The best way to answer this question is to follow a real life example of someone considering franchise ownership.
Greg is an extremely bright individual. He has a great business background that includes extensive sales experience as well as finance experience. Greg was laid off from his previous company in October and has yet to land an acceptable job. Needing to get some income flowing, Greg starting thinking about starting his own business. He’d heard about some of the benefits of franchises so he started looking at franchise options. Dave did what any of us would do; he went to the Internet to learn more.
The Internet provides franchise seekers lots of information on franchise concepts and isn’t a bad place to start the education and search process. Here’s the problem, it is extremely time consuming and most if not all franchise websites you find are sales sites so they give you just enough information to get you interested so you have to give them your contact information so you can learn more. Here’s what happened to Greg as he started to request information from some franchise companies he wanted to learn more about.
He received nice marketing material in the mail from some.
- He received nothing from others.
- He received phone calls from franchise sales people that haven’t stopped calling even after telling them he is no longer interested.
- He became overwhelmed with all the options.
- He only saw options available from franchisors that use the Internet as a marketing tool…which many great concepts do not use.
More importantly, the search was based on companies that sounded interesting, but that had nothing to do with what Greg wanted out of owning his own business; such as an available local territory, a challenging business development role, something that would build equity value that could be sold when it was time to exit the business and available roles for his children as they become old enough to work.
Here’s what at franchise consultant was able to do for Greg:
- Make the starting point a determination of what the short term and long term goals are for owning a business in the first place.
- Clearly determine what environment and role would keep Greg motivated and energized on a long term basis.
- Introduce different concepts that fit the goals and motivators, some of which he had not and would not have considered as part of his own search.
- Act as the buffer between Greg and the franchise companies so that Greg isn’t getting chased and pressured by franchise sales people.
- Determine if a local territory is available and that Greg is financially qualified before even diving into a specific franchise concept.
- Help narrowing the options to a single concept to focus on first, with other options available if the primary option didn’t work out.
- Offer guidance on the things to ask the franchisor and other franchisees already in the system to gain a thorough understanding of the business model, support, and financial expectations.
- Review of the franchisor’s 200+ page financial disclosure document pointing out the important elements and what they mean.
- Assist in negotiating territory, financial and other terms.
- Offer guidance on available financing sources including how to use a 401(k) or IRA to fund the business without any IRS penalties.
Franchise ownership is a huge investment financially, emotionally, and will involve and impact your family. Ultimate success always comes down to the execution of the system by the franchisee. If the fit is poor, you as the franchisee will not be motivated or able to execute well and therefore you will fail to meet your expectations and those of the franchisor.
The services of most franchise consultants are free to the person considering that option. They will help you take a lot of the risk out of buying and owning your own business. Very importantly, they will help reduce the emotion from of what should absolutely not be an emotional decision and make the whole process a positive experience.