Article, Which Franchise to Buy? :

Which Franchise to Buy?
By Gary Prenevost

More executives are seeking non-traditional ways to maintain their lifestyle and rebuild their wealth and security – through franchising!

With all of the uncertainty in our current economy, the last several months has certainly changed how we look at long-term wealth creation, probably forever. Many people have lost faith in the 4 biggest traditional wealth/security creation strategies that we’ve been relying on for decades (real estate, financial institutions, stock markets & corporate employment), and a new solution now appears to be emerging due to this loss of faith, as experienced corporate professionals search for ways to stabilize their financial portfolio and begin the rebuilding process. Is self-employment the answer? Many mid and senior-level executives seem to think so, and more of them are now considering self employment options where they can leverage their knowledge and experience, and rely more on themselves for their own future security.

According to our recent experience here in Ontario, the rate of interest appears to have more than doubled in recent months – despite the slower economy. Based on our informational seminars at career transition firms, historically only about 15% of transitioning mid and senior executives would consider self employment as a career option, but since September 2008 though, we've seen a marked increase in this number to between 30% and 40%. The majority of these executives and professionals are attracted to franchising, which when done correctly provides good systems and structure, and most importantly, because of a proven track record of success, is typically a far safer option than starting out on one's own. This does not mean that all franchises are good businesses – this is simply NOT the case. Nor does it mean that the search is easy though, as there are many traps in finding a proven and viable business – what appears to be a good business on the surface might end up being a really poor choice, so this article will help you to become aware of critical elements necessary to find a business where you have a strong likelihood of achieving success.

I’ll Know it When I See It:

In order to find a franchise, we've seen that almost all people start their business search with one of two methods: 1) they look at what businesses and/or industries are performing well, or 2) they look towards what types of products or services they really like. Then most of these people surf the internet or go to the franchise shows and hope that they find something that appeals to them – I call this the “I’ll know it when I see it” syndrome. The scary part is that employing either of the above methods prematurely is one of the biggest mistakes someone who’s looking for a business can make, because there is a great peril in each of these scenarios – here's why:

Are You Suited?

For the first option, just because other people have achieved success in a business does not automatically mean that everyone will. What does determine success is how well suited the owner is to performing the key roles that determine success for their business. Even franchisors with very strong brands don’t take someone on just because they have enough money; instead good franchisors go through a rigorous matching process to make sure that the individual has the necessary skills and ability to perform the key roles that drive the business. When you think about this, it’s no different for an employer who is looking to hire the right employee – their decision has to be based on skills/ability fit with the key roles of the position, not just on the candidate’s desire to do the work.

You Do Not Have to Love It!

For the 2nd option, I get a lot of push-back on my view here, but please take a moment to ponder this – I believe strongly that the common view of the necessity to have a passion for a particular product or service as a key requirement in order to be successful in business is simply wrong. Instead, I believe that in order to be successful, the business owner doesn’t have to love, or even like the product or service, instead, they must have 1) an absolute conviction in the value offering to the end user client, and 2) their passion must be connected with the key roles that drive the success of the business . Having passion for the product or service is a bonus; not a necessity. Take the owner of a maids service business – do they like cleaning? Probably not – instead, they like managing people and business systems, enjoy marketing, and also like interacting with people, and they’re convinced of the value of the service they provide and therefore can persuade others that it’s worthwhile to buy – from them.

The “C” Word - Competition

While considering the above two scenarios, you’ll also want to consider that some of the most successful businesses are where the business is offering basic products or services, but where there’s a proven and sustainable demand for the product or service; these include basic, non-flashy businesses with little “curb appeal”, as well as more “glamorous” businesses. This also means that there’s lots of competition. Unfortunately, many people overlook a lot of businesses because of the perception that there’s too much competition, when this actually works in the franchisor’s favour – strong franchise systems are very savvy and sophisticated, and therefore consistently outperform independent operators. So, would you rather have a business with lots of competition, but with proven and sustainable value differentiators, or world you rather be in a niche business with few competitors – and possibly, a lot fewer clients?

Regardless of whatever industry and business you might be attracted to, the two most important things to remember is that 1) your success will be primarily determined by how well you fit the key roles of the business you eventually buy, and 2) your motivation to drive your business and overcome the challenges you’ll face will come from what the business will do for you personally,

Reverse Engineering

Instead of trying to find a few good business possibilities first by going to the internet or to franchise shows, what you want to do is similar to what we do with our clients – that is, to “reverse engineer” the whole search process by first determining the ideal business model – what you’re good at, what you’re not good at, what your key criteria are, etc; as well, what are your short-term, mid-term and long-range goals, then we introduce only those options where the franchisor’s business model is a close match to what our client is looking for. This is a very effective because owning a business is not just about the up-front investment, it’s also about getting you to where you want to go, while enjoying the ride along the way.

It’s Way More Than Just Food & Retail

In order to significantly increase your odds of finding the RIGHT business, this is where you should focus first - to reverse engineer what your ideal business looks like. We’re not saying that franchise shows and the internet are not effective places to search – they are very effective, if you engage in a bit of advance thinking (much like you would a major decision in your corporate life!) and gain greater clarity on your ideal business model before you start your search! Once this is completed it will be much easier for you to then go looking, and qualify or disqualify potential businesses; in other words, only invest time in those businesses that are a strong possible fit, and don’t waste your time on businesses that don’t fit, regardless of how “cool” they might be, or how successful they might be.

While business ownership is hard work, most people usually find that they have way more drive, energy, focus and satisfaction, than their corporate careers. After all, their returns are commensurate with their efforts, and they’re building their wealth on their terms. It’s absolutely not right for everybody, but when there’s a strong fit, it’s a great place to be, because owning a business not just about realising your financial goals but having fun too.

Gary Prenevost has been described as ‘The Entrepreneurial Franchise Guy’, having been involved in a number of successful self-employed businesses, both franchised and non-franchised. He helps mid and senior-level executives to objectively consider business ownership in franchising as a positive and viable career choice, exploring the best options that fit the individuals’ strengths and desires. This ensures greater success and quality of life, with less stress and more fun – after all, franchising is way more than just food & retail!

To Learn more about Gary and get some answers about Franchising and potential opportunities that may suit you start by visiting Gary's company profile here.

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