Tag Archives: hot franchise

4+ Questions To Help You Buy A Franchise With Confidence

Screenshot 2014-11-28 05.12.20

Some prospective franchisees admit they do not know what to ask existing franchisees, and others say they know what they’d like to ask, but they don’t know how. Don’t let either scenario stop you from thoroughly investigating a franchise opportunity. Here are 4+ questions to ask, worded in a way to help you get the information you need.

#1 “As an existing franchisee, knowing what you now know, would you buy this same franchise again?”

Some experts will tell you never to ask Yes/No questions, but in this case you must because you want a definitive answer. If you ask ten franchisees of the same brand that same question you want to add up the “yeses” and “nos” at the end of your interrogation and decide if this is a franchise you should buy. If the majority of existing franchisees tell you “no” then you probably need to look for another opportunity. There could be exceptions, but you’ll want to understand what they are before you go ahead.

The answers to Question #1 logically lead to other questions. Whether the franchisee says yes or no, ask: “Why” If the franchisee answers no, ask “Under what circumstances would you change your answer to a yes?”

The answers to Question #1 logically lead to other questions. Whether the franchisee says yes or no, ask: “Why” If the franchisee answers no, ask “Under what circumstances would you change your answer to a yes?”

#2 “Do you find the business as satisfying today as you did when you first got started?”

Satisfaction is an important consideration in the life of a franchisee. In fact, many people explore franchise opportunities to get away from an unsatisfying job. But in this case, you’ll pay a fee to go to work. Do you really want to work at something that you don’t find satisfying after a year or two?

It’s another Yes/No question, but again the answers lead to other questions: “What happened to change your degree of satisfaction?” . . . “What could you or the franchisor do to make the business more satisfying?”

#3 “What’s the secret to the success of the top franchisees?”

It’s an open-ended question that can reveal important facts for you to consider. For example, if the franchisee answers, “Location!” you need to zero in on where to open your franchise. If the answer is “sales skills” or “management skills” or “accounting skills” you need to evaluate your own skills, or your ability to hire those skills.

Of course, if you’re not questioning a top franchisee, you may get the wrong answer! That’s why you should always ask the franchisor to give you a list of the top performing franchisees, i.e. the franchisees who won awards at the last three annual conventions. (A franchisor that won’t do that or can’t do that may not be worthy of your consideration).

#4 “If I invest the money the way the franchisor suggests (i.e. in training, advertising, location, etc.) and I work the business as well as you have, how much money can I expect to earn my first year as a franchisee? The third year? The fifth year?”

That’s what you really want to know, isn’t it? “How much money will I make?” The franchisor probably won’t tell you, but the franchisees will if you ask in a non-invasive manner. If you’re expecting to earn six figures annually, but no franchisee ever has with this brand, you need to know that upfront. It may mean you’ll have to buy more than one unit to meet your financial goals.

While these are some of the questions you should ask existing franchisees, you’ll find more in my book 101 Questions to Ask Before You Invest in a Franchise.

Franchise & Business Owners: Don’t Worry About Passion

Notice that no where does it say passion equates success in anything.

“Your passion for your business is most critical because it will drive your eventual success.”

So said an “expert”.

Who comes up with this stuff? It reminds me of the “expert” who said that most businesses fail for lack of cash flow. Huh? Most businesses fail because the business operators had no clue (no system) about how to operate the business successfully. They had plenty of money, but they ran out because they didn’t know how to invest it.

But I bet they had loads of passion?

And what did that get them? A huge financial loss and the despair that follows.

First thing prospective franchisees and others who plan to start a business should know is to avoid and ignore the “experts”. At least some of them. Instead, seek the advice of people who actually worked in the trenches, who built businesses, who failed a time or two, who made a payroll over and over again, and who understand the basics of how to succeed in a business.

And understand that passion can lead to success . . . or failure. 

Early in my entrepreneurial career, I rented a small office from a guy who owned an insurance agency. Every so often as he was leaving the office at about 6 p.m. he would stop by and say, “If you continue working this hard for another year or two, you’re going to be a great success.”

I know he meant well; I know he was merely encouraging me, but he was clueless.

You may have loads of passion for what you want to do in your business, and you may work 7 days a week at it, but here’s the most important point: If you don’t know what you are doing, and why, and how to do it over and over again, you are not going to succeed. Work your tail off, tell everyone how passionately you love your business, your products, your service, but don’t for a moment think any of that bull translates to financial success.

You want to succeed? Buy a system for success. Or develop a system for success. Of course, there too, you must be careful because all systems are not created equal.

By the way, I’ve identified 12 successful systems in my forthcoming ebook: 12 Amazing Franchise Opportunities for 2015. You can still get a free copy just for asking (look at the top of the screen). 

Your Mistakes Will Cost More Than You Think

When you start your own independent (non-franchised) business, your mistakes will be more costly than you imagined. In fact, your mistakes will probably put you out of business.

I’m not writing this to scare you away from starting a business without a franchisor; I’m writing it because it’s factual . . . and scary.

Do indie businesses survive?
Have you looked at the statistics? How many independent start-up businesses survive in the USA? Rather than take my word for it do some research, or better yet, just ask a local business banker!

Of course, the more entrepreneurial you are, the more likely you are to say that you can avoid the mistakes, and maybe you can. However, the statistics say otherwise. Most independent startups fail.

Why mistakes occur
Many people think certain businesses are easy to start and operate. Let’s take pizza for example. Many people can make a “good” pizza? My Italian grandmother made the greatest pizza in the world, so it’s no surprise that many of my cousins can make great pizzas, too.

In fact, when people tasted my cousin Mary’s pizza, they told her that she needed to go into business. And she did! Mary and her entrepreneurial husband (also an Italian) opened a couple of pizza shops, and in a matter of years were dead broke.

How could that be? They made a “great” pizza.

Can you sell what you make?
I’ll tell you how. They knew how to make pizza; they didn’t know how to market and sell pizza. Franchising’s saving grace is that it knows how to distribute (sell) products and services.

It is simple to open a pizza shop. You get a good location, buy the equipment, bring in the supplies, get a recipe, put up a sign, do some marketing and . . . voila! . . . you’ve got a thriving business.

No, you don’t. You’ve got a money-sucking business, unless you avoid the mistakes.

What do customers want?
Mary’s first mistake was believing that consumers want a “great” or even “good” pizza. They don’t. Just look at what they buy everyday!

Mary thought she could build her business by advertising in the newspaper. Wrong. The pizza franchises would have saved her from that mistake.

Mary also thought she could build her business without delivery. Wrong. The pizza franchises would have saved her from that mistake, too.

Too many mistakes
There were numerous other mistakes . . . Mary didn’t know how many slices of pepperoni to place on a large pizza and still keep it profitable . . . and the pizza franchises would have saved her from that mistake as well.

After so many mistakes, Mary and her husband lost their business and much more.

It’s easy to make these mistakes . . . Mary and her husband had no idea they were making them. They would have done anything to avoid them . . . except buy a franchise. Because a franchise would not have allowed Mary to sell her “great” pizza.

Should you buy a franchise?
Look, you need to make some tough decisions before you start a business. What’s important to you? Your way? Or a franchisor’s way? Keep in mind that the franchisor may not sell what you consider to be a “great” or even “good” product – if that’s important, find another franchisor, or avoid franchising.

Of this you can be sure: If you buy a reputable franchise (and they’re not all reputable) the franchisor’s training will save you from making too many costly mistakes. You’re still going to make mistakes, but in a franchise, the mistakes probably won’t put you out of business. Ask your banker how many of his or her franchisee clients fail? It’s one of the reasons why bankers love franchising.

In fact, even though they won’t tell you, the bankers know you are going to make mistakes when you start an independent business, and even though you’ve accounted for mistakes in your business plan and cash flow estimates, the bankers know better. Your mistakes are going to cost more than you think.

Understand That Franchising Is Not For Everyone; It May Not Be For You!

franchise-keyboard3

Franchising works for everyone!
franchise-keyboard3
Even though it’s wrong, it’s easy to get the idea that franchising works for everyone because the media say so. Newspapers, magazines, television news shows, websites, and other forms of media love a good franchise success story, and so do viewers, readers and visitors.

Know the Facts

What’s not to like? Franchising is one of the best ways to start and develop a successful business in America, or almost any place in the world. But this fact remains: Franchising is not for everyone, and it may not be for you!

People think that because it’s a franchise, someone else runs the business for you. Someone else (i.e. the franchisor) makes the decisions, builds the business, hires the people, attracts the customers, sells the products and services, and even collects the revenues, making sure to pay you, the franchisee, a profit. But it doesn’t work that way.

Who Creates Successful Franchises?

Franchising requires an active, thinking person (i.e. a franchisee) who can make decisions and who has the ability (with the franchisor’s training, ongoing support and guidance) to build and operate a business. It is never an autopilot business, although it’s not the same as starting an independent business from scratch. Independents do not get the training and guidance of a franchisor, and in most cases, it’s the training and guidance that produces successful franchisees who in turn produce successful businesses.

3 Reasons Franchising May Not Work For You

It sounds easy, and many franchisors and franchisees make it look easy, but there are good reasons why franchising may not work for you. Here are a few of those reasons for your consideration:

  1. You’re not in control. If you’ve got to be in control, don’t become a franchisee. While you do control many of the variables in your business, you do not ultimately contralto he business. The franchisor does. If you can’t follow directions, franchising is not for you.
  2. It’s not a democracy. You’re one of many in a franchise. You may get a vote, but you may get out-voted. And even if you’re in the majority, you may not get things your way because it’s not a democracy. It’s the franchisor’s business; and the franchisor must make decisions for the good of the entire franchise network, not just you, and not just the people who think like you.
  3. You can’t always do it your way. Got some unique product you’d like to sell in your franchise? You’re not allowed. Want to set your own opening/closing hours? You’re not allowed. Want to change the colors of the company logo? You’re not allowed. Get the idea? You will do most things the franchisor’s way, and not necessarily your way.

Did you notice that all three issues are related to the same theme? Control! Franchising works because first and foremost, good franchisors know how to build a successful business, and they know how to teach and guide franchisees to replicate their success. Franchising doesn’t work when franchisees are allowed to do what they want, when they want . . . so if you’re the type of person who must maintain control, then you must avoid franchising. It won’t work for you!

Understanding your personality, and matching it to a franchisor’s operating system and philosophy, is one good way to protect yourself before you invest in a franchise. And that’s why I lead all of my coaching students to the Franchise Navigator, a free assessment that tells you if franchising will work for you, and advises you as to the types of franchises that make sense for you. I am an affiliate of the Franchise Navigator, and if you invest in a franchise that the Franchise Navigator recommends to you, I will receive a commission.