This is one of those “homework” items that cannot be over emphasized. Conducting franchise reviews, talking with other successful franchisees and understanding what has made them successful is one of the most important activities you can do when determining if a franchise is a good fit for you.
You can easily be mislead by the franchisor’s own sales information, only because you see only what you want to see and the franchisor is not going to go out of their way to emphasize the negative aspects of the franchise. Details in company advertising can be overblown on the one hand and certain points can be skewed to favor only certain aspects of franchise ownership. Most franchisors provide truthful facts, but sometimes these facts don’t tell the whole story. Remember, it’s in a franchisor’s best interest to sell you a franchise — making it work to your benefit is up to you.
You need honest, unbiased information from others that have already made the leap of faith and are operating their own franchise. Seek out franchisees who have already gone through the process you are now considering. In addition to talking with them on the phone, ask if you can visit with them in person to talk about the experience they have had in owning the same franchise that interests you. Find franchisees with varying levels of experience – one that has been in the business for less than a year, another with 3 to 5 years experience, and another with over 5 years experience. You need to understand the various phases of the business.
When looking for franchise reviews, meet with those who are willing to talk to you in a comfortable setting. You’ll get better information. Also, don’t waste their time. Be direct and get right to the questions. Here are some open-ended questions to get you started:
2 What were the worst and best parts of the experience?
3 Has the franchisor been supportive and honest with you?
4 Are there things you regret? If so, what are they?
5 Would you go through the process again?
6 If you could change something, what would it be?
Using questions such as these gives you an overall assessment of the experience of being a franchise owner. If you are still excited about the franchise after the franchise reviews, then consider assessing yourself.
Put yourself in the position of a franchise owner and ask the following questions:
1 Are you willing to sacrifice the time needed to get the franchise going?
2 Are you willing to be flexible as the franchisor’s model changes and evolves?
3 Are you a “people person”? Do you have the temperament for dealing with the public and employees on both good days and bad?
4 Do you have the personality for franchising?
5 Are you passionate about starting a business?
6 Can you weather seasonal ups and downs that may come or are you the type of person that worries about everything?
Franchise reviews are a critical step in your franchise evaluation process, however, it won’t give you all the information you need. You have to look at yourself for the rest. Make sure the franchise meets your standards and make sure your standards also match the franchise. Only then will you find a combination that leads to success.
Dion Earnshaw is a Candaian Author. He provides help introduce prospective franchisees to franchisors, helping both to achieve higher levels of success. He has applied his knowledge and understanding to a wide variety of franchise reviews.