Franchise Validation Calls are an Important Part of Due Diligence
An important part of the franchise discovery process is validation. With franchise validation, you have the opportunity to speak with franchise owners and ask them questions about their experience with the brand. It will benefit you to speak to several franchisees during this process to see if the franchise is a good fit.
Your franchisor should provide a list of franchise owners who you can call. But how do you decide which franchisees to contact? Ideally, you should reach out to franchise owners who have a similar background to yours, a comparable amount of industry experience and a similarly sized market to yours.
Franchise Validation Questions
Before making franchise validation calls, prepare questions in advance. Be on time for the call and make sure to thank the franchisee for their time. Keep in mind that franchise owners are busy.
Reach out via email to set up a time to speak that’s convenient for both of you. When you are on the call, properly introduce yourself and get the conversation started quickly to make the most of the time.
After your introduction, share your background and what drew you to the business in the first place. Then you can transition to asking about the franchisee’s experience. Avoid focusing too much on money and keep the conversation geared toward the business operations. Keep your questions relevant and be mindful of the franchisee’s time.
Ideally, you will have a list of about 25 questions. Here are some examples:
- Have you had trouble hiring staff?
- What is a typical day like?
- What are your favorite and least favorite aspects of the business?
- How are you supported by the corporate team?
Now that you have some questions in mind, which franchisees should you reach out to?
Navigating Franchise Validation
When navigating the franchise validation process, it's important to reach out to successful entrepreneurs so you can see what they are doing correctly. Consider if you're willing to put in the work that comes with franchise ownership. During the call, you can also see if you have a similar character to the franchisee who you're speaking with.
It would also benefit you to speak with franchisees who are in similar demographics to where you'd want to open the business. For example, if you want to open a franchise in a city, it wouldn't benefit you to speak with franchisees who own businesses in the suburbs. That wouldn't give you a sense of what it's like running a business in your desired demographic.
The age of a business is also important to consider before taking about franchise ownership. Like children, businesses grow through phases. Speaking to franchisees who are in different stages of development would be beneficial because they'll give you a better sense of what running a business is like the longer you do it.
Evaluating Franchise Validation
After you’ve done multiple franchise validation calls, take note of the similarities in the responses you get. You may see patterns which will be a good gauge of how franchise ownership may be for you.
Also, listen intently to the way franchisees respond to your questions. Are they passionate about the business or do they sound overwhelmed? This should be considered when making your final decision. At the end of the call, thank the franchisee for their time and follow up with a short thank you note.
It is also important to consider all the feedback you get and not let one bad review stop you from investing. There could be that one person who finds fault in everything and is more than happy to tell you all of their complaints. Get a good idea if the brand is a good fit for you by speaking to multiple franchisees.
While the validation process will help you understand if a brand is right for you, it will also help the franchisor understand if you are a good fit. Remember, you are being vetted by the franchisor as well. Do your best to make a good impression, but most importantly, ask the right questions to ensure that the franchise is ideal for your interests, finances and lifestyle needs.