Finding a Franchise that "Fits"
A Well Paved Path
If you are reading this article, then the chances are good you are on the road to becoming a franchise owner. Welcome! You are on a path trod by millions before you and no doubt millions more to come. The good news: there’s no need to be a pioneer on this well-paved trail; however, don’t be fooled by a franchise freeway filled with off ramps to opportunity.
The franchise journey requires a little research to navigate the various roadways that, hopefully, lead to a successful destination. Thankfully, the process is getting easier every day. The starting point for most travelers into the franchise realm is desire. Something in your life sparks an interest. For many, it is a significant life transition, such as a career change, relocation, or an empty nest. For others, it is just time to “do what I want to do.”
Regardless of your motivation, rest assured there will be excitement and confusion along the way. As history has taught us, with any big decision it is best to be armed with knowledge.
Think about the process of buying a car. You need to determine what would suit your needs, how much you can or should invest, what model “fits” you best, the cost of insurance, performance needs and expectations, and even the potential resale value.
After three decades in franchising, I can tell you that I have known many people who invested more time and effort to buy a car than they did to buy a franchise, where the cost implications are much higher. So, how do you become an educated candidate and find the right “fit” for you?
Focus on Your Passion
For many people, their work doesn’t inspire them to get out of bed every day, but they do it because they have to. What if you were so inspired by your business that you found it hard to sleep and relished the arriving dawn so you could engage in it again? Think about what effort would be worth your time, money, and constant attention. Even if the financial returns were exceptional, would you consider owning a pet franchise if you didn’t love pets? If spending time around high school kids or in the kitchen isn’t really your thing, why would you opt for a foodservice franchise?
One thing I can tell you is that franchisees who find the right fit are much more successful than the ones I’ve known that focus solely on the financial results. And, not surprisingly, they also reaped the financial rewards.
Cathy Battreall, a business owner and franchisee, has enjoyed great success in her endeavors but was looking for something more. She wanted to own a business where she was actively making a positive difference her customers’ life.
“I wanted to find something that not only was a good investment, but would also make a difference for my members, my employees and me!” says Battreall. “fit20 was the right ‘fit’ for me. I provide an opportunity for our members to improve the quality of their lives through strength training with a personal trainer, and in only 20 minutes once a week.”
After opening her first two locations, Battreall is now helping her son to open his own franchise. When you find the right “fit,” franchising can be a wonderful experience.
Invest in Your Success
For many, considering a franchise purchase requires due diligence and the ability to make a long-term commitment to a brand. Taking the time to get to know the people behind the brand is critically important—not just the franchisor executives, but key staff that will actually impact your business. It is essential to reach out to the person who will train you and those who provide support after you are up and running and help you with marketing.
You also need to talk to multiple franchisees about their brand experience and what they’ve learned on their journey. Consider how you feel you would ‘fit’ into the franchisee network. You can determine this by spending time with franchisees. You also want to understand their supply chain partners you will rely on as well.
Most importantly, especially after you narrow your search, try to attend Discovery Day sessions. These in-person or virtual meetups are opportunities to see how the organization works, either in silos or as a cohesive unit.
“For me, Discovery Day with fit20 was the deal clincher,” says St. George, Utah franchisee Jazmin Hansen. “Nothing replaces the experience of doing the fit20 workout yourself, spending time with the management team, and going through all aspects of the business.”
Rising Above the Ordinary
Finding the right fit before you buy may feel time consuming, but unless you move beyond the desire to simply make a change, “luck” will be the only likely reason for a successful franchise outcome. Taking deliberate steps to become an educated prospect will boost your confidence, increase the odds of not making a long-term mistake, and enhance your attractiveness to a high-quality franchisor, like fit20 USA.
Unlike “lemon laws” that allow you to return a bad car after you’ve made the purchase, you’ll be living with your franchise decision for a long time. Make it a good one and find the right “fit” for a long and successful journey into franchising.
Dr. Litalien is the Chief Development Officer for fit20 USA based in Fredericksburg, Virginia. He is a Certified Franchise Executive and teaches the Franchise Management Certification Program at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. For more information, please visit the website at www.fit20usafranchise.com or Ben can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
St. George Utah franchisee Jazmin Hansen with the fit20 Team during her Discovery Day
Cathy Battreall in her new fit20 Studio in Jax Beach, Florida
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