When it comes to comparing franchise opportunities, gut instinct isn’t enough. You must know what – and who – to ask…
Sometimes, critical decisions boil down to gut instinct and a roll of the dice and sometimes, if we are calculating and invested in the results, we pull out a scale and weigh the choices we make in a balance, hoping for a better outcome. Still, since outside variables aren’t always within our control and sometimes we are impulsive and roll the dice too quickly, bad decisions happen. In our personal lives, poor choices about what film to see, who we date or an unfortunate haircut can disrupt our peace, but there are times when making a really bad decision can be life-changing and, in some cases, expensive. Consider the TWELVE publishing firms that rejected J.K. Rowling’s initial Harry Potter effort. It is no secret that the series she went on to develop has broken publishing records and are considered the fastest selling books ever since their initial printing in 1997.
To avoid making a bad decision about your franchise investment, act not in haste. Boldly weigh their offerings and see who tips the scales…
History is littered with bad decisions and, granted, we have grown from them, collectively and individually, on a case-by-case basis (if we are wise). For instance, Ross Perot actually turned down the chance to purchase a little company called Microsoft in 1979 because the billionaire felt the $40-$60 million price tag was unreasonable. Gates was on board to enter the corporate marketplace, but Perot fumbled. Later, he told the Seattle Times that it was “one of the biggest business mistakes I ever made.”
But what if you are on the hunt for a franchise business opportunity? There is no reason for you to be the proverbial “canary in the mine” by gambling with your own money on trendy franchise newbies because there are well-respected franchisors with deep, successful track records among the masses. If you take time to conduct a comprehensive franchise review, you can find the best in the crowd and imagine your own story unfolding in a similar, flourishing fashion. Perhaps you are attracted to a particular sector but within that sector are multiple franchisors from which to make that critical decision. There are countless food services, cleaning and business to business franchises, for instance. How can you help yourself find the one that has the greatest capacity to help you develop prosperity when most industries have a lot of franchises competing for attention? It isn’t easy and it’s not recommended that you roll the dice based on gut instinct alone. Once you isolate the franchise opportunities that you see as potential winners, you are still left with the task of determining the best one for you, personally.
Jim Galasso, Minuteman Press Regional Vice President for NY/NJ/CT, provides what is arguably the biggest factor to put in the scales if you are weighing franchise opportunities against each other in order to make a good decision. Jim wastes no time getting to that point, sharing, “Support! Any very successful person will tell you that a big part of his or her success is based on being surrounded by the support of other smart people. Having been in business for 40+ years with close to 1000 franchise centers all around the world, the Minuteman Press support system doesn’t just include the 28 regional offices and the people in our corporate office. It also includes peers of successful franchise owners from all over the world, sharing ideas, helping one another grow (in many cases) and gathering together at corporate sponsored events and conventions.”
Jim continues with the facts about support and what distinguishes his corporation from others, “Our franchisees reap the benefits of working relationships with the top manufacturers and support people from all the companies that work closely together with Minuteman Press International, such as our vendors. So a person going into business as a Minuteman Press franchise owner will have a tremendous amount of people with expertise in the field. Support is a key part of true success for any business, small or large.”
“Quick decisions are unsafe decisions.” Sophocles
Indeed, the ideal way to avoid a potentially bad decision is to conduct a comprehensive franchise review and pay attention to the elements that differentiate one from the other and how those elements are likely to be a contributing factor to your future success. The stronger the feedback you get from active franchise owners and officers of the franchise corporation in areas that make them unique and highly functional (such as local support), the more likely the particular franchise will have a brand that can endure and take on the competition.
Carla Braun Wilson, owner of Minuteman Press in Farmington, MO, is in the position to give people a glimpse of the kind of franchisor whose quality warrants serious consideration. A Minuteman Press franchise review yielded a decision that Carla is thankful that she made as she notes higher levels of satisfaction with the training and support provided, but also the unique ability her franchisor has to get behind her efforts without challenging her ultimate authority over her own business. It’s naïve to assume that all franchisors have a winning formula and adhere to their end of the bargain.
Carla offers her insight, saying, “The franchise provided training and support for the printing side of the business that allowed me to be successful. I was able to devote my work hours to providing great service and design to my customers. My degree is in business and my background was in graphic design. Those two interests merged perfectly with owning a printing company.”
She continues, “I continue to appreciate the support of the franchise anytime I need help. I also appreciate Minuteman Press not being “controlling” and micro-managing my business. They are there when I need them and don’t bother me when I don’t.”
Leadership is important to rally a team behind you and having a strong franchisor behind you as you lead your team is everything. We all know you are only as good as your weakest link and that is why isolating a franchise opportunity that comes to the bargaining table with coveted bonuses that will help you launch and grow your business is the only way to go forward.
Here are 3 key things to look for when you are comparing franchises on your short list:
1. Assistance with financing and finding a perfect location
2. Long term support, especially at the local level after you’ve been given superior training
3. Long-term planning to help you grow your business and develop an advantageous exit strategy
You will find that your ability to work with your entire team is the best way to ensure that the job of developing a successful franchise gets proper justice and pays off. The captain of your team should be your franchisor, but when bad decisions are made due to lack of research or impulsive jumps at the suggestion of a business broker, unfortunate franchisees suffer from a captain who isn’t invested in their success. You will learn over the years that there will always be certain areas in which you are honing the necessary skills to run the business to its fullest potential. In those areas, the local support provided by the franchisor you choose will be there to make your life and chances of success easier – or they will not. It all hinges on the decision you make after you compare your franchise options.
Mike Maheux has welcomed many curious potential entrepreneurs into his multi-unit franchise domain in both Burnside and Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. People come looking for guidance and some are not prepared with the kinds of questions that can really reveal the true value-comparable franchises.
Mike suggests 5 important questions to use as you conduct your franchise comparison:
- Are there designated territories?
- What obligations does the franchise have with regards to purchase of supplies, etc.?
- For what percentage am I responsible for royalties AND are the royalties capped?
- Does the royalty cover advertising?
- What are the start-up costs, training and support?
And know that the parties to whom you should be directing these questions are the officers of the corporation and, importantly, active franchise owners.
Set your standard and think carefully
When you decide to open your own business and realize that franchising affords both freedom and valuable support, your first task will be sorting through the overwhelming options and resisting the potentially bad decisions that will be pulling at you. In order to make a good decision and to begin developing what can be a long, successful run as an entrepreneur, go forward by comparing franchises by a strict standard. Take time to think about what you will need from your franchisor in order to meet your goals and beat out your competition.
During your period of due diligence, ask bold questions and challenge franchisors to show you what makes them unique and how they will use what they offer to help you grow and stay ahead of industry changes. If they can’t come through with solid answers and a lengthy history of enthusiastic franchisees, consider them a bad decision and move on. In the end, the energy you put into comparing franchises will lead to your best decision and from there, you can decide to redirect all of your energy into creating what could be your own personal history of prosperity.
Continue your franchise research of Minuteman Press International, the #1 rated design, marketing, and printing franchise, by calling 1-800-645-3006 or simply fill out the contact form on this page.