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Exploring a franchise opportunity? Don't miss these pitfalls to avoid.

Career Exploration

So you are interested in owning a franchise and you are going down the path of business ownership. Before you get the cart before the horse, take a look at these common pitfalls to avoid.

Pitfall # 1 - Not being ‘All-In’
When exploring a franchise opportunity, you need to be honest and ask yourself if you are committed to the learning process. This means being engaged in conversation and ready to do your due diligence; translation, this is work and you should to be ready to do your part to learn all you can to understand the business opportunity. In a way, you asked for this when you said you were fed up making money for someone else and you were eager to be your own boss. What, did you think going into business for yourself was going to be easy? No, it’s not easy, but the rewards of getting a business up and running and seeing success will be sweeter than you can possibly imagine. To get to that point, you have to put in the work up front and be dedicated to the learning process.

Pitfall # 2 - Not showing up on time for your set appointments
Yes, believe it or not this is key and yes, I do need to mention this. The way you participate in the initial discussions says everything about you. If you are late for the appointment, what’s to say you are going to be early for that ‘all important’ meeting with a customer, with a president, with a franchisee? If you are late, it shows a lack of discipline and also a lack of respect for someone else’s time. This does not reflect too positively on you and the way you conduct yourself. To avoid this pitfall, I suggest that you plan on being a few minutes early to every call. Don't miss an easy opportunity to make a great impression.

Pitfall # 3 - Not eliminating the background noise
Your initial discussions with a franchise are a great time for you to learn about the business, the process, and the people you are going to be working with. Most of this interaction will take place over the phone and/or a webinar, so you need to be prepared to be at your best.
Nothing says you are ‘half-in’ more than a seatbelt alert going off as you get into your car just as the discussion starts. Equally as impressive is the background distractions of a barking dog, meowing cat, or your order being called out at Starbucks. Take the time to be in a quiet place. A home office or a conference room is ideal. A quiet setting will allow you to focus on the message being delivered to you.

Pitfall # 4 - Not understanding the technology
As great as technology is at keeping us more productive and more informed than ever, it still can bite us at the most inopportune time and send us scrambling. If you have a meeting scheduled with a franchise, understand the technology that is going to be used. Is the first meeting going to be a webinar? If so, you probably should think about being in an office using a laptop, desktop computer, or a tablet. Trying to use your iPhone to view a webinar and speak on the phone at the same time is not a balancing act I would suggest. Webinar tools vary (WebEx, GoToMeeting, LogMeIn, FreeConferenceCall, etc.) and many of these tools require plug-ins that generally install for you with a few easy prompts, but it still takes time for this to happen. If the meeting starts at 2:00, don’t wait until 2:00 to make a call and access the meeting. Call and 'connect in' 15 minutes early to avoid technology snafus. You want to be laser focused and ready to rock and roll!

Pitfall # 5 - Not researching the company
Ok, this seems like an obvious pitfall to avoid, but you would be surprised how unprepared a potential franchisee can be going into a meeting. A franchisor will often ask… Why us? Or tell me what you know about us? You should already have your answer going into the meeting and it needs to feel genuine. If you don't have a decent reason/answer, then that will be a red flag to the franchisor and it should be a red flag to you because it shows that you are not 'All-In'. Think deep into why you are looking into this opportunity and how it fits with your goals. Once you do this, you will either figure out this was not the right fit from the beginning or you will realize that the opportunity is a good one and will naturally want to know more about the the opportunity.

Pitfall # 6 – Not going into the meeting with a goal in mind
Go into the meeting with a goal in mind of what you would like to do with your business in year 1, year 3, or even year 5. That goal can be a revenue goal, it can be a goal of hiring 100 employees, it can be the goal of getting business actively involved in the local community, or one of a hundred other goals. This shows a vision that franchisors love to hear. If your goal is to make 100K in salary by the second year and have a net income in the business of 15%, be bold and state it! Your goals cannot be ‘spur of the moment’ and weak. If they are, then you fail. Your goals should be genuine. If the company strikes a cord with you, then it will be very easy to avoid this pitfall because you will be excited to set initial goals to achieve with your new business.

Pitfall # 7 – Not reading material the franchise provides to you
Many of us in our early days were quite creative with our excuses of not doing homework. The dog ate it, it got rained on, it must have gotten thrown out with my dad's paper, or I lost it. Excuses make you look bad. If you have an assignment to read or a video to view that the franchise has shared and asked you to review before your call, then do your part and read or view the video. When you do this it shows that you are engaged and want to learn more. If you do not do your homework, it shows that you are not interested which will surely lead to a dead-end for you and for the franchise.

Final Thoughts
Exploring a franchise opportunity should be a very exciting time because it means that you are on a path of freedom to do your own thing. This process involves many touch-points that require your full attention to detail. This process is also a ‘feeling out’ period where the franchise is learning just as much about you as you are learning about them. Franchises are very selective, and they should be, with awarding their opportunities. Franchising is a terrific growth strategy and they want individuals who can help to grow their brand. With this in mind, stay focused, engaged, and inquisitive throughout the process so that you can learn if the business opportunity is in fact the right opportunity for you.

               Remember, franchising is a great way to achieve financial independence

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