Think fast: If you called a franchise company you were interested in pursuing, would you know what questions to ask a franchisor?
If you’re like most people, you came up with two answers.
- How much money can I make? (FYI, they probably couldn’t give you a firm answer)
- I don’t know.
There are many benefits to working with franchise consultants like myself when considering entrepreneurship through franchising, none more important than learning the right questions to ask a franchisor. Remember, there are more than 3,000 franchise brands available today and they have unique qualities that make them right for certain candidates and wrong for others. Meeting with a franchisor without having a good idea of what you should ask means you’re going to be relying entirely on the information the franchisor wants to highlight without doing a deep dive on areas that may be important to you.
Don’t hear me say the franchisor is trying to mislead you. On the contrary, they want you to win as badly as you do. That’s why they work with people like me to bring them candidates that are a good fit. Bypassing the franchise consultant and failing to consider questions for the franchisor just means the discovery process will be much more one-sided. The franchisor will give you a prepared presentation and learn what they need to know about you, but you may not learn what you need to know about them.
Here are just a few of the questions I tell candidates to consider:
How will this franchise help me achieve my life goals? Important because more than anything, franchising is about lifestyle design. With so many proven models available, you can select franchise business that enhances the life you want instead of the other way around. Do you want to spend lots of time being hands-on in your business or would you rather be in a semi-absentee model? Do you want something that operates during normal business hours or are odd hours better? Will family members want to be involved?
What is the REAL history of this franchise system? I’m not talking about a high-level description of how the company got from Point A to Point B. I want to know what their corporate team looks like? How long have the core members been there? How many years of franchising experience do they have? How long did they have their prototype before they decided to franchise? How did they determine what their franchising plan will look like?
What does their training program look like? Along with the proven model of success, the level of support offered to franchisees is the main reason to consider franchising. Most candidates will stop after they learn what the initial training process looks like, but what about ongoing training? How big is the support staff? How often are they doing on-site visits? Where are the learning opportunities in the system? Are they live meetings? Conference calls? Recorded webinars? White-papers? You want a franchise system that doesn’t just invite you to be part of their team, you want one that helps you grow with the team.
What is their approach to marketing? How does the company attract new customers? Do they rely more on traditional advertising or online advertising? How do they manage their search engine ranking? Do they invest in long term strategies like content marketing or publicity or strictly in call-to-action advertising? What does the corporate office handle vs. what is expected of franchisees?
What is my exit strategy? Believe it or not, as you’re considering your entrance into franchising you need to consider your exit as well. How many years are you hoping to have the franchise? Do you want to continue as an owner and let someone else run it down the road? Would you like to pass it on to a family member? How will you know they are a good fit? How quickly do established franchise units sell? What is the appreciation rate?
Questions like these are how I help you design your road map to the life you dream of through franchising. If you’re ready to find that franchise system that feeds your passion and accomplishes your life goals, give me a call.