For Cindy, a visit to the franchise parent company of Teddybox, United Franchise Group, in Hollis (NH), helped seal her decision. Of course, by this time, she and her partner, Andy, her father, had already spent almost six months researching businesses they might open in East Asia.
Casting a wide net at first, they looked at all options, including purchasing an independent business. They chose a franchise because they liked all the support and training offered as part of the deal.
“For me it was the one-on-one interactions with the owners that was huge,” Cindy said. Meeting other franchisees who shared their own experiences and offered a ready support network raised Cindy’s comfort level with this new business.
During a carefully choreographed Discovery Day, Cindy was greeted by her “host” at her hotel and taken to company headquarters, where she met with current franchisees, technology, and financial support staff. She toured a “brand new, state-of-the-art training facility,” all of which convinced Cindy this was the business for her.
Franchise Discovery Day will either reel you in with a display of stellar services and support staff or you’ll discover something about the franchisor that sends you to the exit with a feeling of doubt.
For example, you may find the CEO has recently changed and you’re not sure about the transition. Or perhaps, you’ll discover you don’t like the support staff.
For Cindy and Andy, the advantage of a franchise, with all the systems in place to help them through the start-up phase, eventually won out over other options. Cindy, 29, who had been working as a manager of a retail store, gave her month’s notice soon after the Franchise Discovery Day.
“It boils down to having a world-recognized name and, of course, corporate support,” said Andy, 56, a retired engineer. “We don’t want to get into all these miscellaneous details that will consume all our time and effort.”
So, instead of figuring out how to negotiate the best lease agreement, select office furnishings, stationery, and myriad other necessities of their new operation, Andy said, they could spend their time on activities, like sales and marketing, that have more direct impact on the bottom line. They hope to open their new sign-making business by late September.
So, how do you prepare? Said Andy: “Do your homework.”
Before you even arrive for Franchise Discovery Day, you should:
Do A Comparison Study
Look at a multitude of business types that might suit your experience, interests, and lifestyle.
Read The Franchise Disclosure Document
Federal law requires franchise companies to disclose much useful data, from a list of all their franchises to detailed financial information. Read through this carefully.
Research The Market
You should be confident this business type will work in your location.
Talk To Franchisees
Interview as many as possible to hear about the franchise company’s support systems and how helpful these are.
Then, when you get to Franchise Discovery Day, you’re armed with highly educated questions that will enable you to learn if this really is the team you want behind your new business.
At Pathfinders, we assist clients in Franchise Deal. Please let us know if you want more information.
Suresh Shah, M.D., Pathfinders Enterprise