Before you make an investment in a new or existing business for sale, it is important to talk to existing owners and support teams when researching a local franchise. Here’s why…
Becoming an entrepreneur is monumental and exciting. If you want to launch successfully into franchising, the good news is that there are thousands of different kinds of “business for sale” and “franchise for sale” opportunities, all with a variety of time and money investments needed. So, while options are plenty, so are the chances to stub your proverbial toe on franchise scam and ripoff scenarios.
Remain optimistic, though, because a proper review of both franchise complaints as well as success stories will help clear the path for your greatest chance at financial freedom with the added benefit of a greatly improved lifestyle – if you have the grit and determination to be a business owner, that is. It is a fact that no specific business is for everyone, so you need to prepare yourself to delve deeply into researching franchise investment and costs, benefits and challenges before you make your leap. How can you do this most effectively? Isolate the superior choices among the masses, conduct a direct review of their systems and visit their locations.
Find out important values
Pete Scaglione, Regional Vice-President located in Texas for Minuteman Press International, makes a practice of welcoming potential franchise owners to meet directly with him, bringing their curiosity about the digital print, design and marketing franchise opportunity he represents. Pete explains, “One of the most important reasons to meet directly with franchise representatives would be to actually see and visit with the personnel representing the company in which you would be investing your money. Instead of working with a broker or independent franchise sales person who looks to sell a business that they have to offer, it is to your great benefit to personally get to know the key people within the organization of your choice. Brokers and independent franchise sales people have limits in terms of what they can provide to you as you make your decisions and they will have nothing to do with you after the sale. You need to find out important values of the franchise through the people who work for the franchisor and the only way to do that properly is to research them directly.”
Do your research and go directly to the source for answers
Do not commit to any one franchisor until you have had a chance to become introspective about your hopes and goals, about your ultimate reason for buying a business. Do you wish to build equity and make this business venture more than a hobby or, rather, the primary source of your income? Consider your drive and ambition and decide if you may wish to, in time, own more than one franchise location. You need to examine your finances and take inventory in order to nail down the most realistically attainable franchising options for your personal budget. You will need to have a financial cushion as your business starts to bud, and hopefully, find a franchisor who is willing to assist you in obtaining needed loans, securing a location, equipment costs, etc. Not all franchisors – many – in fact, do not offer strong support in these areas, but the best ones will.
Mike Arndt, owner of Minuteman Press in Brandon and Plant City, FL, is gratified to have done his research of franchising opportunities directly. When he discovered the superior support, proven system and continued personal assistance from his ultimate selection, Minuteman Press International, he knew he and his wife, Julie had found their new business home. Mike shares, “Some franchises are questionable. Minuteman Press, however, makes it easy to research as any information you may need to know, or would like to know, is available in the disclosure documents, by asking the RVP directly or anyone in the Minuteman Press system. Tours of existing facilities, and the ability to talk to current owners (and getting their experienced views) to answer questions is invaluable and greatly helps in making a decision. It’s a personal decision and the ability to see their operation in action and to ‘interview’ current owners in a personal, face to face, meeting makes decision-making easy and Minuteman Press International is different in this way than other franchisors. Many franchisors have hidden costs that are unethical. Don’t rely on what others say, go directly to the source, the franchisor, and ask questions.”
There are people who have a strong desire to be directly involved in the operation of their businesses on a day to day basis, promoting products and services and personally assisting clients. If you are among them, think about the amount of time, the number of days of the week that you prefer to put into your location. If you do not wish to be “hands-on” as an owner and do not wish to be tied down every weekend, you need to let go of about two-thirds of the franchising opportunities that will have you working practically around the clock. This discovery is liberating, however, because there are chances out there to invest in franchise businesses that allow flexible schedules and more modest time demands, ones that operate standard business hours and grant you weekends off for leisure.
Since this is a very personal decision where a lot hangs in the balance, it is time to examine your skills, natural talents and pool them with your previous experience in business, deciding what you feel most satisfied doing. Do sales and cold-calling appeal or do you prefer personal interactions with customers who have specific needs that require consultations to fulfill? Are you able to manage employees with confidence? Some of these considerations, fortunately, can be bolstered by the fact that the best among franchisors will sweep in and train you and follow that training up with long-term support and expertise in all critical aspects of your business, alleviating the need to be an immediate expert in all areas of an industry that otherwise appeals to you.
Culture matters to success as a franchise owner
Julie Arndt, owner of Minuteman Press in Plant City and Brandon, FL, and her husband, co-owner Mike Arndt, discovered, after exhaustive research into franchising opportunities, that the kind of culture generated from the corporation extends itself into the operation of the franchises they help to open and business owners may suffer or benefit from the quality and consistency of the corporate culture. Julie appreciates that Minuteman Press International is an institution that helps its franchisees thrive on practical, technical and financial fronts, in large part due to a corporate culture that puts the highest-ranking executives at a friendly, accessible level when they are needed. Julie says, “Researching franchise options directly gives you an inside view of the corporate culture and if that culture is a fit for you. It also gives you a sense of the style of communication you will be receiving once you become a franchise owner yourself. These are critical considerations.”
Be wary of a suspiciously “cheap” franchise cost, because there can be nothing more costly than buying a “cheap” business. It is vital to research franchise opportunities directly or you will probably find yourself in a bad situation with a competitive and crowded market. Some of these poor franchise opportunities offer little support and training and you may just be stuck with a business you can’t even resell, as a weak franchisor simply won’t “have your back”. No matter what the industry, when it comes to smart investment, choosing a leader among the pack of franchisors means looking at what you are really getting for your money and the only way to do that is to put yourself in front of their representatives and visit their active locations. Many franchisors have different limits on selling your business to other franchisors, for example and some disengage their support so early that you can find yourself without a comfortable exit strategy when you so desire.
The best among franchisors will become your advocate as you put your concentrated efforts into growing your business. They will support your success all the way, including the time you decide to retire after following a winning protocol, or, if you choose, to pass your business down to a deserving heir.
To learn more about joining the #1 rated Minuteman Press franchise family, call us at 1-800-645-3006 or simply fill out the contact form on this page.