Why do you need to do this?
Because I said so. Kidding!
Actually, when you’re buying a franchise, you need to find unhappy franchisees as part of your research. It’s the best way to avoid missing something about the business.
In addition, you always want to make sure you hear both sides of the story.
Find Unhappy Franchisees To Get The Real Story
If you’ve been reading my blog posts on how to do franchise research, you know how I feel about the importance of calling and visiting franchisees who own the franchise concept you’re interested in. If you haven’t, here are a few reasons why you need to talk to current franchise owners.
For one, talking to franchisees gives you a peek into their day-to-day lives as a franchise owner.
Secondly, if you ask your questions right, you’ll be able to find out what you really need to know; how much you can make as a franchise owner.
Tip: if you feel it would be valuable to have the exact questions you need to ask franchisees to get the truthful answers you need-including when and how to ask them, make sure you buy “The Definitive Guide To Franchise Research.” You’ll find it ridiculously helpful. Really!
Third of all, if you call enough of them, you will find both happy and unhappy franchisees. But what if you’re only finding happy franchise owners?
If you’re only getting positive reviews from franchisees, I want you to do something that may seem counterintuitive. Here it is:
You need to continue calling franchisees until you find one or two unhappy ones. Why?
To get the the other side of the story. And believe me, there will be another side.
Finally-and this is crucial; an unhappy franchisee will tell you everything.
Time For A Reality Check: Franchising Isn’t Perfect
It’s important for you to know that all franchises have problems. The key is to make sure you know what they are before you pull out your checkbook to pay the franchise fee.
An Example Of A Problem
Let’s say the franchise organization you’re interested in partnering has gone through 3 different CEO’s in the past year and a half. That’s a problem. You’d probably want to know about it, right? But knowing isn’t enough.
Equally important is finding out why there have been so many changes at the top.
That said, your first instinct would be to have a chat about it with the franchise development representative you’ve been talking with. But the chances of getting a “corporate” answer from her are extremely high. And problematic. Corporate speak ain’t what you need. So how do you get the real franchise investment information?
By talking to franchise owners.
But it’s not simply “talking” to them. You need to create relationships with them. How do you do that?
The best way to create relationships with current franchise owners is by sharing your personal story with them. In this case, you need to tell them what happened in your life that’s making you look at becoming your own boss. It takes courage, but I know you can do it.
For example, were you fired? If so, tell them how it happened.
Are you still working, but you’re fed up working for someone else? Tell them why you’re fed up. Really bare your soul. Why?
Because laying it all on the line-opening up to the franchisees you’re calling, gives them permission to do the same.
The One Question You Need To Ask Every Franchise Owner
If you’re calling franchisees, but you’re not having any luck finding unhappy, frustrated ones, ask this question:
“Are you aware of any unhappy franchisees? If so, who are they, and why do you think they’re unhappy?”
Asking that should work.
You Must Open The Unhappy Franchisee Can Of Worms
You need to find them-even if you don’t want to.
I know…I know.
You’re getting so close to buying a franchise. You’re hearing so many good things. In your mind, you may be only weeks ago from becoming the owner of a business. Wow!
How great would that be?
But don’t blow it now.
You owe it to yourself (and your bank accont) to not allow your emotions to get the best of you. How?
By focusing your energy on getting the facts.
Look-I know you’re excited. For some, just the thought of not having a boss anymore is a cause for celebration. But not yet. You need to keep your excitement in check for a little longer. Okay?
And, it’s the unhappy ones that are going to tell you everything.
A franchise organization with an abundant number of happy franchisees is a great thing. That means they’re making money and happy with their decision to go with the franchisor they chose.
But, when you talk to franchisees that are happy-really happy with their businesses, you’re going to find that they talk mostly about their franchise businesses.
And, while it’s great to hear happy and successful franchisees share their excitement about their individual franchise businesses, it’s not enough for you.
That’s because you are a
And, Bulldogs don’t give up until they get what they want.
Be The Bulldog.
Go after it. Make a commitment to get the information you need, and don’t stop until you get it all.
That means asking franchisees about THE business.
Here are a few questions you can ask to find out.
1. What are the market conditions like now?
2. How much competition is there?
3. Are there any trends you need to know about?
4. Is the company adding a lot of new franchisees?
5. Is the company setup for continued success?
To summarize, if you want to make sure you’re making a fact-based yes or no decision on a franchise to own, you need to talk to happy and unhappy franchisees.
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Do that, and you’ll sleep better at night.