There’s no halfway when choosing the franchise that’s right for you
After years of working for someone else, perhaps you’re ready to take the blind leap of going out on your own. You see yourself as a leader with great business acumen, and now you need to find an outlet that allows you to stretch your entrepreneurial wings.
It doesn’t necessarily need to be a blind leap, though. In fact, one option people consider is joining a franchise rather than opening a business from scratch. Then again, there are almost an infinite number of franchises you can choose to join – so how do you go about finding the right franchise for you?
Evaluating a Franchise
When determining if a franchise is the right fit, you’ll first need to decide if you’re ready to be a part of something bigger than yourself, or if an independent operation is better suited for your goals. Remember that being part of a franchise is a team sport! Everyone plays a part in supporting each other and growing the brand.
From initial site-location to becoming fully operational, you’ll want to learn as much as you can about franchise location ownership and what it will entail. A rapidly growing franchise is also a strong indication that they’ve established a successful business model, and that’s something you’ll want to take into consideration.
Preparing For Your Discovery Day
Keep in mind that selecting a franchise should be the right fit on both sides. You’ll want to join something you’re confident you can grow with, and the franchisor will want someone who’s ready to fully-embrace their brand’s lifestyle.
While it’s great to already have relevant industry certifications or expertise, most franchisors provide extensive training for new owners that can help bring you up to speed regardless of prior experience. To most franchisors, it’s generally more valuable when your passions align with their brand, and they see you have the aptitude to grow as a successful franchisee.
Once you have reviewed the company’s franchise kit and feel confident that this is the right opportunity, you can then have the franchisor’s sales development manager schedule what’s commonly referred to as a “Discovery Day”. This is a critical step that provides both the prospective franchisee and the franchisor with an opportunity to meet in person and further evaluate each other for the right fit.
One of the first items a prospect should review is the desired territory or market for them to develop. It’s not uncommon to also seek council from third-party research consultants to provide an impartial analysis of that area’s demographics. These details, in combination with the franchisor’s own research data, are critical to understand in order to successfully connect with your potential customers and establish a longstanding relationship within the communities therein.
Make sure to inquire about every aspect of the franchisor’s business model. You’ll also need to understand what the obligations are if you plan to run the store yourself, or how much of that can be delegated to your staff. Additional questions can pertain to finding locations, assistance with build-out, help with recruiting staff and what training is available from a marketing standpoint. Also, find out if they have a marketing fund and what it covers, or if they provide on-site training and vendor support.
Don’t forget to prepare for any questions the franchisor will have for you, too. Anticipate furnishing documentation that verifies you are financially capable of funding the business’ start-up process. Amongst other qualification questions, they may also ask for confirmation that you have the minimum liquid assets available, minimum net worth, and that you’ll meet a certain credit score threshold.
While you may feel as though you are being put through an interrogation by the franchisor, remember that the discovery day is a time for you to research the positives and potential pitfalls of joining a franchise. You can also use this time to ask for financial information such as the average sales numbers and how long it generally takes to become profitable.
As I’ve stated from the beginning, franchisees and the franchisor are on the same team – and as with any winning team, it takes transparency and plenty of communication. Prepare a list of questions, cover them all, and make sure to provide detailed answers to the franchisor so that nothing is left unknown.
Onboarding For Ownership
After your Discovery Day has taken place and you’ve officially become a new owner, every franchisor usually has their own variation of the development process.
At Tint World®, we consider our franchisees to be part of our franchise family from day one. As such, new owners are immediately encouraged to introduce themselves. No matter how long you’ve been with the franchise, everyone is encouraged to work together in reaching their success goals.
One of the best ways to go about connecting with other franchisees is to pick up the phone. Although this may seem intimidating, remember that even the most senior franchisees were new at some point. Tint World® franchisees are always happy to share advice and insight from when they were in your shoes. Owners also pose questions to each other in an open forum setting on an on-going basis. This allows anyone to share their expertise on any given topic.
Race To Success
Some of the most important advice I’d like to leave you with, is to stick with the program and follow your training. They say it takes 21 days to establish a good habit, and after that first month of operating, these habits will almost become second nature. Remember that the franchisor’s program was developed by franchisees and extensively revised for success.
Afterall, you’ve joined the franchise for some of these reasons, so let the program work for you – while you focus on the race to success!
Charles J. Bonfiglio is president and CEO of Tint World®, an award-winning franchised provider of automotive, residential, commercial, and marine window tinting and security film services. With Automotive Styling Centers™ in the U.S. and abroad, each franchise location houses approximately 20 profit centers, ranging from in-store accessory installations to off-site sales and installation of residential, commercial, and marine window tinting and security films. To find out more, please visit www.tintworld.com and www.tintworldfranchise.com.