When examining whether a franchise opportunity is a good fit for you, insights gained from validation are invaluable. Interviewing existing franchisees will help you gain perspective on how the systems and culture of the franchise actually play out and if the franchisor is delivering on its value proposition. It will also help you set expectations as you move forward.
U.S. Lawns is committed to 100% franchise satisfaction and we believe that starts with you finding the business model that best aligns with you. Therefore, we want to provide you with all the information needed to make your most educated decision. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your validation process to give you the information you need to make the decision that is right for you:
- Before you make your first call, you should identify your investment and lifestyle goals. Define your why. Why are you considering franchising in the first place? Is it all financial, or are you also looking for more freedom and flexibility? With the end in mind, you can ask questions that will help you determine if the business model will help you achieve those.
- As you begin to compile your list of franchisees to interview, be sure to include a representative sample of franchisees. You will want to speak to multiple franchisees in various stages of growth and in markets that are similar to yours. Don’t just hone in on the network’s top performers either. A lot can be learned by talking those that may be struggling and comparing their relative lack of success to their peers. While you are genuinely able to contact any franchise you wise, your brand representative can help you identify franchisees that fit your criteria, help establish contact and offer guidance as you make your list.
- Remember to be respectful of the franchisee’s time. These are busy business owners, and while they are generally happy to help (remember, they were once in your shoes), they also have their own schedules to be mindful of. Prepare a list of questions and then prioritize those questions in case you run out of time.
- While asking about the advantages and benefits of the business model, you should also ask about the challenges and struggles they have experienced. Many times, franchisees struggle when they are not adhering to the system. Insights into how they overcame those struggles may help you avoid similar pitfalls. Decide for yourself if these are things you would be able to personally overcome.
- While franchisors are limited in what they are legally allowed to discuss in terms of financial performance, franchisees are not bound by the same limitations. Of course, you still need to be very respectful in the way you approach these conversations. While no one likes to be asked direct questions about their income, you can gain insights that will help you fill in the gaps in your own projections by asking strategic questions about their operation.
Validation gives you an honest look inside a franchise system. It can help you determine overall franchisee satisfaction and whether the franchisor is delivering on promised support. Keep in mind that support systems often change over time and more tenured franchisees may have had different experiences than you will. Your goal is to talk to as many franchisees as necessary to determine if the franchisor offers a viable and successful business opportunity and whether that opportunity is a fit for your personal goals and objectives.