EDITOR NOTE: This is a post from The Franchise King®, Joel Libava. Joel will be writing a blog post monthly for Franchise Direct.
Have you selected a franchise opportunity or two to start investigating?
If so, one of the things you’ll (hopefully) be doing is reaching out to some of the existing franchisees of the franchises you’re interested in. It’s an important part of your franchise due diligence.
As a matter of fact, talking with franchisees may be the most important part of the franchise purchasing process. That’s because they’re already “living the dream.” They’re doing what you want to be doing. They are franchise business owners. Call them.
Calling Franchise Owners
When you’re far enough along in the franchise discovery process with a specific franchisor, you’ll get access to the Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD). The FDD will include a list of names, addresses, and phone numbers of all the franchisees that are currently in the system. This list is golden. Some of the franchisees on that list will end up being the ones you call to ask questions of.
In addition to the list of franchisees that’s included the FDD, some franchisors also send along a short list of their own. This list usually includes franchisees that are used to getting called by would-be franchise owners. (The franchisees on this list are also in the FDD.) I recommend calling a couple of franchisees on that list…but only a couple of them. As a matter of fact, call people on that list first; they’ll be easy calls to have, since the franchisees on that list get calls all the time. They’ll be nice warm-up calls for you. Ask lots of questions. Here are a few for you to use.
Next, call several of the other franchisees that are listed in the FDD. These franchisees may or may not get a lot of calls; it depends on the level of interest the franchise you’re interested in has. Make it your goal to have actual conversations with a dozen or so franchisees that are listed in the FDD.
Plan on calling a couple of the franchisees you’ve already talked with again.
Pick the ones you feel you had the best rapport with; they could turn out to be your “franchise friends.”
Franchise friends are franchisees who have been in business for a while that you feel 100% confident calling anytime-day or night, for help and advice after you’ve purchased your franchise.
How To Make A Franchise FriendThe goal here is to get the franchisees you’ve chosen to like you. Do this by asking them deeper questions. Don’t just go on about business. Really get to know them. Find out why they get out of bed every day. Conversations that involve other things besides business will help you build a deeper relationship with them.
Another benefit of establishing good relationships with some of the franchisees is that it will make it that much easier to ask them if you can spend a day with them at their businesses. Doing so will allow you to see firsthand what it’s like to be a franchisee. If you have an opportunity to spend the day with a current franchisee spare no reasonable expense for a chance to do it. That’s franchise due diligence at its best!
Think about it: Instead of relying on web brochures, Power Point presentations, and other franchise opportunity presentation techniques that you’ve been exposed to, you’ll be able to witness first-hand what “a day in the life of a franchisee” is really like.
And, you’ll have made a friend.
A friend you can call on when needed if you decide to buy the franchise you’re interested in.