Are You Cut Out for a Franchise? Take the Quiz!

Buying a franchise is one of the quickest, safest ways to start your own business, but a franchise is not for everyone, particularly if you’re the type of person who likes to blaze your own trail.

For starters, to be successful with a franchise — that is to maximize your potential earnings — you must be prepared to follow the franchisor’s system, the time-tested method the company has for virtually every aspect of its operations, including staffing protocols, an advertising campaign and store build-out plans.

After working with dozens of franchisees over the years, I still see new franchisees decide they can cut corners, for example, by declining to hire enough people to cover the day-to-day responsibilities of meeting the needs of customers.

The owner may decide to save money by doing some of the work himself, for example, cleaning houses or caring for seniors. As a result the owner has less time to build the business, creating a steady and growing clientele to generate earnings. While that owner may save some upfront costs, he or she loses long-term earnings potential.

So how do you know if you are a good candidate for a franchise? Answer eight easy questions:

  1. Are you prepared to thoroughly research the business?

Selecting a franchise may be your first most important step, and the process requires solid research, from reading background materials to putting shoe leather to pavement and visiting franchisees.

  1. Are you prepared to work hard?

Just because the business comes with a system doesn’t mean you won’t have a learning curve. Of course, once you have good employees in place and operations running smoothly, many franchise operations will allow you to take an afternoon for golf or to attend a child’s track meet. Many franchisees set a realistic goal to work 30 to 35 hours per week within three to five years of starting their business.

  1. Can you call for assistance when needed?

A good franchisor wants to help you through the start-up phase, so to take full advantage of what you’re paying for, you need to be willing to ask for guidance. A good franchisor will likely offer many good suggestions, possibly a long to-do list that will require time to implement.

  1. Do you have enough capital to set up the business to operate as designed?

Before you buy the franchise, your research should have told you how long it will take to operate in the black, and the Franchise Disclosure Document will tell you your upfront expenses. Getting to profitability varies by location and franchisee. You will need to be work hard and pay operating expenses for some time before earnings begin.

  1. Can you accept paying the franchisor royalties and other specified fees?

These fees are the price you pay for a proven operating system, built-in research and development, a fully vetted list of suppliers, as well as an advertising campaign and ongoing support and training.

  1. Will you accept structure in your business?

If you would rather create your own approach to a unique business that reflects your particular vision for a product line or service, you don’t want a franchise.

  1. Can you accept advice from authority?

When you buy into a franchise system, you are part of a team, and the franchisor needs each of its franchisees to present a consistent image to the buying public. No reinventing the system.

  1. And, most importantly, can you trust the system to work?

If the answer is no, then don’t buy the franchise.

Ideally, you will answer yes to each of these questions. If you answered no to more than two, then you might want to consider an independent business. I also suggest you consult a franchise coach, who is in the business to help you make the best decision to ensure success.

After all, what you want most is to have a business you enjoy in which you can excel and which will also earn a tidy profit.

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.

Franchise Discovery Day: To Clinch A Deal?

Discovery Day presents a make-or-break moment for many would-be franchisees. For Megan Yu, a visit to the franchise parent company of Signarama, United Franchise Group, in West Palm Beach, Fla., helped seal her decision. Of course, by this time, she and her partner, Andy Yu, her father, had already spent almost six months researching businesses they might open in Ann Arbor, Mich. Casting a wide net at first, they looked at all options, including purchasing an independent business. They chose a franchise because they liked all the support and training offered as part of the deal. “For me it was the one-on-one interactions with the owners that was huge,” Megan said. Meeting other franchisees who shared their own experiences and offered a ready support network raised Megan’s comfort level with this new business. During a carefully choreographed Discovery Day, Megan was greeted by her “host” at her hotel and taken to company headquarters, where she met with current franchisees, technology, and financial support staff. She toured a “brand new, state-of-the-art training facility,” all of which convinced Megan this was the business for her. Franchise Discovery Day will either reel you in with a display of stellar services and support staff or you’ll discover something about the franchisor that sends you to the exit with a feeling of doubt. For example, you may find the CEO has recently changed and you’re not sure about the transition. Or perhaps, you’ll discover you don’t like the support staff. For Megan and Andy, the advantage of a franchise, with all the systems in place to help them through the start-up phase, eventually won out over other options. Megan, 29, who had been working as a manager of a retail store, gave her month’s notice soon after the Franchise Discovery Day. “It boils down to having a world-recognized name and, of course, corporate support,” said Andy Yu, 56, a retired engineer. “We don’t want to get into all these miscellaneous details that will consume all our time and effort.” So, instead of figuring out how to negotiate the best lease agreement, select office furnishings, stationery, and myriad other necessities of their new operation, Yu said, they could spend their time on activities, like sales and marketing, that have more direct impact on the bottom line. They hope to open their new sign-making business by late September. So, how do you prepare? Said Yu: “Do your homework.” Before you even arrive for Franchise Discovery Day, you should:

Do A Comparison Study

Look at a multitude of business types that might suit your experience, interests, and lifestyle.

Read The Franchise Disclosure Document

Federal law requires franchise companies to disclose much useful data, from a list of all their franchises to detailed financial information. Read through this carefully.

Research The Market

You should be confident this business type will work in your location.

Talk To Franchisees

Interview as many as possible to hear about the franchise company’s support systems and how helpful these are. Then, when you get to Franchise Discovery Day, you’re armed with highly educated questions that will enable you to learn if this really is the team you want behind your new business.

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.

Franchise Discovery Day: A Franchiser’s POV

When it comes to choosing a franchise, it’s not just your perspective that matters. The franchise company has a clear point of view, as well: They want to see if you can follow their system. While you go through your research, winnowing down your list of possibilities to one, the culmination of the process brings you to Franchise Discovery Day, where you get an up-close immersion with the franchise company —and you find you’re ready to sign on the dotted line or not. The franchiser has a strong interest in making a good match, as well, since franchising ties you together for the long haul. Both of you have a vested interest in the franchise succeeding —you to make a good living and the franchise company to protect its brand name and maximize its own profitability. While we always recommend in-depth research of your own, once you start to focus on a single business, you’ll find the franchiser has a specific process to prepare you, as well. As Troy Thomas, regional vice president mid-Atlantic region of United Franchise Group (UFG) said, Discovery Day “allows the executives with the franchisor a chance to meet and spend a little time with the franchisees to see if it’s a good fit.” And, on the flip side, he said, Discovery Day “allows the franchisee to gain a complete picture of the support network and the value that is typically unseen by a typical franchisee in the field.” The West Palm Beach, Fla.-based firm owns a range of franchises, including Signarama, SuperGreen Solutions and EmbroidMe. By the time Franchise Discovery Day arrives, Thomas said, a UFG executive will have already had meetings with the prospective franchisee, preferably in person, and taken that person through a “four step process.” If it’s not likely to be a good fit, he said, people discover this as they go through the steps. “If you can’t follow the steps, you probably won’t be a good candidate for following the franchise system,” he added. Explained Thomas: “To be successful, it’s not about reinventing the wheel, but rather following the model.” “The best franchisees come from a corporate background so they understand structure, but they have an entrepreneurial spirit and they want to control their own destiny,” he said. “Of course, entrepreneurial types can also be successful franchisees.” Bottom line: It’s about the system. Thomas said they see hundreds of people a year at a Discovery Day, and everyone who comes through gets individual attention. By the time they arrive, they tend to be very interested. “And the vast majority purchase with us,” he added. As a result of this process, Thomas said most of their franchisees are successful. Thomas, who himself as a career-changer, having spent years in newspaper publishing, believes the advantage of a franchise is that it allows people completely new to a business to hit the ground running. “With an independent business, you have to find all your own equipment, vendors, location, hire employees, learn how it all works, figure out your pricing, and that’s before you even sell a thing —a lot of expense and time,” Thomas said. “A good franchise can take you through that a lot faster and give a head start.” So, while you have your checklist, it’s good to remember so does a franchisor —reassurance that the company is working to create the best possible conditions for success.

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

Six Essential Skills for Business: But Don’t Sell Yourself Short

Buying a franchise is a great way to reinvent your career, find new satisfaction and higher annual earnings.

When shopping for a franchise, too often people tend to sell themselves short. Instead of finding value in skills gained over the course of a career, they focus on the lack of direct experience in a particular business sector, say retail sales or temporary staffing.

But you don’t want to eliminate opportunities before you have even begun to investigate.

The key is to keep your mind open to possibilities you may never before have considered and inventory your skills to get a truly accurate read on your experience.

Think about all the different skills acquired over a lifetime, both on the job and off.

For example, a plant manager increasingly frustrated at work feared his skills managing a large manufacturing plant with a unionized work force would not easily transfer to franchise ownership. But as he began his research, he realized his experience motivating employees sometimes resistant to instructions, meeting deadlines and working on tight budgets would serve him well. He eventually opened five locations of a fitness franchise and has been enjoying his new profitable career for five years.

Likewise, managing a household develops expertise in a range of areas, including leadership training (PTA), party planning, catering, household systems management and scheduling. Many a successful franchisee started as a homemaker.

Remember, when it comes to franchises, the companies provide extensive training and support to help you transfer your skills to a new business. What you want to have are skills compatible with the new business that will enable you to soar.

We recommend you consult a franchise coach to help you winnow down your list of potential franchises, but first consider the following skills as you do a personal inventory.

Six Essential Skills for Business

Communications

Written a letter or contributed to a newsletter? Spoken to clients or subcontractors on a regular basis? Unless you’re sitting in a back room, doing the books or programming all day long, chances are you have learned a fair amount about how to communicate. But if you feel this isn’t your strong suit, this is an area you could delegate.

Sales/Marketing

Selling yourself is as important as selling a product or service so if you’ve ever had to talk your way onto a board or into a meeting, you know how to sell. If you don’t like dealing with the public, you may want to choose the type of business that practically sells itself with a good marketing campaign.

Management

Managing a classroom or a household is a lot like managing a company. All require knowing how to get the most out of people while keeping them happy and satisfied in their jobs. Franchises tend to offer good employee training.

Organization, Controls

While running a business requires good organization skills, a franchise company’s support usually will help you learn what you need to know. If, on the other hand, things are often spinning out of control for you, you may want to think again before going into business for yourself.

Networking

If your list of contacts is huge and you’re always collecting friends, you likely excel at building relationships and a clientele. While attracting customers is key, so is keeping them, which is best accomplished by delivering the goods.

Public Speaking/Presentation Skills

Lots of careers require public speaking, from sales to teaching. If you think it’s a snap to run a meeting or can stand up in front of a lot of people to welcome them to a party or event, you’re good to go. A whiz at Powerpoint? Even better.

Don’t worry if you haven’t checked each one, the main skill you need is the willingness to work hard over an extended period of time and do your homework. Of course, you also need perseverance and a little hard-headedness to keep you going. You do yourself credit when you recognize your strengths, as well as your weaknesses. So follow your passion because you’re in it for the long game.

The Entrepreneur’s Checklist: 7 Things You Need To Start A Business

If you’re one of the 90% of Americans employed full-time by someone else, chances are you’re not feeling much satisfaction at work. Some of you are stuck with a boss who makes your lives miserable, while others may be merely bored or vastly under appreciated. Maybe you should become your own boss and start a business. Only 30% of Americans are actively engaged in their jobs, according to a recent Gallup report, State of the American Workplace. Not only does being unhappy at work lead to a whole range of obvious complaints, it can also take a toll on your health, the survey reported. One way to improve your situation is to strike out on your own. So, how do you know if you’ve got what it takes to run your own business? Just like most things in life, what separates the whizzes from the rans is preparation. Do your research, write a realistic business plan, raise sufficient capital, and your odds for success go way up. Even before you pinpoint your business, you’ll need to start by asking yourself key questions to determine whether you’re ready to leave a sure paycheck for the chance to take charge of your career for life.

Entrepreneur’s Checklist: 7 Things You Need To Start A Business

Here’s the entrepreneur’s checklist. In order to start a business successfully, you will need the following:

1. Support from your family

When undertaking such a major life change, it’s critical you have your family behind your decision to give up your job to follow your dream. As you may go through a financial fallow period, their support can help you persevere.

2. Commitment and dedication to making your business succeed

You’ve heard the phrase: You’ve gotta want it more than anything else. Or how about: Hungry for success. The point is you have to believe in yourself even when faced by setbacks. Sometimes that means aggressively courting clients or revising your business plan. Surround yourself with critical support, including a good attorney, accountant, and business coach.

3. Sufficient capitalization or willingness to take on debt

While you will likely need to finance some of your startup costs, you should have sufficient resources set aside to get you through the startup period until revenue begins to exceed costs and the profits start rolling in.

4. Management skills

If this is one of your strengths, bravo, but if not, you may need to investigate what it takes to manage employees. If you choose a franchise, you’ll get ongoing training to help you learn the art of hiring, retaining and getting the most out of your workers. Alternatively, you could purchase one of the many franchises that do not have any employees other than the owner.

5. Marketing

How do you see yourself getting customers? The answer to this question will dictate which businesses best suit your style. If you’re an expert at networking, you’ll likely find it easy to develop a clientele. For those who prefer that customers find them, either due to a good location or national advertising campaign, you might want to try a retail operation.

6. Desire to develop your own or follow someone else’s system

You may be well suited to a franchise if you like the idea of following a system that’s been perfected over time and working well for franchisees around the country. Or you may prefer to control every aspect of your business and make your own unique contribution to the marketplace.

7. Tolerance for risk

Even in today’s job market where a steady job is no sure thing, starting your own business requires you to be comfortable with risk. If you believe in your vision and have the moxy to push through the learning phase, you greatly improve your odds. If you’ve checked most of the items above and you’re ready to move forward, we recommend you consult a coach to help you decide on a business that suits your skills and experience. Once you turn the tables and occupy the boss’s chair yourself, don’t forget you still want to make your employees feel valued, help develop their strengths so they, too, can feel satisfied and engaged at work. After all, you’ve already walked in those shoes. And happier employees can go a long way toward helping you make your business a success. Ready to make your dream of becoming an entrepreneur come true?

Get your free evaluation today!

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.