The first step is deciding to work with a Consultant. Your contact information is kept confidential and is reviewed solely by us. Only when you grant approval for an introduction do we disclose high-level pre-qualification information in order to streamline the process.
We conduct telephone interviews with you. Our team will want to discuss topics such as your lifestyle, previous/current challenges, career history, future financial targets and financing options in order to help identify a franchise that best meets your unique personal and professional goals. At the end, we request that you complete a candidate application (Request for Consideration). Both application and interviews combined help us determine what kinds of businesses that should leverage your skills and meet your objectives.
We spend a few days doing our research based upon the information you provided to determine the best franchises or business opportunities that should be explored. Our goal is to identify 3 or 4 franchise concepts that should be a potential match for you. In our opinion, anything more than a few concepts to research at any one time is too difficult to manage.
We present you with opportunities that we have identified in our research. This is where our Client’s education begins. Regardless of what we present, we merely ask that you allow yourself the opportunity to learn about the concepts before passing judgement. This is about learning, not buying. Investing in a business is one of the most important decisions a person will make. Prejudging purely based on emotion may not be the wisest. Clients owe it to themselves to take time before making an informed decision. If you agree to move ahead with the learning process, we will provide you a brief write-up of each concept. With formal approval, we will make the introduction to the respective Franchisor representative. At the same time, we will provide the Franchisor some high-level information that should prove the pre-qualification process was performed accurately.
Typically, the Franchisors will reach out to our clients directly via phone and/or email. While our Consultants would have already provided a brief bio about you, Franchisors still may want to review some basic information with you before officially presenting their concept. Expect them to follow-up with documents and other presentation materials so you can become acquainted at your own speed. Often, there will be multiple scheduled calls of discussion followed by some Q&A. There will be a lot to cover on each franchise concept. Our Consultants can help with questions you should be asking Franchisors.
Be methodical and never fear asking questions. Take detailed notes as it is easy to mix up information when reviewing multiple concepts simultaneously.
As discussions proceed and both parties gain comfort with each other, the Franchisor will send an electronic copy of their Franchise Disclosure Document. Take a deep breath…these can be anywhere from 50 to 250 pages long. We will guide you through the basic format of the FDD and particular items where you should pay close attention. You should review the FDD in complete detail writing down any questions or concerns for discussion with the Franchisor. The FDD will also contain a list of all current and former franchisees as well their contact information.
Some of the best information you can receive about working with a Franchisor and operating their business model will come from other franchisees. Part of your due diligence is asking questions and creating a pro forma that helps demonstrate the revenue stream of a business. The pro forma is based on franchise averages. Franchisors will have already guided you through the estimated costs and average revenues. Now is the time to compare notes with existing franchisees. Ask them to help validate estimates that will be used to adjust the projected revenue stream.
Don’t forget to call former franchisees. Inquire about reasons why the agreement was ended. They may have valuable insight on dealing with the Franchisor and additional challenges they could not overcome.
We can’t stress this enough… there is no obligation for a franchisee to speak with a perspective franchisee. They are busy business professionals that may not be willing to offer their time. It is important to be respectful of their time and have your list of questions ready to go. Ask about keys to their success, unexpected stresses, opinions concerning the Franchisee/Franchisor relationship, etc. It may take numerous attempts at reaching out to a short list of owners until you receive enough information to validate.
You should always consult with an attorney before making a decision. It is important to ensure that the chosed professional has a solid background in franchising, therefore we only recommend attorneys that specialize in reviewing FDD. We can help you find skilled professionals in your area.
Most franchisors have a Discovery Day, where they will invite you to their location. Clients that make it to this part of the process already believe that they can make the business work. This should be considered the “final interview.” You will not only get crucial information to help finalize the decision, but will get to meet the staff that will be providing your initial training and continuing support. Not only are you going to pull back the curtain and make sure the operations center of the company runs as described, but they will want to make sure that you are the right person that will create a successful business.
Candidates don’t buy franchises. Franchisors “award” franchises to a candidate if they determine there is mutual benefit. Remember, while there will be a social aspect to this meeting, this is still a formal business trip.
If both parties leave Discovery Day with strong positive feeling toward each other, then it is to be expected that the Franchisor will award a franchise.
CONCLUSION?: You have taken all of the steps up to the door, and now you must open it. Decision time. You must draw upon all of your research and validation in order to overcome any emotion barriers that may prevent you from becoming the business owner of a concept that can meet your financial goals.