Is Owning a Franchise in Your Future?

For many individuals that explore franchising as the next step in their career, as a way to control their own destiny or as a way to create a family business understanding the process can be quite overwhelming. Below are several articles by franchise experts that will help interested parties diligently navigate the process to help create a playing field that is best for them as opposed to seeing them aimlessly tiptoe through a minefield consisting of franchising’s good, bad and ugly.

If you’re thinking of becoming a franchisee, how should you prepare yourself?

franchise2Buying a franchise can be a great move for a would-be entrepreneur who doesn’t want to create a new business from scratch. In theory, franchisees acquire a model that already works on every level, from branding to pricing to marketing. A ready clientele eagerly spends on Dunkin’ Donuts, McDonald’s and 7-11. The market has tested the best recipes for glazed crullers, Egg McMuffins and the right combo of energy drinks to stock next to the register. But making a go as a successful franchisee can be a lot more complicated than simply finding an appealing brand and plunking down some cash. For a taste of what can go wrong, see Forbes’ piece about the problems at sandwich franchise Quiznos, which paid $206 million to settle a suit brought by franchisees who claimed the chain had oversold its markets and excessively marked up supplies.

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How to Buy A Franchise

Contrary to popular belief, the process of buying a franchise isn’t really difficult-but it is a process. I’ve found, (through working one-on-one with thousands of potential franchise owners) that it’s really important to tackle a major life decision like the purchase of a franchise business-or any type of business, in a very methodical way. (Even if you’re not a methodical person!)

But you need to realize that buying a franchise is a big deal. It could potentially be life-changing. That’s what you want, isn’t it?

After all, you probably wouldn’t be reading this if you wanted to just go out and find a new job -or keep the one you have.

With that in mind, kick off your shoes and grab your favorite beverage. In this article, Joel Libava, The Franchise King shows exactly how to buy a franchise.

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Why Owning A Franchise Business Is Good For Your Family

Many entrepreneurs choose to become small-business owners with an exit strategy of turning over the business to their children one day — a strategy that takes on more importance in an era where young people are struggling to find gainful employment. Children who begin working in the family business at a young age will typically start an ascension into management after college, with an eye on purchasing some or all of the family business as their parents head into retirement. Often, the parents will retain a percentage of the business as a revenue stream in retirement, adding an extra level of responsibility for the child as a steward of their parents’ nest egg.

Even if they don’t stay in the family business, studies show that parental entrepreneurship increases the probability of children’s entrepreneurship by about 60%. Children of entrepreneurial parents have already experienced many of the ebbs and flows of small-business ownership, which helps to mitigate their fears and raise their risk tolerance.

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Learning About Franchising

During research for Franchise Bible, 8th Edition, author, Rick Grossman found that the franchise industry had changed in many ways over the years. Technology has had the biggest impact by modifying buying behaviors. Not too many years ago, franchise buyers would find an opportunity in Entrepreneur magazine or by attending a franchise expo in-person. They would then go through the franchisor’s respective step-by-step process to qualify, purchase and launch their franchises. But today, buyers can find a plethora of information online about nearly any franchise they want to learn about. This has leveled the playing field for new innovative companies to compete favorably with the “big boys” in the marketplace.

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Are you ready to own your own franchise or expand your current franchise portfolio?

Are New Franchisees Ready to be Successful?

Last week on Franchise Today, Joel Libava (aka The Franchise King) and I discussed an except from Lizette Pirtle’s recent book, Franchise Success: The New Formula. The discussion pertained to whether or not franchisees are ready to be successful and whether or not it’s actually an assumption that is incorrectly made when a new franchisee signs on the dotted line. Further, the excerpt included a passage about an unemployed individual that entered into a franchise agreement, and his subsequent failure as a franchisee. In an attempt to jump-start discussion on this and other factors relating to franchise success and failure, I have posted the excerpt below and encourage all comments and opinions.

Franchise Success: The New Formula
By: Lizette Pirtle
Chapter 3: Readiness (Pgs 59-60)

We can’t assume that when people invest in a franchise they are ready to be successful. We can’t even assume that they were ready to make the investment in the first place. But we do make these assumptions. Yet, action does not necessarily equal readiness. There is much more to the investment decision and the success of franchisees than we have traditionally considered.

William was laid off from a job he enjoyed as the vice president of operations for a manufacturing company. He had unemployed for 6 months and was getting desperate. He had applied for every job available. He had lost self confidence and was becoming increasingly frustrated. He felt pressure from his parents, his wife and his friends who recommended he consider starting a business.

William never considered self-employment before, but the thought of working again and owning his own business became very appealing. The more he thought about owning a business, the more excited he got. He decided to acquire a franchise, and by the time he made this decision he was eager to start and his excitement was almost overpowering.

William was extremely intelligent and had been very successful in his career, but during training he experienced difficulty. He labored through many portions of the program and questioned new concepts with mistrust. Many of the exercises seemed difficult to him.

While his classmates joyfully excelled, William’s mood became somber as the training progressed. Sometimes he became hostile and withdrawn, while at other times he would engage and be open. The franchisor called him aside and offered him the option to leave the training and recoup his investment. William declined.

When he opened his business, William could not make the business go. He fought and resisted many of the marketing activities and, although he was always busy and worked hard, his efforts were fruitless. In spite of his qualifications and the full support of the franchisor, within 6 months of attending training, William closed his business.

Okay, franchise professionals, tell us what you think. How would you have handled this situation? What would you have done differently? How can we prevent these situations from actually happening within franchising?


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What Do Franchises and Franchising Experts Do On Social Media?

franchisenote-logoHere’s an article that was posted on Franchise Note on October 2, 2009, by Business Blogger and Webpreneur, Ivan Widjaya. Thank you, Ivan, for including some very flattering comments about my social media activity within franchising.

What Do Franchises and Franchise Experts Do On Social Media?
by Ivan Widjaya

Franchises are getting along well with social media. Although I cannot present you with analytical data and stats, I can see that franchises are taking benefit from the social media, in term of brand awareness and franchise information (including promos, events, polls, etc.) Eventually, all of those will be translated into more customers and revenue.

With various strategies, plans and purposes, it’s enlightening to learn and observe what franchising people are doing in major social media. Let’s do our brief exploration in three social media behemoths – Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Franchising on Facebook

Facebook offers franchises and franchise experts opportunities to build and engage network that will buzz your franchise businesses and services, creating a strong awareness on the Net that could very well get franchises more business.

Let’s take the people I connect with (a.k.a. friends) from Franchise Note’s Facebook account.

As for franchises, I consider WingZone Franchise as one of the better franchisors’ account on Facebook (WingZone also has other Web 2.0 presence, namely Twitter, MySpace and YouTube.) It is full of interesting updates, giving us the example of what franchises can do with Facebook.

For example, WingZone post a notification of free chicken wings in a certain area of operation – Of course, this will create buzz, as well as brand awareness, and eventually send people to Wing’s store to get some free wings (and buy some other stuffs.)

As for franchising experts, I consider Paul Segreto’s Facebook account to be interesting. He is using a mixture of updates, ranging from personal updates (e.g. posting a video about a dog helping one of his canine friends in need) to professional updates (e.g. informing about his another webinar series in October.)

Franchising on Twitter

Twitter is the fastest growing social media that is predicted to exceed Facebook in popularity. The appeal is on the 140-character ‘tweet’ that allow Twitter users – Including those in franchising – to share info quickly.

From my Twitter account, I usually follow those that I know, was recommended or think they are interesting. I read those I follow (for franchising topic, I recommend Joel Libava’s) for several times in a day (in fact, I check and re-check my Twitter account dozens of times a day.) The updates are basically a comment with a link to the source or reference (and yes, about 50 to 60 percent of the tweets I received are either for Internet marketing purposes or promotional efforts.)

If I can’t seem to follow the updates I like, I read franchising updates in the form of Twitter’s search widget from Franchise Note sidebar (somewhere in FranchiseNote.com’s right column.)

Similar to Facebook, but in 140 characters or less, Twitter updates you with short blurbs (That’s why Twitter is called a micro-blogging platform) of those you follow. It’s nice to see those franchises and franchise experts are having a chit-chat, allowing you to see a hint of their focus, vision and characters.

Franchising on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is pretty similar to Facebook, but to highlight, the ability to present a resume-like profile page and endorse your contact is what making LinkedIn stands out. Professional recommendations are powerful tools in getting you the buzz and new clients, especially if you are providing professional advices (i.e. franchise consultant)

If you are into franchising (or at least, want to learn about franchising) I suggest you to join one of the LinkedIn group for franchises, Franchise Networking (more than 2,800 members), where you can read articles and follow/participate in discussions on franchising topic.

You can learn more about the background of the franchise owners and experts you know or follow from the profile page – Take Paul Segreto’s profile as an example: You can learn that he attended college at Wagner College and 12 people have recommended him so far. If you are interested in his services, reading his profile page is pretty much giving you an idea or two why he is one of the authoritative voices in US franchising.

And yes, reading through Paul’s LinkedIn profile makes what’s inside my LinkedIn profile looks insignificant.

Any thoughts to share? Please share yours by commenting to this article.