Editor's Note: For seasoned franchise sales pros, it can be easy to overlook the most obvious benefits of franchising, or take them for granted - which is not the case for prospects and candidates new to franchising. Reminding them of these three basic benefits during the sales process can go a long way to keep them moving ahead. Take a moment to step out of your sales shoes to refresh your memory of what it's like on "the other side": the world your successful candidates are about to enter.
When you're the owner of a franchise, you carry the title of "chief problem solver." Having worked with hundreds of franchise owners over the past decade, I've observed three key advantages that potential owners often overlook.
Any business owner knows they're the chief problem solver. There are problems at every turn, and franchising offers no exception. But what might surprise you is that a franchise experience often comes with a network of teachers equipped with years of experience.
"I was really surprised with the built-in network of peers who were willing to work with me to help me improve my business," says John Boike, who has ownership interests in more than 125 Subway restaurants in the Southeast. "I started asking questions about detailed parts of running the business and my peers helped me cut my learning curve in half. Quickly, I learned secrets about the details only an owner would know - like controlling costs - and I started to succeed."
If you've ever worked an office job, you know what it's like to wear one hat. You manage your niche exclusively, and everything else is passed along to other people. Franchise owners, on the other hand, wear a seemingly endless number of hats, and that can be invigorating.
"In a corporate world, you're often set in a small box, but in the franchise world you get to get your hands in lots of spots, from finance to hiring to management," says Craig Cannon, a successful franchisee of Massage Envy along the Wasatch Front in Utah. "I learned by watching successful franchisees that you have to get your hands on the business to save yourself time and a lot of headaches."
A common, yet flawed aphorism says, "Practice makes perfect." In reality, practice makes permanent. And this is the key that turns the concern of "lots of rules that will limit me" on its head into a real advantage for the franchise owner.
"Having proscribed practices is what protects the brand, plain and simple," says Boike. "Given the brand is a big part of what you're paying for as a franchisee, protecting it is everything. And what you do repeatedly is what makes the brand."
A lot of small businesses end in failure, and while it's impossible to avoid every pitfall, franchise owners can help prevent disaster by doing extensive research before pulling the trigger.
"It all starts with doing real due diligence on the franchise concept," says Cannon. "You're going to need to understand market penetration, location availability, population density, and reasons for any recent closings all before you take that first step."
What's more, no matter what route you take, starting a business isn't cheap, so don't think opening a franchise is an open door to escape investment. Franchisees are required to make royalty payments in return for support in operations and advertising. And in many instances, franchisors may not provide all the necessary resources to secure funding for a particular location.
Like all businesses, franchise ownership comes with perks and drawbacks, and the success of the business will ultimately reside with the franchisees. Remind them to do their homework and to ask other franchise owners for advice, and they'll find the answers they're looking for.
A targeted, quarterly magazine that takes CEO's, VPs and Sales Executives to the cutting edge of franchise development.