There’s so much darn noise out there. There are so many choices these days. Too many, if you ask me. (Did you ask me?)
What I’m referring to is the internet of course-specifically the millions upon millions of search engine results that appear after we type in a description of what we’re looking for.
Take “franchise research” for example.
As you can see in the screenshot above, (taken on March 11th, 2015) the search term, “franchise research” has 4,130,000 results showing on Bing.
Where would you begin?
I know…I know…you would start with the information that’s showing on the 1st page of Bing, or Yahoo! or the Big G. And, if you didn’t find the information, (usually in article form) on the 1st page, you may-or may not-click to the 2nd…or even the 3rd page of your search results to see if there’s some better information.
You may even refine your search a bit…drill down.
But, you shouldn’t have to.
After all, the best information…on anything you’re looking for-any topic, should show on the 1st or 2nd page of a search, right? At least that’s what the owners of the search engines tell us should happen.
From the Google company philosophy page:
“Since the beginning, we’ve focused on providing the best user experience possible. Whether we’re designing a new Internet browser or a new tweak to the look of the homepage, we take great care to ensure that they will ultimately serve you, rather than our own internal goal or bottom line. Our homepage interface is clear and simple, and pages load instantly. Placement in search results is never sold to anyone, and advertising is not only clearly marked as such, it offers relevant content and is not distracting.”
Except is doesn’t always happen. That’s because people and/or companies game the system-or pay people in the SEO field to do it, so they can get their information front and center…on page 1.
Even if it’s not the best information.
But, I’m not going to let that happen when it comes to the subject I happen to specialize in-franchise research. (Actually, I specialize in showing people how to do great franchise research)
As you’ll soon see.
Of the 2,000+ articles I’ve written on franchising, I’m guessing around 15% of them have something to do with the subject of franchise research…franchise due diligence…with tips on how to do it right.
Some of the articles are located here-on The Franchise King Blog, while others are scattered around the internet…and can even be found in a few print publications.
I don’t want you to spend hours on end trying to find them.
And, while it’s true that several of my articles concerning franchise research can be found on the 1st page of Google, the majority of them won’t be. (I’m trying!)
So, in the spirit of making things as easy as possible for you to find what you need, I’m linking to a lot of them, below. Now, you will have one page…one place to go for information on how to research a franchise. You’ll find tips. You’ll find specific questions you should be asking franchisees. And, it’s free.
A Royal Suggestion: Bookmark this page right now. That way you’l be able to use the information found here-my top franchise research tips/articles, over and over…until either you buy a franchise, or find a better job…or buy an independent business…or start your own business. Or?
My Top Franchise Research Tips And Articles
If you’ve never done research on a franchise business…real research, the right type of research, you need to learn how. That’s because great franchise research can seriously lower your financial risk. You’re on board with that, right?
So, without further ado, here are some of my top franchise research articles and tips.
1. It’s all in the approach.
That’s right; you have to think about how you would like to be approached if you were already a franchisee-and you were on the receiving end of a phone call from a prospective franchisee. Read this post to learn how to approach franchisees that you want answers from.
2. The system.
How good is the franchise system you’re thinking about becoming a part of? One way to find out is to ask the existing franchise owners and even the executive team at franchise headquarters. Do you know important the system is? Do you know important it is to find out?
3. The quality.
It’s important to believe in the products or services you’ll be selling as the owner of a franchise business. There are two ways to find out if the franchises’ products and/or services are top shelf.
A. Sample them yourself.
B. Ask the franchisees.
Here’s how to ask the franchisees who are selling them and making their living from them.
Bonus Franchise Research Tip: Pose as a shopper before you buy the franchise. It’s a great way to find out how the product/service is being sold and delivered.
4. Cost and quality.
You need to find out how franchisees feel about the cost of goods they’re receiving.
As a franchise owner, your cost of goods is a really important thing to understand and to monitor. Lower costs = higher profit margins. Make sure you include questions about cost as you do your franchise research.
5. Important people to contact.
You do know how important it is to call and even visit (if you can) franchisees, right?
If you’re not yet convinced about the importance of calling people who have already invested their money into the same business you’re thinking of investing in, you should read this post.
6. More important people to contact.
Not only should you make calls-and lots of them, to existing franchisees…you need to talk to the people at franchise headquarters. Here are the 10 questions you must ask.
Don’t Stop Now: There Are A Lot More Tips!
7. Working with franchise reps.
You’ll be spending a lot of phone time with franchise reps…salespeople. They’re paid a commission when you buy the franchise…when you sign your franchise agreement and pay the franchise fee. Today’s franchise salespeople can’t and won’t waste their time with candidates that don’t feel are serious. Read this to make sure they take you seriously….in a good way.
The Sooner You Get Through Your Research
The Sooner You Can Be Open For Businesss
8. This won’t be exciting.
Some of things you’ll be doing-as part of your franchise research, will be pretty boring. Tedious, too. But, you need to do it. Like reading an entire Franchise Disclosure Document.
Also known as the “FDD,” this document-that happens to be required reading. The FDD is required reading for two reasons.
1. Franchisors registered in the U.S are required to send you a copy.
2. You need to read it if you’re serious about what really is a serious decision.
But, as you’ll see in my article over at Entrepreneur.com, as important as the document is, you shouldn’t get yourself all twisted over it. That’s what a lawyer is for! (Kidding)
9. Lawyers, guns, and money.
Ok. Two out of three. You’ll need to hire a lawyer before you sign your franchise agreement…your contract. And, it will cost you money.
Don’t hire any,old lawyer. Hire a franchise lawyer. Would you like to know why you need one…why you need to spend the money?
10. Discovering more.
Most franchisors want to meet you in person at their headquarters. You should go.
Driving up to headquarters…or driving down to headquarters depending on where you’re located…or even flying, is an important step. It shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Expect to be given the red carpet treatment when you arrive. The team at franchise headquarters is focused on impressing you. But, it’s a two-way street. You’re going to want to put your best foot forward. After all, the decision to award you a franchise is not yours. Read all about visiting headquarters…attending Discovery Day.
11. Find one or two of these people.
You may not like this idea, but it falls under “Stuff you don’t want to do as part of your franchise due diligence but have to anyway.”
I want you to find unhappy franchisees. Ones that aren’t making money. Ones that may be angry with the franchisor.
If you want to know how crucial this is to do, read this post on finding unhappy franchisees. It’s one of the most-read articles I’ve ever written.
12. What not to do.
Sometimes, you need to learn what not to do as you hunker down to do your franchise research.
I received a phone call-out of the blue…from a couple in Arizona I believe, and it’s one of the most memorable calls I’ve ever had.
This couple called me because they were hours…yes, hours away from signing a franchise agreement, and they had a couple of questions for me.
I answered them, but probably not in the way they expected I would. Read about our little exchange, as it’s a fine example of what you should never do when you buy a franchise.
Use all of my franchise research tips to lower your risk and to increase your chances of success as a franchise owner.
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