
I also know of a major franchise company that is partnering with anyone that qualifies on a 50/50 basis and the cost to do that is essentially $Zero for business expenses; they just have to cover their household costs during start-up. Zero investment to own half a business and partner with a global company! How awesome is that?
Few of the competitors for those brands offer these kinds of benefits. The companies with the deals are both proven and have great systems. Why to people go to the other companies? Hard to know, maybe great marketing campaigns, luck of the draw or nobody searched the deals out.
There are brands out there that offer some sort of strategic advantage that could be a huge difference maker for you. Look for them, I know I do for my candidates.
Fourth: Follow the system you bought
Simple, right? Must be the most obvious and straight forward success strategy that some people decide not to follow! Why would you investigate a proven concept and buy it only to decide you know better than they do?
If you want to invent a system, go invent one. Franchising is built around the idea of not reinventing the wheel, using a proven system, growing faster and better than experimenting in an independent start up can offer.
A proper full investigation should tell you up front if you agree with how they built the system, how they operate and if you should feel comfortable doing the work that the successful franchisees in that system do. If you go through that process and determine that you don’t like what they do or want to change it then that is your sign to go another direction.
Does that mean franchisees won’t have input? NO! Franchise input is important but learn their system first.
“Crazy” success does not come from a single unit, territory or brand.
I have the good fortune to work with a lot of truly crazy successful franchise owners and they are continuously looking for ways to grow. I get weekly calls from these high performers to talk strategy in their current brand and what to be looking for next. We watch the radar screen and let them know what is coming and where the top franchise operations executives are moving to.
Crazy success is hard work, but the path to it is clear.
What is your success story? Let’s go find it!
George Knauf is a highly sought after, trusted advisor to many companies; Public, Independent and Franchised, of all sizes and in many markets. His 20 plus years of experience in both start-up and mature business operations makes him uniquely qualified to advise individuals that have dreamed of going into business for themselves in order to gain more control, independence, time flexibility and to be able to earn in proportion to their real contribution. Contact the Franchising USA Expert George’s Hotline 703-424-2980.