As an aspiring franchise owner, your first step toward owning a franchise is research. After all, you want to learn all you can about a franchise before you decide to buy one. It’s no small task, either, because owning a franchise is a life-changing commitment and you want to do all the due diligence necessary before you decide to buy. The following represents three ways in which you can research franchises to make sure that you’re choosing one that best suits you and your family.
The internet is the logical starting spot for most potential franchise owners because of the wealth of the information you’ll find online. Moreover, most companies have franchise development websites that provide plenty of info about their brand and what they are looking for in franchise candidates.
However, the wealth of information available may be a bit daunting, so you may want to start by checking a couple of U.S. government websites:
Small Business Administration:
The SBA provides information on franchises, including an overview, instructions on how to purchase a franchise, and also information on how to research brands.
Federal Trade Commission:
The Federal Trade Commission, while more legalistic, takes a hard look at the buying of a franchise and what you need to do to protect yourself and your franchise investment.
You’ll find franchise expos around the country, including those hosted by the International Franchise Association. Expos are helpful to prospective franchisees for a lot of reasons, including:
- The chance to meet with the franchiser and other franchise owners.
- For learning what brands are planning to expand within your market.
- For getting a sense of the company’s culture.
- Learning what resources are available to potential owners from franchisers and other in the franchise industry.
You do want to keep in mind that franchisers looking to sell franchises will likely present you with very positive information that you’ll later want to review on your own.
Chamber of Commerce:
Don’t forget about your local chamber of commerce when doing your research. They have a wealth of information about the type of businesses that already exist in your area, information about the business market and networking opportunities, as well as for opportunities to meet other local businessmen and women.
Most annual chamber of commerce memberships are inexpensive while many of their resources and events are free. Not that chamber of commerce’s of franchising experts, but they can tell you what businesses are thriving in your market and potential opportunities for new businesses.
Phil Shawe is the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of TransPerfect.