Okay, love is a bit strong of a word, but I do believe the franchise business model has many characteristics to appreciate. Here are my top five reasons prospective entrepreneurs should consider the franchise business model.
Choose from a wide range of franchise options
Franchising offers opportunities in a wide range of industries. Franchises range from child education to business coaching and consultancy to direct marketing to staffing and recruitment to automotive to quick serve food to senior care to financial services to home repairs to storage systems to hairstyling to fitness centers to – well, you get the idea. There are plenty of franchising concepts to consider.
Franchising investments range from relatively modest investments to rather large investments. There are home based models, retail models and traditional office models. A potential franchisee (owner) can start with a single unit, multiple units or buy a large territory for development. Most of the franchise models require a full-time commitment from the franchisee. However there are still a number of quality options that allow for “passive ownership,” meaning that an individual can buy the franchise, hire a full-time manager to run the business and continue on with their current employment.
Franchise business model due diligence reduces risk
Franchise due diligence, or validation, is the process where a prospective franchisee carefully analyzes the performance history, marketing, financial and legal aspects of a franchise opportunity. Information, both qualitative and quantitative, is readily available.
Qualitative information includes: interviewing franchisees (current and former), meeting with franchisor representatives, studying third party reviews of the franchise, its products and services and its reputation. Quantitative information includes: the franchisor’s information packet, the Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD), earnings claims, growth history, franchisee success rate, your own pro forma financial forecast and available marketing research (size of market, growth of market, trends etc.). If done effectively a potential franchisee should be able to complete a 360 degree profile of the business before making an investment decision.
Proven franchise models increase potential for success
Successful franchisors have a business in place that has worked for the parent company and its franchisees. As a franchisee, you benefit by tapping into a system that includes operations training, advertising/marketing, branding, business planning, technology, real estate assistance, finance, purchasing power and more.
You are not starting a business from the ground up and you don’t have to be an industry expert to succeed. I do caution my clients, however, that a proven franchise business model does not guarantee success. Your situation is unique and your success is obtained by combining a solid franchise model with your motivation, determination, business acumen and willingness to follow a proven process.
Franchise support system helps startups
Strong franchisor support, especially at startup, is critical. You’re not “going it alone” with a good franchisor. They provide encouragement and guidance at the beginning as well as support once you become established. In many cases field representatives will make scheduled visits, help with customers and answer your questions. The franchisor will offer training courses, hold meetings/conventions and communicate through their websites, blogs and/or print publications.
Great franchises also have a solid franchisee peer network to collaborate and share knowledge and experience. It can be informal networking, or it might be a formal peer accountability group sponsored and facilitated by the franchise company.
Franchising gives opportunities for almost everyone
First-time entrepreneurs can choose to start a business from scratch or buy a franchise. The appeal of being your own boss is very tempting, however not everyone can take an idea they wrote on a napkin and turn it into a success. A franchise offers an established product or service, which usually already possesses widespread, brand-name recognition. The franchisee benefits from a pre-sold customer base that would take years to establish as a pure startup.
The franchise business model can work for people with varying skill sets. Franchises have established systems in place. These systems and processes are designed to improve productivity and increase sales of each franchise. These systems can also bolster a person that may be very strong in some areas important in running a business but are less knowledgeable in others. They follow established practices and build the franchise all while becoming a more well-rounded business owner.
Sometimes the thought of choosing from among the hundreds of franchise concepts keeps people from seriously considering the franchise business model. And once they choose a type of business to consider they are overwhelmed with the due diligence process so important to choosing the best franchise for them. That’s where outside help can make a big difference. As a franchise coach, I know that sometimes franchises or any sort of business ownership may not be in the client’s best interest. I do not want to set up clients for failure. For others though, I can help them efficiently walk down the path toward franchise ownership and bring them clarity to the decision process.