Please don’t automatically think that you have something to franchise.
Because you probably don’t.
Seriously; just because you, “feel” that you can turn your independent business-or yet to be business, into a franchise business, it doesn’t mean that you can-or should.
People contact me all the time for franchise advice…that’s fine. It’s what I specialize in. And, I’ll gladly offer my solicited advice.
I don’t tend to sugar-coat things…
But, lately, I’ve been holding back a bit. I’m not sure why, either.
In the past 6 months, I’ve been contacted by several people who have already started franchising. (At least, their idea of franchising.) A few of their concepts have really stood out.
But, not because their franchise concepts are incredible.
The reason that their franchises have stood out, and still do, is because they suck.
Their businesses should have never become franchises in the first place.
And, if these folks would have contacted me before they spent a lot of money with franchise lawyers and/or franchise development firms, my advice to them would have been to not do it.
But, I couldn’t give them real advice. They didn’t allow me to.
They just went ahead and did it.
Don’t Turn Your Business Into A Franchise
A lot of people don’t care what you care about.
For example, just because you are passionate about low-energy lighting, it doesn’t mean that I am.
Or, maybe you’re a former inner-city school teacher who’s super-passionate about helping at-risk youth. That’s great, but it doesn’t mean that I am…or that a lot of your neighbors are.
Let’s go even narrower. I’ll use myself as an example….
Let’s Turn My Business Idea Into A Franchise
I like dogs. I think that they’re the most amazing animals. I have several ideas on how to monetize my passion–my love for dogs. Except not all people love dogs. Some people are allergic to dogs. Some people are scared of dogs. Heck, some people just don’t like animals.
But, lots of people make a lot of money in the pet business.
And, I think that I can do. So, here’s my idea for a franchise.
I want to open a chain of police dog training franchises. Franchisees would only work with police departments. No individuals. No businesses. Only police departments.
Now, more and more police departments are using specially trained dogs, nowadays. These dogs can fetch (hahaha) upwards of $50,000 fully trained, ready to go.
I really want to get in on that action, so I go about hiring a franchise development firm, or maybe I’ll do it on the cheap, and only use a franchise attorney to “franchise” this business idea of mine.
For the heck of it, let’s say that I go the cheap route, and get my franchise idea up and running with the help of an able-bodied, well-meaning franchise attorney.
The attorney is well-versed in Franchise Disclosure Documents, franchise contracts, and franchise law. Terrific.
Let’s also say that I hired someone to write-up a franchise operations manual for me.
Everything’s cool, right?
Do you know why?
The reason that everything is not all “cool” with my yet to be launched “franchise” is this:
I’m not playing with a
(Image courtesy of BaileyRaeWeaver, Flickr)
I’m missing several crucial things.
But, I’m only going to talk about the most important one.
In my excitement, which included a lot of daydreaming about collecting royalties each and every month from at least 500 franchisees located all over the US and Canada, I forgot one thing.
I didn’t research the market enough.
I’ve got nothing.
I think there’s a need for a franchise that provides K9 training-and the dogs for police departments in North America, it doesn’t mean there is.
- Just because I’m passionate about dogs and specialized dog training, it doesn’t mean that there are enough other people that are.
- Just because I know that more and more police departments are purchasing $50,000 German Shepherds, it doesn’t mean that they’re going to want to purchase them from me-or one of my franchisees.
- Just because I think that there’s a need for this service, it doesn’t mean that there actually is one.
- Just because I think that I can find plenty of people that are passionate about specialized dog training, it doesn’t mean that I can.
You can believe that you have an amazing idea for a franchise concept.
And, you just might.
But, you need some proof. You need to do a market study. You need to work with experts to see if this idea of yours is really feasible.
And, when it comes to franchise development, which is the art of turning a business concept into a franchise business concept, you can easily find an expert or 20.
But, not all franchise development firms are created equal.
Some of them will happily take your money…all the while telling you that you have, ” a fantastic idea,” and they’ll even help you sell the first few franchises.
There are a lot of horror stories out there. I don’t want you to become the main character in one.
** Did I mention that turning your business concept-business idea-into a franchise using only the services of an attorney will dramatically increase your chance of falling flat on your face and possibly never selling more than one or two franchises?
In other words, don’t be cheap. Don’t just use an attorney to franchise your business. Find a good franchise development firm. Have them do a market study. See if there is in fact, a big enough market for your services or products.
Just because you have a great idea for a franchise….
Doesn’t make it so.
(Card deck image courtesy of BaileyRaeWeaver, Flickr)
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"I was pretty focused on a particular franchise opportunity when I reached out to Joel Libava. In the course of a 1-hour conversation, Joel was able to provide direct advice to help clarify the process for me and help guide me through the next steps in my vetting process. He even put me in contact with other professionals who were able to help educate me further in my particular industry. The time and money were well spent."
- Brian Grayson, Franchise Buyer, Cincinnati