Anytime we plan to put a pretty large chunk of our savings aside for a major project or put thousands on the line in the form of a loan we’re applying for, it’s a good idea to think it through. Most people know this and most people out there tread very carefully when they’re considering a major investment of their energy and assets.
One of the questions many franchisees are often asked after they’ve opened their franchise is “Where did you go for advice?” and this question is often on the minds of potential franchisees looking into running their own business alongside the support of an existing system. Seeking out legal support, accounting assistance and just general advice on how to go about franchising, what to do at certain crossroads, and what to consider based on one’s own personal circumstances are typical aspects of starting out.
Talking to existing franchisees to get the inside story is full of benefits, albeit limited ones. Franchisees looking into operating a business benefit differently from the concerted advice of someone who’s dedicated to helping them problem solve during that initial period of due diligence and discovery with crossroads and changes of heart mixed in.
And that someone should be pretty special if reliable advice is to be expected.
If you want specialized support, general business operation and ownership advice is not going to cut it for franchisees. Franchise advisors (or brokers/consultants) who are qualified to offer informative, balanced advice are focused on the way franchising works, on business models that operate within the paradigm of franchising, and therefore have an entirely different approach to advising potential franchisees in the world of business. Having said that, the backgrounds and attributes of franchise brokers abound so it is wise to select advisors carefully.
Raising the Visibility of Franchise Brokers
In 2014’s Prospective Franchisee Survey, nearly half of respondents had already or planned to seek out the advice of a franchise consultant, whereas a little over half had not already or did not plan to seek out the advice of a franchise consultant. By comparison, the majority by 67.1% of respondents had already or planned to seek out the advice of a CPA or lawyer while researching possible franchises.
The near 50-50 split response regarding seeking out the advice of a franchise consultant cannot necessarily be said to represent the research approach of the entire pool of potential franchisees across the U.S., though the shift in response related to CPAs and lawyers may reveal some indication of how those researching franchise businesses view the importance of one type of advice over another.
More respondents answering positively to the question regarding consulting with CPAs and lawyers versus the support of a franchise consultant may also reveal the degree of familiarity that potential franchisees have with the value of the services offered by franchise consultants.
The unique support offered by accountants and lawyers falls into two different compartments that are both incredibly important to understanding the financial and legal impact of franchise business operation in one’s life. Likewise, franchise brokers provide advice that falls into its own compartment, pertaining to some of the grey areas of operating a franchise, and when well-chosen, some of the more detailed nuances associated with franchise operation based on valuable personal experience.
Additionally, advice pertaining to the very important initial stage of just choosing which sector and which type of franchise system to partner with based on your particular situation (which is a huge deal) is not something that accountants and lawyers can be of much assistance with.
Qualified franchise advisors on the other hand can be of assistance with this and a large portion of the battle to operating a franchise happily and successfully over time is choosing the one that best fits you from the start. Overconfidence in this regard can be responsible for many franchising disappointments, whereas a reasonable degree of caution and a balanced view of the expertise available through franchise consultants may help to clarify what options exist and which options are likely to lead to setbacks.