Get in on the Ground Floor!

Date: DEC 2nd, 2008

Topic: Industry Experts

A new franchisor presents you with some opportunities. You’ll receive:-
  • greater selection of locations;
  • possibly a lower initial cost;
  • special grants or terms.
Yes – this can all be true. However, there’s another side you should consider. Where are they strong and where do they need to grow?

Look to the background of a new franchisor. Some questions you should ask are:
    a) How long have you been in business?
    b) How many locations are operating and for what length of time?
    c) Are they corporate or franchise locations?
    d) How do they perform?
    e) What are the names and telephone numbers of your managers or franchisees?
    f) Are you listed with the credit bureau and what are the names of your major suppliers?
    g) Are you involved in any litigation or is any pending?
    h) Do you work fulltime in this business?
    i) What did you do before you became a franchisor of this business?
Carefully digest the answers!

If you’re joining a new franchise organization, you can expect to be called on to make a contribution outside of your own location. You may, in fact, have the opportunity to assist in some way in the growth and refinement of the concept.

In a mature franchise company, their system has been evolved, tested and refined in many locations and situations. They will probably have a deep background of operations’, marketing and performance experience. As such you would expect to receive:
  • extensive training;
  • experienced real estate assistance;
  • build-out guidelines or assistance;
  • strong advertising and marketing support;
  • brand recognition;
  • purchase power; and
  • a company infrastructure;
However, with a newer concept not all of these are yet “cast in stone” and you’ll want to evaluate what’s important for you.

In a new or start-up franchise, you may have to look towards the founder as your guide. Look for:
    -Commitment.
    -Financial stability.
    -Background experience or knowledge.
    -Early signs of success.
    -A concept you fit.
    -Something which uses your skills and attributes.
    -A lifestyle or work demand with which you’re comfortable.
    -An investment which you can easily handle.
It’s then time to investigate thoroughly.

Often we hear people looking for a franchise reminisce, “I looked at buying a …………… franchise ten years ago and didn’t go ahead. Look how successful they are today – boy did I miss out!” The questions to such people should be:
    -What is the reason you didn’t buy then?
    -Was it the lack of availability of funds?
    -Was it too early and risky for you?
    -Did your family situation not allow you to make the commitment?
Today the question is – “Have these stumbling blocks changed?”

New isn’t necessarily bad! What it will require is more from you. As in any investment, make sure it makes sense and that it doesn’t sap you of all your resources. Ensure your realistic rewards and will give you special returns for the investment.

However, as in stock market investing, for all the success stories, there are also some losers.

Having said all of the above, you may also find a sense of excitement and satisfaction as you help in the build-up of a newer system.

Make sure you and yours are comfortable before you set sail. You’ll then be ready to weather any waves or winds that come along.

You can make a contribution to your new system – just make sure your franchisor is at least equally committed to do the same.

Written by C. John Woodburn

John can be contacted at:
Woodburn & Associates
4034 Mainway Drive – Suite 202
Burlington, ON
L7M 4B9
Telephone: 1-877-322-2153
Fax: (905) 335-4649
Email: woodburnassoc@on.aibn.com