by: Merri Cronk
President of FranNet of Central and West Texas and the Rio Grande Valley
If you’re stuck between wanting to be your own boss, yet not wanting to start a business from scratch, then franchise business ownership could be the perfect hybrid opportunity. Franchising may seem intimidating, especially if you’re questioning if it’s right for you. Business owners face several challenges; however, one of franchising’s greatest strengths is its ability to position a person for greater success through its proven systems.
Potential franchisees should conduct a lot of research when looking into the industry, as well as remaining patient and open minded. What are the critical questions you should be asking that expose the core of franchise ownership? Use these tools and get the answers you’re searching for.
The Good, The Bad, The Ugly
To start, the ugly truth is: franchising isn’t for everyone. Franchises have strict operational requirements and specifications. Some see standardized financial and accounting systems, standardized products, established trademarks and solid business programs as a “pro”. But if that sounds closer to a chokehold for your creativity, than perhaps you’d be better served heading down a different path.
The Bad: Some franchise systems are better than others. Weak systems won’t provide you with the future you’re wanting. Lay down a strong foundation and look for strong support. Patience is key – don’t let wild expectations ruin the proper planning this process requires.
The Good: Franchising combines the best aspects of the entrepreneur spirit and corporate America. There are over 3,500 franchise concepts in over 90 different categories. With so many, you will be able to find one that fits your personal requirements. Look for the following qualities: a product/service that caters to a large market, a great marketing team, screens you while you screen them, a clear process, strong financials, happy franchisees and dedicated training/mentorship programs.
Know the Common Problems
No franchise is immune to struggle and if want a solid system, turn your focus to how they overcome future challenges. Research common problems and connect with franchise owners in that system. Peak into the franchisor’s operations staff as well. They should be experienced enough to effectively digest and resolve problems efficiently.
Connect and Communicate
As I mentioned before, happy franchisees are a clear indicator of whether or not the franchise will be right for you. Connect with franchise owners in your area and ask about the support, communication and training while carefully observing what the common attitude is toward the franchisor. Communicate with consultants in your area and don’t be afraid to get involved with the potential franchises on your list. Connect with your bank and learn the truth concerning your financials. Don’t forget to ask about what insurance your business will need as well.
If you’ve done the research and you’re properly prepared, franchise business ownership will likely become a very rewarding profession. The future you’ve always wanted isn’t out of reach. Take your tool kit and start the transition from corporate employment to the freedom of business ownership.