Sylvan Franchise Blog

When Buying a Franchise, Don’t Settle For Average

Posted by Nick Powills on Aug 5, 2014

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Sylvan has asked Nick Powills, CFE, and founder of No Limit Agency to contribute to our Sylvan Franchise Blog by sharing his experience as a business owner and franchise industry expert.  

In today’s franchising world, brands share Item 19 (the earnings claim) to help influence and inform your decision to become a franchise owner. These numbers are quite often the average -– a number that dictates the average unit volume that the stores within that set perform. What this number doesn’t tell you is how well you will perform. Performance is much more than average unit volume, it is more about your desire to be the greatest.

When I think about the word average – I think just that, middle of the pack. When making the decision to become a franchisee, don’t do it to be average, do it to be the best. And don’t rely too heavily on numbers, because they are just that.

Do you think Hank Aaron stopped believing he could break Babe Ruth’s career homerun record? Of course not. Do you think a rookie NBA player doesn’t stop dreaming of surpassing Michael Jordan as the greatest? Of course not. Numbers are just numbers and should never be what you hedge your bet against.

When deciding if a franchise is right for you, look at several key points:

  1. Am I emotionally bonded to this brand? If you don’t have passion for what you are going to be doing next, don’t do it. You can’t be great when doing something you don’t love. You must believe in the product.
  2. Can I open within a market I would enjoy operating a unit in, and if it’s sold out, would I be comfortable operating a business in a surrounding available market? You must love your community, as they will be the ones that ultimately impact your personal bottom line.
  3. Do I believe in the leadership of the company and are they growth focused? This is critical, no matter what stage the brand is at. You want to believe in the leaders who will be fostering the process you will end up following.
A lot of the personal answers you desire can be found while performing your due diligence and talking with existing operators. If you choose (and it’s OK if you do) to talk with former owners, ask them what they could have done differently to have been more successful—not what the franchisor could have done differently.

Becoming a franchise owner is not as easy as snapping your fingers, magically having a store and customers. Just like anything else that is great in life, it takes hard work, effort, and then, more hard work. Average results when 'great' is a word left out of your business plan.

The beauty of buying a franchise is that much of the guesswork is removed for you. You are not guessing what color and shape the logo should be. You are not guessing what type of marketing efforts net the best results. You are not guessing on best practices for providing best in class service to your customer base. You are buying a franchise because the structure, the system, the process and the planning have already been created for you. With that system in place, it’s up to you how much you follow it. Follow the structure that produced a great brand and you will probably be great. If you want to put on your entrepreneurial hat and change what has already been written, you are probably better off doing it on your own.

When buying a franchise, don’t settle for average. While you will be following a proven system, extending your hand and building relationships within your local market is up to you – that will ultimately drive more sales and referrals for your business.

Topics: Franchisee Resources