Is Fear Stopping You From Achieving Your Dream Of Owning A Business?

Successful entrepreneurs are really not so different from you and me. They demonstrate an indomitable work ethic, a belief in their own vision and a drive to do what is necessary to succeed. What separates the successful from the also-rans is a willingness to learn as much as possible before plunking down any of their hard-earned money. So how do you join their ranks? Choose good mentors, who can guide you over the bumps and avoid some of the pitfalls on the road to success. One way to connect with a mentor is to select a good franchise, whose system comes with long-term training and guidance from people who teach you how to run the business, stand by you all along the way and have your back for the long run. The key is to select the right franchise. To find your way to the right match, you have to commit the time to learn everything you can about your potential new business. The good news is that this learning process is within everyone’s grasp. One of the first steps in the process is to interview yourself. What do you really want to do with your career? This process can be a lot harder than it seems. But the sooner you pinpoint your goals the better you can figure out how to get there. After you make some honest decisions about your strengths and your weaknesses, your personal goals and your skills, you must commit to doing a thorough due diligence of the market and the franchise businesses that interest you. You want to do a thorough examination of every business you consider, which will take time, likely, several months.

6 Steps To Doing A Thorough Due Diligence

1. Read

Talk to as many people as you can about what it takes to succeed in business. Regularly read the business section (if you’re not already doing so), a local business weekly magazine, and get a feel for trends in the marketplace, what types of businesses are on the uptick and which may be relegated to the ash heap of the old economy. Of course, the next new thing may not be on anybody’s radar yet.

2. Explore

Start perusing the types of franchise businesses that are available. You might be surprised to learn that nearly every business category is represented, from service businesses, like caring for seniors, to B2B services, such as temp staffing, as well as the most well-known food franchises. Check out the International Franchise Association web site at www.franchise.org

3. Contact

Call the franchise companies that interest you. Most have regional representatives who will answer your initial questions.

4. See

Visit some of these franchises in person to get a firsthand view of how they function. Interview as many franchisees as possible to see how they’re doing. Do they think the franchisor has been helpful? Are they making any money? What’s the key to succeed in that business?

5. Study

If you’re still interested in the business, get your hands on the Franchise Disclosure Document, which every franchise company is required by law to provide to interested franchisees, and read it thoroughly. You can find a list of franchisees in the FDD.

6. Visit

If you’re still interested in the business after completing these steps, you will proceed through the process the franchisor has set up for potential franchisees. This will include meetings with the executives of the company at a Discovery Day, where you visit the company’s headquarters, meet the team and see for yourself what the business is all about. If your due diligence leads to a selection, you will also want to consult with independent experts, such as a franchise attorney and an accountant to check through the details of the financial arrangement and the franchise agreement. The more thorough your research, the greater the odds of your success. So if you want to succeed in business, by all means move forward, just start with a thorough due diligence. 

Ready to make your dream of becoming an entrepreneur come true? Get your free evaluation today! Contact Dan Citrenbaum to help you create the career you’ve always wanted. As a business coach, Dan brings years of experience helping people select and buy a franchise or existing business. You can reach Dan at dcitrenbaum@gmail.com or at (484) 278-4589.   

How to select a top-tier franchise

Franchising is big business that keeps getting bigger, and there’s lots of money to be made — that is if you know where to look. The trick is to hitch your wagon to the fastest, strongest horse!

That means you have to screen out less than ideal businesses to find the right one with the sure-fire system.

Most of the information you would need is available either in the Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD), which all franchisors are required by federal law to disclose to potential franchisees, or through the interviews you should do as part of your due diligence.

So whatever you do, don’t sign any contracts based on superficial knowledge. Your research should go deep and should include advice from the experts.

What Everyone Should Know About a Franchise before Signing a Contract

Litigation History

If a franchisor has been the object of numerous lawsuits from disgruntled franchisees, walk the other way. This history is easily discovered in Item 3 of the FDD. A simple Google search might dredge up more detail, but remember, just because you read it online doesn’t make it true!

Track Record

Ideally, the franchise you choose should have plenty of franchisees operating successfully for a sufficient period of time. They are the folks, after all, who will be perfecting the franchise system and helping you succeed with your business. Look at the list of outlets, Item 20, in the FDD. Where are they and when were they established?

All Upfront fees

These would include an initial franchise fee, and costs to start up the operation, marketing fees, the cost to buy any equipment you need, build out a location, hire employees, and sign a lease. You also want to factor in the cost to consult an attorney and an accountant. If the numbers appear unaffordable, you shouldn’t sign because one of the biggest causes of business failure is undercapitalization. All costs are listed in the FDD, Items 5-7.

A Franchisees Obligations

If you don’t agree with all the expectations for how you must operate, this business is not for you. Find this information in Item 9.

Renewal and Termination Procedures

The franchisor is also required to detail how a franchise can be terminated or ownership transferred or renewed. Know these details upfront, because there will come a time when you want to sell either to retire with your hard-earned wealth or for a tidy profit. Advice from a franchise attorney is well worth the cost.

Why franchisees have left the system

With the list of outlets in the FDD (Item 20) you also get contacts for franchisees who have left the system in the last three years. Call them and find out why. If you learn about a pattern of neglect you might want to back away. Just remember, sometimes the fault lies with the franchisee, and don’t just take one person’s word.

What current franchisees say about the franchisor

Interview current franchisees. What works for them? Are they making money? Are they happy with the business? Would they make the purchase again?

While your research may take some time, and expert advice may add some expense, the payoff is in choosing a great franchise that gives you the life and the living you always wished for and that works for you in the long run.

Ready to make your dream of becoming an entrepreneur come true?

Get your free evaluation today!

Contact Dan Citrenbaum to help you create the career you’ve always wanted. As a franchise coach, Dan brings years of experience helping people select and buy a franchise or existing business. You can reach Dan at dcitrenbaum@gmail.com or at (484) 278-4589.

© Dan Citrenbaum 2020

Tired Of The Same Old Same Old? Try A Franchise!

Take our Career Decoder quiz!

Are you cruising along in a job that you can do with your eyes closed, maybe even with your hands tied behind your back? Everything is humming, and your industry seems solid. Then, bam! Something happens that shatters all your old assumptions and you start to wonder, what are my options? That’s what happened to Dennis Clouser, of Tampa, Fla., who, as a mechanical engineer, had spent 30 years in the electrical connector industry. His last job with the billion-dollar company ITT Corp. ended abruptly after his division’s largest customer, a military contractor, pulled its business once the federal government imposed massive across-the board cuts as part of “deficit reduction sequestration” in early 2013. At the age of 51, Clouser received a six-month severance package, and the company made classes available to him to help him figure out his next stage. One of those classes introduced him to the option of a franchise. Before long, Clouser lined up another job doing exactly what he had been doing for 30 years. But doubts soon started creeping into his mind. “I thought, is this it?” Clouser recounted. “The hell with it. I’ll take a chance on myself for once instead of doing what I’ve been doing until I die. Maybe I can do something different.” He had a couple of friends with franchises, and he thought, well, if they can do it, maybe he could, too. With the help of a franchise coach, he started doing his research. “101 Mobility really grabbed me,” he said, referring to the franchise that sells mobility equipment, such as stair lifts, auto lifts and ramps to help people with disabilities stay in their homes. “I could help people instead of making bombs to blow them up.” Clouser felt a personal connection to the mission of helping people deal with their mobility issues around the house since two members of his family had suffered amputations that resulted from complications from Diabetes. While Clausen was confident about his mechanical abilities — “I can put anything together” —when it came to the other aspects of running a business, from bookkeeping to managing payroll and benefits, he felt less sure of himself. That’s where the franchise company’s support really came in handy. “101 is fanatical about opening steps,” he said. “There are biweekly meetings with people in corporate” where they discuss everything from finding a location, negotiating a lease to paying taxes. “They manage you every step of the way,” he said. “I wouldn’t have been able to open without learning what I learned from them.” As part of the preparation process, he talked to franchisees, some of whom were more helpful than others, but he finds the idea of sharing one’s experiences one of the most compelling aspects of having a franchise. For example, he particularly likes the franchise’s new program, “Talk to a Franchise,” where he, now as an existing franchisee, talks to three or four potential franchisees on the phone, and they get the opportunity to ask him whatever questions come to mind. “I’m really blunt with them,” he said. For starters, he tells them starting up a franchise is a lot of work. After two years with his new business, while he acknowledged making some mistakes along the way, he would definitely do it again. The difference is now he’s got total control of his life. And while he knows he may be working until 9 p.m. doing an evaluation of someone’s home, if the water sparkles particularly bright one sunny day, and an empty parking space beckons from St. Pete’s beach, he knows he can take an hour for a swim if he feels like it. Not a bad living. Not bad at all.

Ready to make your dream of becoming an entrepreneur come true? Get your free evaluation today! Contact Dan Citrenbaum to help you create the career you’ve always wanted. As a business coach, Dan brings years of experience helping people select and buy a franchise or existing business. You can reach Dan at dcitrenbaum@gmail.com or at (484) 278-4589.   

Layoffs coming? Consider a Business You Can Call Your Own

In an era of big mergers, most notably the recent link-up of H.J. Heinz Co. and Kraft Foods Group, the all-too-often consequence is mass layoffs.

First we hear about all the economies of scale and efficiencies to be generated, and then a fresh group of experienced, seasoned professionals are cut loose into the workforce. In the case of Kraft Heinz, the first announced round of layoffs amounted to 2,500, but the company has huge cost reductions still planned, which will likely mean even more layoffs.

While the company casually sails along, these good employees may find themselves left aimless and adrift.

For folks at mid-career, somewhere between the ages of 50 and retirement, anecdotal evidence abounds about how difficult it is to get a new job at a comparable level in corporate America, even at a time of increased awareness of age discrimination.

But these talented professionals are hardly without options.

One possibility is to consider putting your skills and experience to work for yourself. Even without any experience running your own show, there is one option that provides a ready-made system, as well as all the support you would need to help you get the hang of it all.

That is: A good franchise. The question is how to determine what constitutes a “good” franchise.

Five Steps to Figure Out if a Franchise is for You

Look and Listen

Your own senses can tell you a lot. Look around and start to notice all the different types of businesses that are, in fact, franchises. You’ll find a lot more than fast food. Plenty may actually be operated out of the owner’s home, from maid and cleaning services to business support services. Check out the International Franchise Association website — www.franchise.org — to get a glimpse of this growing sector of our economy that includes more than 7,000 franchises across 75 industries. Ask around and learn from friends and family, who may have experiences with franchises.

Consult a Franchise Coach

Absolutely free, these consultants offer an invaluable service because they already have an established track record with a set of franchises. In addition, their ongoing contacts provide them the opportunity to learn about problems within a specific franchise, so you can skip franchises that may be undergoing a difficult transition or having growing pains. They will also attempt to match a franchise to your own particular set of skills and interests and so save you time in the long run.

Talk to Some Franchise Companies

Pick up the phone and call franchise companies that interest you. Sure they’re trying to sell their franchise, but they will also answer specific questions about what the day-to-day life of the owner is like, how the franchise company supports franchisees, and how much it costs to set up a franchise with their company. They can also tell you what qualities they look for in franchisees, and you can get a feel for whether this franchise would work for you or not and if its cost falls within your budget.

Read the Franchise Disclosure Document

The Federal Trade Commission requires all franchisors to disclose particular aspects of their businesses to potential franchisees, and it must be written in standard English. This is essential reading for any franchise you are seriously considering. You can get a complete rundown of the costs, you will learn the history of the franchise and its executives, whether they or the company have been involved in litigation, and some will even provide earnings estimates, though this item is not required.

Interview Franchisees

As perhaps the most important step in the process, you can check all the information you’ve received so far with the folks with all the hands-on experience. Talk to as many franchisees as possible and ask them how they’re doing, how the franchisor’s support and system has worked and whether they would buy this franchise again. You can also ask them how the numbers add up. How much capital did they need to keep their business operating until they could start earning a profit? And how much can a person expect to earn from this franchise? Not all franchisees will answer this question, but many will.

While you may have heard a lot of things about franchising, the truth is there exists a huge variety of franchises, good and bad, each requiring different types of experience. The trick is to figure out what type of franchise might work for you and treat the process as you would any important investment in your life, with thorough preparation.

Ready to make your dream of becoming an entrepreneur come true?

Get your free evaluation today!

Contact Dan Citrenbaum to help you create the career you’ve always wanted. As a franchise coach, Dan brings years of experience helping people select and buy a franchise or existing business. You can reach Dan at dcitrenbaum@gmail.com or at (484) 278-4589.

© Dan Citrenbaum 2020

Tired Of The Same Old Same Old? Try A Franchise!

Are you cruising along in a job that you can do with your eyes closed, maybe even with your hands tied behind your back? Everything is humming, and your industry seems solid.  Then, bam! Something happens that shatters all your old assumptions and you start to wonder, what are my options? That’s what happened to Dennis Clouser, of Tampa, Fla., who, as a mechanical engineer, had spent 30 years in the electrical connector industry. His last job with the billion-dollar company ITT Corp. ended abruptly after his division’s largest customer, a military contractor, pulled its business once the federal government imposed massive across-the board cuts as part of “deficit reduction sequestration” in early 2013. At the age of 51, Clouser received a six-month severance package, and the company made classes available to him to help him figure out his next stage. One of those classes introduced him to the option of a franchise. Before long, Clouser lined up another job doing exactly what he had been doing for 30 years. But doubts soon started creeping into his mind. “I thought, is this it?” Clouser recounted. “The hell with it. I’ll take a chance on myself for once instead of doing what I’ve been doing until I die. Maybe I can do something different.” He had a couple of friends with franchises, and he thought, well, if they can do it, maybe he could, too. With the help of a franchise coach, he started doing his research. “101 Mobility really grabbed me,” he said, referring to the franchise that sells mobility equipment, such as stair lifts, auto lifts and ramps to help people with disabilities stay in their homes. “I could help people instead of making bombs to blow them up.” Clousen felt a personal connection to the mission of helping people deal with their mobility issues around the house since two members of his family had suffered amputations that resulted from complications from Diabetes. While Clausen was confident about his mechanical abilities — “I can put anything together” —when it came to the other aspects of running a business, from bookkeeping to managing payroll and benefits, he felt less sure of himself. That’s where the franchise company’s support really came in handy. “101 is fanatical about opening steps,” he said. “There are biweekly meetings with people in corporate” where they discuss everything from finding a location, negotiating a lease to paying taxes. “They manage you every step of the way,” he said. “I wouldn’t have been able to open without learning what I learned from them.” As part of the preparation process, he talked to franchisees, some of whom were more helpful than others, but he finds the idea of sharing one’s experiences one of the most compelling aspects of having a franchise. For example, he particularly likes the franchise’s new program, “Talk to a Franchise,” where he, now as an existing franchisee, talks to three or four potential franchisees on the phone, and they get the opportunity to ask him whatever questions come to mind. “I’m really blunt with them,” he said. For starters, he tells them starting up a franchise is a lot of work. After two years with his new business, while he acknowledged making some mistakes along the way, he would definitely do it again. The difference is now he’s got total control of his life. And while he knows he may be working until 9 p.m. doing an evaluation of someone’s home, if the water sparkles particularly bright one sunny day, and an empty parking space beckons from St. Pete’s beach, he knows he can take an hour for a swim if he feels like it. Not a bad living. Not bad at all.

Ready to make your dream of becoming an entrepreneur come true? Get your free evaluation today! Contact Dan Citrenbaum to help you create the career you’ve always wanted. As a business coach, Dan brings years of experience helping people select and buy a franchise or existing business. You can reach Dan at dcitrenbaum@gmail.com or at (484) 278-5489.