Buying A Business: How Much Research Is Too Much?

When looking to buy a new business, one of the most important steps is doing a thorough due diligence. The big question for many: How do you know you’ve done enough? One thing’s almost certain, if you think you’re done, you’ve probably only just begun. As a franchise coach, we always give our clients a great deal of assistance in this area, suggesting what to read, who to talk to and questions to ask. Ease of research and availability of information is precisely why we often steer folks to a franchise. With a franchise, you can get all the information you need in the Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD), which federal law requires all franchise companies make available to prospective new franchisees. With a little digging, you can learn if you’ve got what it takes — from the money, experience and skills — to succeed with this particular purchase. By far the most important part of the process is talking to franchisees to learn how the system works. You can find their contact information in the FDD. You want to find out: Are they making any money? Would they make the purchase again, knowing what they know now? This critical step separates the truly serious would-be entrepreneurs from those only dabbling — because if you can place calls to strangers to learn the ins and outs of a business, you pass the first hurdle toward succeeding with your own business. Using myself as an example, when I was researching the franchise I eventually bought, I called every one of the 42 franchisees then part of the system. Of course, not all of them called me right back — but that’s because they’re a busy bunch.

Patience And Perseverance

When reaching out to franchise owners you don’t know, a little patience goes a long way. Since you want as many perspectives on the business as you can get, it’s certainly worth your while to try a couple of times to connect. Don’t take it personally if a business owner fails to call you back in a timely manner. The call likely slipped to the bottom of their to-do list. But even the most successful, intimidating franchisees once stood in your shoes, and many will happily set an appointment to speak to you about their experiences, either on the phone or in person. The franchise business that I spent months researching, eventually interviewing 20 franchisees, now provides the lion’s share of my income. And it got there faster than I had projected. Putting the time and energy in upfront is like money in the bank. Its value accrues with time as you gain greater knowledge and intelligence to help your business thrive for the long term. 

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. 

Women Over 50: Consider Starting A Business To Jump Start Your Career

How often have you heard that women over 50 are getting left behind in the job market? Whether it’s women who were laid-off mid-career from high-paying corporate jobs during the recession or women who took some years away from the workforce to raise their children — many report finding it almost impossible to land a job. Turns out, it’s not their imagination. Women over 50 have been disproportionately left behind by today’s economy, according to a recent report from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. In a study that compared two-year periods before and after the Great Recession, a far greater percentage of women after the recession had joined the ranks of the long-term unemployed. Whereas in 2006-7, women over 50 accounted for less than a quarter of the long-term unemployed, by 2012-13, they had risen to half the long-term unemployed. Of course, in that same period, the long-term unemployed rose among all age groups. It’s just that women over 50 were disproportionately affected. Many of these women, highlighted in a recent New York Times article are highly skilled, from experienced attorneys to PhD holders. At least one has been told by employers that they’re looking for someone younger. So what is a highly experienced, talented person still in the prime of life to do with all she still has to contribute to society? How about embarking on a new business to call your own. Opportunities abound to make money and explore one’s interests, but one way you may not have considered is in the growing franchise industry, where you can find a business to suit your interests from thousands of franchise companies. By the middle of 2015, franchising grew faster than the rest of the economy for the fifth year in a row, according to a forecast by the International Franchise Association Educational Foundation. Certainly, franchising is a lot more than car dealerships and fast food restaurants. You can find good opportunities in business or personal services. And even if you have no direct experience in the industry, the beauty of franchising is that the operation comes with a support team and training to help you succeed. The best thing of all about starting your own business is that the fruits of your labor go directly to your own pocketbook. No more working your tail off for an employer who, unbeknownst to you or unrelated to your own productivity and success, has decided to cut your department. To make the best match to capitalize on your skills and experience, consider consulting a franchise coach or two who can help you narrow down your options and show you opportunities in fields where new businesses are flourishing.

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.  

Choose A Franchise And You’ll Get A Whole Team Rooting For You

What do you think is the No. 1 goal of franchise companies? Like any company, to make as much money as possible, but they need good franchisees to accomplish this goal. This is why buying into an effective franchise system can be such a win-win proposition.

The new franchisee gets to recharge his or her career, while the franchise company works to attract highly qualified, talented professionals to its ranks. The simple fact is the better franchisees perform, the more money everyone makes. The advantage of franchise ownership is you get a time-tested system. How well franchisees learn and execute the system is critical to their success. As a result, franchisors place a high priority on selecting new franchisees wisely and getting them up to speed as quickly as possible with training and support. ARCpoint Labs, for one, considers the selection process, of utmost importance. “We’re very selective when we grant a license to franchisees,” said Randy Loeb, vice president of franchise development for ARCpoint Labs, a Greenville-S.C.-based company which offers drug, alcohol, DNA and forensic and wellness programming. Besides relying on franchise consultants or coaches to bring them well-qualified candidates, ARCpoint uses a written test developed by Franchise Navigator to vet prospective franchisees for the right “entrepreneurial skill sets,” Loeb said, including, leadership, time management and consultative sales ability. When a franchise inquiry comes in, “we give each candidate an electronic brochure and walk them through the business model,” Loeb said, adding that within seven to ten days they will complete the Franchise Navigator assessment. “If the prospective franchisee doesn’t meet ARCpoint’s qualifications, I suggest they look at another franchise that may be a better fit for them,” Loeb said. “ARCpoint is probably one of the most sophisticated business models in franchising today,” he said. Consequently, they want people who can excel with their business model. “We’re looking for quality folks who will effectively represent the brand,” he added. ARCpoint currently has nearly 100 franchises open, and 100 more territories sold, and scheduled to open in the next few years. After the franchise candidate makes the decision to join ARCpoint, Loeb said, it’s all about the training. ARCpoint takes one and a half years to fully train franchisees, using easily digestible modules. “We spoon feed them,” Loeb said, which allows franchisees to learn one subject matter before moving onto the next training module. In addition, the company hosts several monthly webinars to give franchisees updates, improve their skills and stay current with testing rules and regulations. The company keeps a close eye on new franchisees to help them succeed. “We have a very detailed rollout,” he said. “We automatically know early if something is wrong so appropriate changes can be made to help franchisees succeed.” Following the franchise system is a critical component to their success. “We’re birddogging franchise owners all the time to make sure they’re following the system,” Loeb said. “Franchisees succeed because our system works.”

Can You Jumpstart Your Career With A Business Of Your Own? Take The 6-Point Quiz!

Running your own business has a magnetic allure. What’s not to like? With a business of your own, you never have to polish and send out a resume again, and you get complete control over your life. Of course, your living rests entirely on your shoulders. If you have little or no experience in business, the odds against you can seem overwhelming. So, all too often, folks dutifully stick with the safe 9-to-5. Related: 6 Things To Ask Yourself Before Starting A Business But you don’t need experience in the business of your choice if you start with a franchise because their experts will train you and show you how to run a business that has a proven track record. If you hit a few roadblocks, their support team is with you all the way. After all, the franchise company won’t succeed unless their franchisees do. When you start your own business with a franchise you get all the know-how you need. The most important part of the whole process is selecting a franchise whose way of doing business matches your interests, skills and experience. Here is where a franchise coach can come in handy, since they have knowledge and experience in the industry, as well as a list of businesses that have worked well for their clients in the past.

So how do you know if you’re a good candidate for a franchise? Take the quiz!

1. Are you willing to do your research?

You will need to thoroughly research any franchise you purchase. This requires you read the Franchise Disclosure Document, which all franchisees are required by law to provide to potential franchisees, and talk to as many people associated with the franchise as possible, from its executives to its franchisees. Not only do you want a franchise with a good track record, but you want to make sure it’s a system that suits you.

2. Do you have enough capital?

Starting a business with a franchise offers you the great advantage of knowing upfront all your capital needs. Don’t forget to factor in what you will need to pay your cost of living until your business reaches profitability.

3. Are you determined to work hard to get your business up and running?

The start-up phase can be challenging as you learn the new business and your market. Can you stick with a problem and work through it until it’s solved? With all the support and expertise available through the franchise, you can be sure you’ll get all the help you need, but you have to be willing to put your shoulder to the wheel.

4. Can you call for assistance when needed?

While a franchise offers an experienced support staff to help you, it only works if you’re willing to ask for help when you need it.

5. Can you accept paying regular franchise royalties and other fees?

These fees are the price you pay for getting a proven system and support staff, as well as an advertising/marketing campaign, to help you become successful. If you might resent paying for this help down the road, a franchise isn’t for you.

6. Are you willing to trust the system to work?

The franchise system, perfected over many years, is the way this business is designed to operate. You have to follow the system to maximize your success. If any part of the system doesn’t suit you, don’t buy the franchise. If your answer is no for two or more questions, a franchise may not be the best choice. But if you’re ready, there’s no cost to begin investigating, and you may find the business of your dreams just a click away.

Why Dreamers Need A Healthy Dose Of Realism When It Comes To Starting A Business

The quality most desirable for starting a business? Realistic expectations. Of course, you need plenty of skills, experience and support, not to mention energy, initiative and a strong work ethic, but you should also understand exactly what is necessary to succeed. Not only do you need a realistic perspective about what you can achieve and how quickly, you need a realistic assessment of your own attributes, your strengths and your weaknesses. If you realistically prepare for a ramp-up that could take up to a year or longer, you can sufficiently capitalize your business, while also covering your cost of living. Of course, with an independent startup, it is not possible to know exactly what you may face down the road as you tinker with your concept and deal with unexpected costs. This is where the advantage of a franchise can be most helpful, especially if you don’t have much experience with a particular business. A franchise comes with a complete breakdown of costs, so you know exactly what you’ll be getting into. If you can’t afford it, you don’t do it. As most everyone knows, one of the biggest causes of failure for new independent businesses is undercapitalization. With a franchise, you know all the costs before you invest a dime, plus you have a back office team behind you. Some franchise companies will help you assess your skills and experience to see if they’re a good fit with their business model, but others will be happy to bring you into the fold if you have the franchise fee and seem willing to learn their system. A franchise coach can help you assess both your skills and direct you to a list of select franchises with a good track record of success for people with your skill set. Ultimately, the responsibility is yours for vetting the business, as well as yourself. So it’s absolutely critical you figure out what types of activities as a business owner you are willing and capable of executing. Certainly, with a franchise, you can get into a business with which you have little or no experience. This is part of the attraction. But franchisees have to be comfortable working the franchise system as it’s been designed. So, for example, if you don’t like managing employees or can’t stand selling, you need to stay away from businesses that require these skills. Still, it’s not uncommon for people to become so excited about a particular business concept, they gloss over the work of the owner or fool themselves into thinking they can perform tasks that aren’t actually within their wheelhouse. A good franchise coach can help the budding entrepreneur put his or her feet back on the ground and find a business that matches his or her skills and interests.