Not everyone who purchases a franchise is an MBA with a long track record of success in business. Some people buy a franchise with little more than a dream.
Which is why the franchise consultancy sector continues to thrive. While there's plenty of free information on starting a franchise on the internet, some people feel they need a guiding hand to walk them through the various steps of becoming a franchise owner.
The Wall-Street Journal wrote a largely positive article about the role of the franchise consultant recently. While making a critical point about franchise consultants (ie, that they often work for franchisors, as well), reporter Angus Loten does speak with a franchisee who is effusive in her praise for her consultant.
Melissa Shaffert, a franchisee with Aussie Pet Mobile, described her initial skepticism towards consultants in the story, before admitting she learned to overcome that uncertainty after finding a consultant who became like a 'personal business coach'.
Shaffert was drawn to a consultant because her past work experience was as a teacher. Now, she says, "I would've paid anything to have him by my side".
It's proof that consultants can work for you, thought of course it would vary from entrepreneur to entrepreneur. Franchise Direct has a pretty solid directory of consultants if you're searching for one. And for a counter-point to the Wall Street-Journal story, we recommend you read this blog post by Joel Libava. Joel emphasizes the importance of getting independent opinions from franchise consultants. As the post explains, a truly independent perspective has better served his clients.