Did the Franchisor's Training Set You Up for Success?
An advantage of investing in a franchise is that the franchisor provides you with support and training, which isn’t the case when you start a business from scratch. While there is no guarantee of success in franchising, following the working system is key. If the training is helpful and leads to success, that franchise could be for you.
Were There Any Pleasant Surprises in Opening This Franchise Business?
The opening of a business can be nerve-racking, but it’s not all bad. It is important to get the full story from franchisees about their experience with business ownership, good or bad. This will allow you to appreciate the successes and failures when they come.
Is the Corporate Team Responsive and Supportive?
In a franchise system, the franchisees can expect a corporate team to be there to respond to questions and concerns that they may have. Franchisees in the system will let you know what to expect when you need support from the franchisor, which usually includes site selection, site construction, and providing marketing materials and ongoing support.
How is the Corporate Culture?
In addition to providing the public with a product or service, a franchise also has a corporate culture. The franchisor has certain values and beliefs that can make a franchise enjoyable or unenjoyable. By asking franchisees about what the culture is like, you can determine if the franchise aligns with your personal values and beliefs. If the brand goes against what you stand for, you may have to look elsewhere.
Do You Have Any Regrets?
As a franchise owner, you will make mistakes. Whether the mistakes are big or small, you have to deal with them and try to fix them while not obsessing over them. Questions to ask franchise owners can be about their regrets because they can be a sign of things to come.
Are You Aware of Any Unhappy Franchisees?
As a prospective franchise owner, knowing if the other franchisees in the system like the business is important. While not all franchisees answer this question honestly and not everyone in the system of a franchise business is always happy, listen to how they answer your question and ask it multiple times to get a better picture.
Do You Have Any Previous Business Ownership Experience?
One of the benefits of owning a franchise is that you don’t necessarily need previous business experience to be successful because franchisors provide you with support and training. But having prior experience is beneficial, and speaking with franchises who have a similar background as you can improve your validation experience. You can also ask franchisees how long they've been running their businesses.
The Value Franchise Validation Calls and Franchise Consultants
While making franchise validation calls is an important part of the due diligence process, you should also speak with a Franchise Consultant. This professional works with you to determine if owning a business is right for you. by meeting with you and discussing your background, financial situation, skills, and background. Based on this information, you meet with franchisors who align with your values and have a franchise business that is within your financial reach.
With their deep knowledge of how to buy a franchise, consultants help you better understand the franchise cost and important documentation, like the Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) and the franchise agreement. After reading through the FDD, you will know if the franchise business has any red flags. These red flags include when a franchisor fires many franchise owners and doesn’t disclose an item 19, which tells investors how much the average franchisee makes annually. The FDD also includes the registration states where you can buy a franchise and tells you how many franchisees in the system have filed for bankruptcy.
Since consultants only make a commission from franchisors when entrepreneurs buy a franchise, their advice comes at no cost to you. Ask them all your franchise questions! If a franchisor believes that you have what it takes to be a franchise owner, you’ll be invited to the corporate headquarters for discovery day. During this event, you get to vet the franchisor and the brand's leadership team. Discovery day, the franchisee validation process and foundational calls will give you a sense of what a franchise business is about and can make or break your decision to buy a franchise.
Questions to Ask During the Franchise Validation
Before finalizing the decision to invest in franchise ownership, candidates speak with franchisees to validate the business opportunity. Questions to ask include: What was the biggest challenge you experienced in your first year? Is the corporate team supportive, and what is the culture like? Do you have any regrets? Are multi-unit opportunities available? (Multi-unit franchisees own more than half of all franchises). Asking these validation questions and more to a good amount of franchise owners will help you get a better sense of what franchise ownership with a brand is like. Franchisee validation is an important part of the due diligence process along with speaking with Franchise Consultants and attending discovery day.