If you’ve finally made the life-changing decision to become your own boss as a franchise owner, you’ve already answered the hardest question you’ll face on the road to business ownership. The second hardest question is how to find the right opportunity.
Believe it or not, some individuals make a conscious decision to go about finding it all on their own. After all, who knows what kind of business you want to own better than yourself? But the reality is this — there are approximately 3,500 to 4,000 different franchise concepts on the market today, representing dozens of industries and hundreds of business sectors.
How confident are you that you can wade through thousands of and find the perfect fit? Are you prepared to make your own introductions? Do you have access to professionals, including industry-specific legal and accounting contacts, who can help you review franchise disclosure documents and agreements? Would you know how to locate existing franchise owners of the brands you’re interested in? Do you already have your funding squared away? Lastly, are you confident you can accurately prepare for a franchisor’s Discovery Day meeting to finalize your agreement?
The answers to the six preceding questions above may be more difficult to determine than you think — even more so if you’re attempting to navigate the process all on your own. But if you seek the assistance of a qualified franchise consultant or broker, you can get professional guidance for the whole process free of charge. Consultants and brokers work with franchise candidates to determine the best possible match in a business opportunity, and they’re compensated by franchisors upon the close of a sale.
To demonstrate the innate value of their assistance, below are six benefits of working with a franchise consultant or broker.
Related: Never Buy a Franchise Without Researching These 5 Sources
Your franchise coach
Franchise brokers and consultants are not salespeople. Their job is to work with franchise ownership candidates and help them navigate the franchise investigative process from start to finish. In this no-cost, no-obligation relationship, they’re your coach and assistant, sharing their accumulated experience and expertise in the form of qualified advice.
How well do you know yourself?
You may think you have an idea of the type of franchise you’d like to own, but in reality, your dream business could end up being a nightmare. Initially, franchise consultants work with you to determine what it is you want out of business ownership. Factors such as flexibility, income generation and your financial tolerance all come into play. To discover your best options, franchise consultants typically have their clients participate in a personal assessment.
Just the facts
Franchise consultants don’t work with preconceived notions when it comes to your options. The assessment exercises are a fact-finding mission, conducted to align your personal preferences and desired ownership style with the right franchise opportunities. Data-driven algorithms are often deployed to weed out concepts that don’t match up with your optimal skill set, experience, management style and work-life goals. What gets presented to you when the dust settles are just the facts — franchise concepts that match up exclusively with your requirements.
Related: 6 Tips to Consider When Searching for a Franchise for the First Time
After working with a franchise consultant to narrow down your choices to a select few, they’ll make the proper introductions to the concept’s brand representatives. Most will be franchise development managers, whose job it is to recruit the next generation of owners for the brand. As you progress, you’ll meet the rest of the c-suite executive team.
Throughout the process, your franchise consultant will prepare you for calls, validation sessions and in-person meetings. If you don’t know of a franchise attorney or accountant, your consultant will use their network to provide you with professional assistance. In a way, their primary mission is to be your franchise ownership matchmaker.
Your study guide
As you progress through the franchise investigative process, you’ll be provided with the brand’s franchise disclosure document (FDD). Comprised of 23 different sections, and bound by FTC regulations, this is the franchisor’s business opportunity — spelled out in black and white.
Your franchise consultant will help you review each section, answering any questions or concerns you may have about what you don’t yet understand. The same service extends to the franchise agreement, which details the comprehensive roles and responsibilities of the franchisor and franchisee alike. Trust us when we say that you’ll be glad to have a tutor that can guide you through these all-important documents.
Aside from actually signing on the dotted line, you’ll be invited to attend the brand’s Discovery Day, sometimes referred to as Meet the Team Day. The visit typically involves a visit to the franchisor’s corporate headquarters for an action-packed day of meetings, conversations, tours, shared meals and a final once-over where both sides size one another up and decide whether to move forward or not. Your franchise consultant will help you prepare for this trip, managing your expectations and providing helpful advice on how to dress, act and face your moment of truth.
Many franchise consultants have earned the title of Certified Franchise Executive (CFE), the International Franchise Association’s program designed to certify and educate them according to the highest industry standards. To get started, you can review a list of preferred franchise brokers from our list of top franchise suppliers, or book an appointment with a qualified representative from Entrepreneur’s team of franchise advisors.
Another option you might consider is to seek opinions and advice from a career ownership coach. Franchise consultants can save you untold amounts of time, money and trouble, by helping you navigate your entrepreneurial journey. Their helpful advice can keep you from making a crucial mistake when it matters the most.
Be sure to keep that in mind if you still plan to go it alone.
Related: What should I look for during my franchise search?