Opening a franchise can be a great opportunity from a number of perspectives. It can be a great investment, it can be a crucial life change, and it can be fun! But, opening a franchise is also a pretty significant investment for most people. You don’t want to go through all of the time and effort to find a franchise, put down the necessary money, and then realize that the franchise wasn’t right for you. Here’s a few things you should watch out for while hunting for your franchise and some tips on how to avoid them.
Don’t Spend Beyond Your Means
It seems obvious but it’s something you need to be aware of. Make sure you have a good idea of how much you are able to spend on your franchise and how much you can expect the franchise to make. This doesn’t mean that you are limited by the financial resources you have one hand because there are many great options out there for financing a franchise, but it does mean you should be very diligent when considering these options. As we’ve talked about in the past you should always analyze a franchises’ Franchise Disclosure Documents carefully before investing in a franchise. These can give you good insight into how much you can reasonably expect your franchise to make in a given year and can give you an idea about what various fees are associated with operating the franchise. If you figure out how you can safely finance your franchise and have a reasonable idea about how much your franchise can make then you should be in pretty good shape from the financial side of things, but that’s not the only potential consideration when opening a franchise.
Don’t Blindly Dive In
The first point I made ties into this, but you need to make sure you’ve done your research before you go ahead and sign a franchising agreement. And that doesn’t just mean from a financial perspective. There are so many other aspects in running a franchise that you need to understand before you get started. Most of this information can be found in the Franchise Disclosure Documents. Some of the most important things you should take a look at would be any legal issues the franchisor might have and the churn rate of franchises. Both of those could potentially be pretty significant red flags that might make you want to reconsider whether or not you want to open that franchise.
Don’t Do Something You Don’t Love
This is a big mistake that a lot of people make with their careers, whether it’s for an a college grad going into entry level job or for people looking to open their own business. If you’re going to make an investment into a franchise you should be passionate about what you’ll be doing. Running your own business can be a lot of work and can be stressful at times. But if you are passionate about it then it can be incredibly rewarding.
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Why I Have an Issue with the Forbes Franchise Rankings
The 5-Year Growth Rate and 5-Year Franchise Continuity are both great independent metrics of how a franchise is doing on average. As a potential franchisee both of these statistics are vital for selecting a franchise - you want to select a franchise that will provide you with a high return on investment and which will survive in the long run. I think these are, as FRANdata and Forbes suggested, two of the biggest (if not the two biggest) and most obvious metrics for whether or not a franchise is a “good” opportunity for a franchisee. But how do you use these to determine which franchise is BEST? This is the fundamental difficulty in coming up with a ranking system - it isn’t the difficulty in separating the good from the meh from the bad - it’s separating the great from the good and the best from the great. In the case of these rankings I found it to be pretty difficult to comprehend how they differentiated between the top ranked franchises. For instance, if you look at the difference between Discover Map (Forbes #4), Just Between Friends (Forbes #5), & Seniors Helping Seniors (Forbes #6) they all have extremely close continuity ratings and substantially different growth rates. In fact, in the case of these three, the overall rankings are opposite the growth rate rankings. Seniors Helping Seniors is ranked at the bottom of these three franchises despite having a growth rate that is 31 percentage points higher than Discovery Map and a continuity that is only 2 percentage points lower. This suggested to me that continuity was viewed as the dominant factor. But that logic didn’t hold for the rest on the “Economy Class” Top 10, as BrightStar Care (Forbes #7) had the same growth rate as Pop-a-Lock (Forbes #8) but a continuity rate that was 12 percentage points lower. These comparisons show that these were not the only two factors that went into the rankings, which is understandable, but no other factors that are explicitly listed in their results seem to be major factors.