FOMO: Fear Of Missing Out. I know it’s hard to believe, but some people only look at 2 to 4 franchises to find their perfect match; every now and then they look at just one home run hitting option!
Does that sound crazy? It’s not. They are using what video gamers call a “cheat code”; a hacked success strategy that can be provided to less experienced gamers that want to accelerate their path to the highest levels of the game.
I will give you that franchise “cheat code”, for free, at the end of this column (but, don’t skip to the end, the stuff between here and there explains why the “cheat code” is important to your success).
When I started in franchising over a quarter of a century ago (ouch!), there were three primary ways people found franchises:
- Newspaper print ads
- Franchise shows
- Being a customer of a franchise, or a friend telling you about their experience in one
On the most robust days, newspaper columns had far fewer ads than any franchise broker or consultant has candidates working with brands today.
Franchise shows were great ways to see brands, and before the Internet the big brands were largely all there. But today, there are by some counts over 4,000 brands and shows are anywhere from 30 to 250 booths at a franchise show. You only see a small snapshot at any show and it is far less common that the big brands even show up.
Being a customer or hearing others talk about a franchise is still how some candidates find their way to franchising, but it may not be the best. It may be that the customer experience you enjoy is very different than the owner experience that you may not.
How the Internet may have created your biggest risk… FOMO.
*Insert Phone App Notification chime*
All those social media sites, apps, mailing lists and other phone notifications have trained us, much like Pavlov’s dog (Google it). When the bell rings, we pick up the phone and see what we might be missing. When we see the notification pop up, we click to see what they think we need to be reacting to.
Today when someone decides to look into franchising they often go to Google, type a range of keywords, visit a lot of websites, fill out a bunch of information requests.
Quick Insider Tip: some of those online forms, even those with a single brand on them, go to lead seller databases and from that one form you could get countless calls from brands you have never heard of, that you never requested information from.
Some of those candidates will discover people in my line of work, Franchise Consultants. They may go through an initial consultation, build a game plan and begin looking at franchises selected for them. Then using their best FOMO they look for other consultants to get more options under the premise that they need to see everything to make a good decision.
So, why didn’t the first consultant provide a list of the 4,000 brands and say “Go for it!”? Because the candidate would be overwhelmed trying to learn enough about every company to decide which fit them and which didn’t, proper investigations would be impossible. So, the consultant, or their company, went out and sorted that list to a manageable size then they (hopefully) checked them out and have some level confidence in them. From that list they can match candidates to those select opportunities that the candidate and their desired territory are a good fit for.
How dangerous is FOMO to your success? It’s hard to measure, but it can be a real factor.
While we can get an idea of the success of franchisees in a particular system, we don’t have any measure of those that get inextricably tangled up in the web of FOMO and never get to the point of owning a franchise in the first place.
My gut feeling is that more people that have that spark of entrepreneurship get lost and never get to the point of moving forward. They counterbalance to that which makes measurement even harder is that, more than ever, the best and brightest in Corporate America are seeking ways to control their destiny. So overall the numbers have held consistently, but in my estimation the industry is losing countless potential new business owners that we have no way to measure, they are just among the countless files closed in franchise company databases.
So, what is the “cheat code”? Call an (1) expert, decide if you like them and then evaluate as you work with them if they are delivering in your best interest! If not, then move on. But having a pool of experts, or want-to-be experts, overloading your bandwidth rarely leads to a proper investigation or a fruitful outcome.
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.