Not knowing the next step in any situation is either where I have seen people stop making progress or even fail. It is also the biggest cause of the needless fear and anxiety that crushes franchise ownership dreams for candidates looking at franchise opportunities. With that in mind, let’s get you some next steps so you can pursue your goals.
As you begin pursuing your dreams of business ownership you find out very quickly that there are more options than you may have ever imagined. The tough part can be that they may not look exactly like the job you have had all these years. So, which ones do you pursue?
As I have mentioned many times before, the first part of finding your perfect franchise is to know yourself, your skills, your likes and dislikes as well as how you want to work and what you want to accomplish. This personal inventory is something I spend my days helping people work through and it can be very enlightening to have your model mapped out so that you can better target franchise opportunities.
Once you know yourself then you can better sort the field of opportunities in front of you. There are a number of resources like this publication, blogs, books and advisors like me that can help you take your model and find the companies that are a fit. While you can go it alone at this step you can also lean on proven experts to speed your progress and have the answers you need.
Next step #1: Use experts to target franchises – industry magazines, books, a Franchise Consultant, etc
Once you are in the process of investigating franchise opportunities you may find that you need access to answers unique to you and your investigation. This might be someone to help you evaluate the numbers from a resale franchise or to look over your financials. Could also be someone to help you sort through financing options or answer franchise specific legal questions.
No need to sit around wondering if you have the money, guessing what those numbers all mean or stressing about trying to understand the contract. You may not need help, but if you do it is your choice to use those experts or not.
See if you need the help before you start writing checks. Find the questions then how to answer them, not the reverse. Roughly 20% of our candidates hire a franchise attorney (yes there is a difference from your family attorney) to help them understand the contract.
Next step #2: Use subject matter experts to improve your understanding of the details in the process.
The biggest, and free, resources available to any franchise candidate are the franchisor and their franchisees. Time and time again candidates try to hide and Google stuff instead of spending their valuable time where it is most effective, with the franchise company.
Now, logically I understand that this is an extension of going to a retail store where we walk in with our guard up and then when a sales associate walks up and says ”Can I help you?” we quickly fire off the protective response “No, I’m just looking”.
Let’s disarm that fear right here and now. If you feel a high pressure sales pitch as you are looking at a franchise then you are probably in the wrong place! Every successful franchise brand I know has achieved that success by teaching candidates what they do, learning about the candidate and finding perfect fit. You don’t need to be afraid of talking to a good franchise company; they are as likely to close the file as you are if the right fit isn’t there.
Next step #3: Engage the franchise companies you have targeted and their franchise owners, they have a lot of answers and information you can only get from them!
After all of that let’s say you have become the proud new owner of a franchise. Now what?
Well, you will want training, a place to operate and the tools for success.
The first person you will want to connect with is the head of the franchise training program, your first new best friend. Find out how the training program works and how to schedule yourself into it.
If you need assistance finding a retail site, negotiating a lease or starting build out then you will want to meet the real estate and construction teams or outside contractors. Learn about how they can help you with those steps and when to start that process.
The other process you may be starting right out of the gate is getting your new brand out in the market you will be opening in. This would likely have you working with the brand’s marketing experts to set up a website, social media and marketing. We see franchisors starting this process earlier than ever before to get their new owners the fastest ramp up possible.
Next step #4: Engage the in-house experts for training, real estate, construction and marketing launch.
If you did not use an accountant or lawyer in the investigative process then once you become a franchise owner is where you engage them. The lawyer you need here is not the franchise attorney mentioned above, but is the family or contract attorney you were already familiar with. You will want to set up a business entity and agreements if you have a partner.
On the accounting side you will want someone to do your taxes and look over your numbers.
Next step #5: Set your business up right with help from a good lawyer and accountant.
In the franchise world it is very rare to find a situation where the answer does not exist. Your keys to success will be finding the people with the answers or the professionals that know where to find the answers you need.
Don’t sit and feel hopeless because you don’t have the answers you need to pursue your dreams.
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.