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Archive for Thursday, April 1, 2010

Service businesses top prospect within franchise industry

Hillcrest School principal Tammy Becker hands off a box of cookies to Hillcrest second-grader Kristian Hall for McTeacher Night at McDonald’s, 1309 W. Sixth St., in this March 2009 file photo. Marilyn and Tom Dobski operate several restaurant franchises around Kansas, including McDonald’s.

Hillcrest School principal Tammy Becker hands off a box of cookies to Hillcrest second-grader Kristian Hall for McTeacher Night at McDonald’s, 1309 W. Sixth St., in this March 2009 file photo. Marilyn and Tom Dobski operate several restaurant franchises around Kansas, including McDonald’s.

April 1, 2010

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Is it for you?

Five questions to ask yourself before you get into franchising:

  1. What result do you want to accomplish in your life by owning a franchise?
  2. What is your financial condition? (Can you afford to do without a regular income during the startup phase of your new business?)
  3. How important is status to you? (Suppose you make big money but it’s in residential cleaning .. .are you OK with that?)
  4. Are you a team player? (It’s all about following someone else’s system.)
  5. Are you comfortable with the risks involved in becoming self- employed?

The American dream seldom accounts for a bad economy.

It’s times like these, however, when people begin to look closer at their jobs and opportunities.

For some, the dream of owning a business may seem out of reach considering the economic climate. For these people, one option that may deserve exploring is franchise ownership.

Owning a franchise involves entering into a partnership with a company that will train you to establish and run one of its outlets. The benefit, as compared to starting a business from the ground up, is that you won’t be entirely on your own.

Jeff Elgin is the founder and CEO of FranChoice, a franchise brokering company that helps match potential franchisees with companies that fit their needs. The fee-free service begins with an extensive questionnaire to narrow the options before putting you in touch with the companies that come out on top. From then on, what happens is all up to the applicant.

Services like this one can be an asset to first-time business owners. “We keep people from making expensive mistakes,” Elgin says. He’s careful to remind that nothing is guaranteed. “I’m a great advocate of owning your own business, if it’s the right decision. If it’s not, it can be a disaster.”

With the poor economy, fear and uncertainty among professionals is high, and for good reason. Compared to previous years, the financing marketplace can be difficult. According to Elgin, financing for new business startups could be hard to come by. With the market the way it is, people tend to go wherever there is the least risk. For many, the answer is in franchising.

Twenty-nine years ago Tom Dobski decided that he was interested in franchising. Since he first contacted McDonald’s, he’s established 13 restaurant franchises around Kansas. “It’s a great system. The best franchise to be a part of,” Dobski says.

When they were first getting started, Dobski and his wife enrolled in the owner/operator training program and were required to pass three classes. “Today it would take two to three years for someone to go through the application process as a register applicant in the McDonald’s system,” he said.

Neil Getzlow, communications supervisor for McDonald’s Heartland region, said the franchise selection process remains highly competitive and that many qualified applicants are rejected.

“We look for desired traits like integrity, character, prior successful business experience and entrepreneurial spirit,” Getzlow says.

Seeking opportunities

Other alternatives are available for prospective franchisees to familiarize themselves with their desired industry. “There are many franchise trade shows that people can attend and visit with different companies one-on-one,” Dobski says.

Deciding what franchise to choose can be difficult. Depending on the market size and area, some opportunities may not be available. There are certain trends that new franchisees fall into depending on the market. According to Elgin, “In the last 15 to 19 months it’s been 90 percent service businesses.”

The key in franchising and any other business venture is to be well informed before making any decisions.

Elgin suggests the potential franchisee talk to current owners and hear their experiences. If the stories make the prospect of owning a franchise appealing, it’s a good clue whether they’re ready for the commitment.

Comments

chocolateplease 4 years, 9 months ago

The potential problem I see with a company like FranChoice is that it receives fees from the franchising companies it "represents", meaning that unless they pay fees, they won't be among the franchises this company will suggest. Also, FranChoice in effect will be "selling" the franchise concept to the individual, given that they won't get paid unless a deal is struck. It may be that they'll find a good match for the person who is looking to buy a franchise, however, if there's anything about the match that might deter the person from choosing them, I wouldn't expect FranChoice to highlight it. Be careful, would-be franchise owners!

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