My thoughts on franchising reviews are way different than others in the franchise industry.
First off, they’re based on my 21+ years of experience in franchising.
And unfortunately, I’ve seen what’s happened to franchises like Quiznos, that grew too fast.
In addition, I’ve been able to observe, predict, study and write about the trends that shape franchising.
And because I was one of the first to create an online presence in the franchise and small business space, I have long-time relationships with people who share things with me. Things you need to know about.
Like things that can protect your pocketbook as you’re searching for that perfect franchise to own. And more. All of which I freely share here and on the social networks.
That said, you may not agree on how I look at franchise business reviews, and how I feel you should use them.
And that’s your choice.
About Franchising Reviews
These days, you can read reviews online about practically anything you can think of.
Because it’s difficult to tell if the reviews you read about franchise opportunities are real, paid, or have truly been written to help you become a smarter franchise buyer.
With that in mind, here are my thoughts on franchise business opportunity reviews.
My Thoughts On The Business Of Reviewing Franchises
To begin with, legitimate franchise reviews never involve money changing hands between the franchise company being reviewed and either the writer or the owner of the website where the review is published.
Secondly, I’m not a big believer in charts, spreadsheets, or rows and rows of numbers being presented as part of a franchise review. Why?
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Because in most cases, all of the things I just mentioned tend to take aspiring franchise owners to places they don’t need to go. The end result?
They don’t end up buying a franchise, because they forgot to ask the right questions…of themselves and the franchisees they talked to.
Update From The FTC
Recently, the FTC put out a request form for public comments concerning, “Websites or other organizations or devices that purportedly provide independent reviews or opinions of products or services but are in fact created and controlled by the companies offering the products or services.
With that in mind, I know of (at least) one franchise review website that would be seriously affected if new guidance comes out requiring more complete and honest disclosures underneath all of the positive reviews written by franchisees.
My Advice On The Franchise Business Numbers
Don’t make it all about the numbers. Or about some of the other minute details that seem important now, but won’t matter when you’re a franchisee.
However, the numbers are important. Just don’t spend the majority of your research time looking at them over and over again. Instead, get on the phone and call a lot of franchisees. That way, you’ll get to know the human side of the business. The things they experience day in and day out as business owners.
Plus, you’ll want to ask them what they think of the franchise company, and if they’d buy the franchise again.
Then see if the numbers make sense. And make sure to include them in your current and ongoing business plan.
Consider The Source
When you’re reading reviews of franchises you may want to own, it’s crucial to consider the source.
For instance, was the review written by someone with years of experience in franchising?
Or was the review written by a “writer?”
More specifically, someone who’s paid to write franchising reviews, but doesn’t have real-life franchise business experience. Haven’t thought of that, have you?
Another thing you need to look at is the actual website.
For instance, read the About Page so you can determine who owns it. And find out How the website makes money?
In addition, you need to be able to quickly see the required disclosures. They cannot be hidden. And if they are hidden, or worse, they don’t exist, it’s a huge red flag.
Finally, if you’re reading reviews that are said to be from franchisees, make sure you know if the franchise brand being reviewed by franchisees is part of a paid marketing program. Because if (magically) all the reviews by franchisees are good…
A question: why can’t you find reviews of franchise brands that have several unhappy franchisees on some of these “review” websites?
I think you know the answer.
Hint: it rhymes with honey.