"What is the best franchise to buy?" This is the most common question I’m asked; followed closely by “What is the hottest franchise?” Or, “What franchise should I buy?” That would be a great question – if it wasn't the wrong question. The simple truth is, there is no such thing as a “best franchise.” But there might be a franchise that is best for you. Just as each person is different, so is each franchise. The franchise that is a perfect fit for Joe might be completely wrong for Jane. Because, most likely, Joe and Jane are different from each other. There are many franchises where the primary role of the owner is to manage key employees. McDonald's comes to mind. Some of the key tasks for the McDonald's owner are to hire and manage the store managers. To be successful, the owner must be willing to work closely with a few key managers, to train, and develop them. It’s also helpful if this owner is good at watching the many, many details that have a big impact on a McDonald's, such as inventory levels or wastage. But not every franchise is like that. Some have very few employees, and maybe no inventory. You might never have heard of 101 Mobility, but it’s a leading edge company in the field of home modifications such as stair lifts or wheel chair ramps for people who have become disabled. This franchise requires only a handful of employees. The owner’s role is to develop relationships with key referral sources, and to ensure proper delivery and installation of the needs modifications. These are both excellent franchises. But the person who would make a great McDonald's franchisee has very different skills from the person who would be successful owning 101 Mobility. There are other considerations, too. Don’t only think about what your skills are, but also what you like to do. I recently worked with a man, Mario, who had spent 25 years selling restaurant equipment and managing restaurant equipment salespeople. If I never asked him about his preferences, he would have looked only at franchises where the owner’s role would be to sell. But as I questioned him, this man explained he had grown tired of selling. He had done enough of that. He was ready for a new challenge. In the business he eventually started, Mario was not at all involved with sales. Because he was able to enthusiastically tackle his new, non-sales, responsibilities, Mario has built a large, successful work-place drug testing business. What other criteria should you consider for a franchise? We suggest our clients think about: What kind of a work schedule do you want? Business hours only? Or are you happy to work nights and weekends? Your investment budget is an important factor. How much do you want to invest? Think hard on this one – you don’t want to lie awake at night regretting too large of an investment. Are you comfortable delegating to others? Not everyone is. There are many factors to consider in deciding what franchise might be right for you. Do your research, give close thought, and don’t be impulsive. There is no such thing as a “best franchise.” But if you do your homework, you just might find the best franchise for you.
July 10, 2013