Experience matters when choosing a franchise consultant
It starts with a hello from a friendly franchise consultant. Maybe you filled out a form asking for business ownership advice or presented an impressive ops background on your resume as you searched on job sites. Your first impression might be: “I’m not buying this.” But then you realize, you have been interested in becoming an entrepreneur. The ‘Great Resignation‘ has you thinking about career options. However, you are not sure where to start your life transition. Suddenly, the door is opened to an opportunity. But should you work with a franchise consultant? And how do you know if you found one who is qualified and has your best interests in mind?
The decision to become a business owner can be scary and overwhelming. Whether you want to start on a semi-absentee basis while keeping your day job or leave your full-time gig completely. The pitfalls of choosing the wrong franchise opportunity are huge. Pitfalls can result from either a bad industry match for you or simply a poor-quality franchise company choice. Pitfalls may result not only from a lack of a coach to assist you along the way but also from working with a non-qualified franchise consultant. Learning how to qualify a potential franchise consultant is essential when searching for a successful business match.
Franchise consultants tend to find you before you find them. Since they are not equal in experience and coaching abilities, researching the consultant is important prior to saying ‘yes‘ or ‘no’ to venturing into the franchise knowledge or education process with them. Choosing the right franchise is a process.
Does your franchise consultant have the right credentials?
Experience matters when choosing a qualified franchise consultant. Franchise consultants vary widely in their ability to help you find the right business. The skill level of a qualified franchise consultant should be apparent in your first contact. Ideal franchise consultants have a long industry resume covering both business ownership and executive franchise work. Moreover, these qualities give a qualified franchise consultant the ability to truly understand the pitfalls and benefits the right business may have for you.
The right credentials help establish if a specific franchise consultant is qualified to meet your needs. Look for the following characteristics when qualifying a franchise consultant.
Franchise consultant qualifiers
- First connection – Does their style work consistent with yours?
- Does the consultant understand YOU? Do they have a system? Additionally, does their system work with you to discover your greatest needs of business ownership?
- Business suggestions – Are a few businesses immediately proposed by the consultant as matches? Poor business matches tend to occur because of proposing business ideas too soon.
- A qualified franchise consultant has an organized system covering multiple meetings. This system is in lieu of jumping in and matching you with their top three popular businesses of that month.
- Getting to the right business for YOU takes time and work from both of you. A qualified franchise consultant offers you the time, saves you money and coaches you through the investigation process.
- Reputation – The ability to research your consultant via their website, Linked-IN, and affiliate groups is critical. You want to learn more about their experience level within the franchise community.
- Ownership Experience – Real-world experience matters. Knowing the franchise consultant has walked in your shoes as a business owner offers higher confidence to you.
- Has the franchise consultant owned a business? If so, ideally a franchise business. Does your consultant have experience managing people?
- The degree of franchise industry experiences your potential franchise coach has makes a significant difference in their ability to match you to the right franchise business. For example, does your franchise consultant has experience working with both franchisors and franchisees? This experience is an invaluable combination.
- Does the franchise consultant have the experience to coach you through the education and matching process, or are they simply a ‘slick salesperson’?
- Does the franchise consultant offer to be a sounding board post-purchase?
Preparing for the second call
The process of connecting and choosing a franchise consultant usually starts with an introductory call. During this call, consider the qualifiers listed above as the call progresses. Furthermore, if the qualifiers above are a match for you, then you will want to agree to a second call to learn more about the process. Do your due diligence and prepare yourself with helpful questions for the second call to qualify your consultant timelier. Working with a franchise consultant should always be free to you, however, time is precious and therefore make sure you are getting the best value for your time.
Questions to qualify a franchise consultant on the second call
- Does the franchise consultant have experience and tools that benefit you?
- Is there a cost structure or commitment required by the consultant?
- Does the franchise consultant have businesses within their portfolio in the industry(s) you may be interested in?
- Is the franchise consultant affiliated with a strong member group that vets the thousands of franchise opportunities that exist?
After doing your due diligence and having a second call with your prospective franchise consultant, you should know where you stand for embarking on the discovery process. What should you expect if you choose to go forward in the discovery process with the franchise consultant? Your franchise consultant should be able to take you on a journey that begins with getting educated about you. Finally, the journey should produce a presentation of a handful of well-qualified brands that match your background, interests, and business style.
The presentation benefit from a qualified franchise consultant
If your consultant is very experienced at what they do, then the brands presented should surprise and interest you. Odds are that the brands will be new to you and above all, brands that are outside of the normal list of Googled franchise brands. Moreover, the brands presented should fit beautifully within your lifestyle needs.
In conclusion, the enormity of franchise businesses vying to get your attention is endless. But note that not all are what their marketing collateral suggests. A qualified franchise consultant spends 30% of their time vetting franchise brands. The focus of these updates is strong financials, systems, management quality, and product/service demand ability. In addition, you benefit from the franchise consultants’ network of hand-picked funding sources, accountants, and lawyers. These resources help guide your decisions along the way. They too want you to succeed and know the right business needs to be strong and sound.