One of the most important decisions you will make when franchising is finding the right Franchisee. To be successful as a Franchisor you must have successful Franchisees. The essential question then becomes how to select good Franchisees.
Step One: Determining criteria for a successful Franchisee.
What leads so many start-up franchising companies to a path of litigation is the mindset that they must sell to the first warm body that calls inquiring about their franchise.
I remember the lesson I learned from one of my first franchise cases. The Franchisor required the Franchisee to be heavily involved in selling and converting leads. When I deposed the dissident Franchisee, he had no previous sales experience, had no experience hiring sales people and hated cold calls or selling face to face. Obviously the franchising company had not done their homework. The chances of the Franchisee ever being successful were slim. Therefore, determine your criteria for a successful Franchisee from the very start.
Step Two: Qualifying prospective Franchisees. Key to successfully qualifying prospective Franchisees is building a chart containing each ingredient that makes up a successful Franchisee.
If you are an entrepreneur who founded the franchise company, you undoubtedly can look back on your experiences of what it took to make your prototype successful. But just as importantly, do you know what traits are needed to succeed as a Franchisee? Is the Franchisee value driven? What was his or her previous business experience? Was the Franchisee successful in that business? What kind of net worth does the prospect have to launch the franchise? Obviously a prospective Franchisee cannot be successful if he or she has to have 100% financing to open the doors to do business. It takes awhile before a Franchisee can net any money out of the business. As a result, it is critical that you determine a prospect’s work ethic. No matter how you try to glamorize franchising, it still takes good old fashioned hard work to be successful.
After developing the profile of what you believe the requirements are for a prospect to be successful, work with your key personnel to create protocols in your company for finding the type of prospect you know should be successful. I say “should”, because we all know what can go afoul sometimes does go afoul, no matter what safeguards we put in place.
Once you have established the profile for a prospect, you are ready for the final test. Successful Franchisors I have observed go one step beyond developing the template for an ideal Franchisee.
The Final Step: The interview process. Focus on whether the prospect is the type of person you want representing your company. What are their goals and objectives and perhaps as importantly, will the individual you choose actually follow your franchise system? There are any number of industry tests available to assist you, but you want to make sure the prospect is a team player and not someone who after two or three months in the system will want to do things their way. What a waste of resources when you fail to properly qualify an individual who should never have been in a franchise system to start with. Usually the end result is termination and/or litigation.
The criteria you establish should be designed to produce the best possible candidate to represent your company. Don’t ever forget that all your hard work to build the company’s name can go up in smoke with one bad Franchisee, so choose wisely.