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How Not to Choose a Franchise

Some of the clients I work with are very headstrong. They have their ideas. They know what does and does not work. They do not want to be distracted by facts. So they jump to conclusions. One client felt the way to have a successful business was to appeal to as broad a range of customers as possible. He came up with his own mantra “I want to accommodate, not exclude.” Any business he considered was rejected if it didn’t fit with this notion. To him, this made sense, and it does seem logical: Why not appeal to as many customers as possible? One reason not to is maybe it dilutes your ability to focus. After all, McDonald’s doesn’t appeal to people interested in fine dining. Another myth to bust is a great franchise should be in a business segment with little competition. Each year, Entrepreneur Magazine publishes a list of top franchises. Their top 25 includes four fast food businesses and three convenience stores. I don’t know about your town, but in mine it seems like there is a fast food business at every busy intersection, and a convenience store at half the gas stations. If there isn’t too much competition in fast food or in convenience stores, then maybe competition is not necessarily to be feared. Maybe it just means there is a lot of demand for this service. Sometimes people reflexively want to reject a business with certain types of employees. Many times I’ve heard “You can’t succeed in a business with unskilled employees. They just aren’t reliable.” That hasn’t stopped McDonald’s though, has it? I’ve also heard exactly the opposite: “You can’t succeed in a business that requires highly paid employees.” My point is not to claim that a tight focus or high competition is nothing to worry about. Those are examples of things any sensible person should worry about. But worrying does not mean that you assume the business is a bad one. It just means you need to do some research to find out just how good the business is. Only a fool would ever assume a franchise is good, and invest without doing research. It is just as bad of an idea to assume a franchise is a poor opportunity without doing research.

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