Franchises Aren’t Perfect – Know What to Look for

Written and Sourced From

Sabrina Wall, CEO May 21, 2020

I was working with one prospective franchise owner- let’s call her Eve. I gave her questions to ask the franchise sales representative.  We were trying to understand what life-after the franchise sale was going to look like.  Some of the franchise rep’s answers were strange to me regarding the real estate and buildout.  Having built out over 23 locations, this wasn’t my first rodeo.  I knew something was off.  

I asked Eve to talk to an expert in commercial real estate construction and she responded, “I’m going to do what the franchise says.  I’m going to use their vendors and follow their process. They already have the best real estate groups. I don’t need to talk to him.”  

Of course, we want that too, but there was something not right about the information the franchise rep was giving her.  I pushed a little harder, “I really think you need to talk to a construction manager about this”.  Eve agreed-eventually and we found out the original instruction was not complete.  The construction manager explained the missing components.  The franchisor then fixed what they were communicating.  Then Eve and the franchise were able to enter into their agreement from a more equitable starting point.  

I think about that story often because Eve’s belief in the franchisor to know- everything, was so profound.  It was idealistic and pure intentioned, but it was unrealistic.  However, through good questioning and collaboration, we were able to get a better outcome for her.  

I think most people are that way.  They have a picture of franchise systems where the franchise is complete- finished – perfect.  They think it’s perfect in every way and if they just follow the system all good things will happen.  Well, my real world experience tells me differently.  It’s simply more complex than that.  

Franchises are complex business ecosystems

You see, franchises are their own unique business ecosystems.  In every ecosystem, there is collaboration between every piece for the continued survival of the majority.  There are moments of victory for some and losses for others.  Within the franchise, there are high performers, average performers and low performers.  And in good ecosystems certain populations thrive and are abundant.  

If a new franchise buyer is looking at this ecosystem, they have to look to find where they will thrive.  Which ecosystem will make them the top performers?  To find that, they can’t just look at the outer shell where everything looks peaceful and beautiful.  They need to dig under the surface to see the full story. 

Look for an honest picture not a perfect picture

But before you look at the whole picture, we want to set your expectations.  Eve was expecting perfection in that franchise ecosystem.  She was taking an optimistic view to the point of harming herself.  It’s much better to focus on an honest picture where you and your partners (the franchise) work together toward something good for you- as opposed to perfect.  

Every franchise is extremely different in the system it will offer.  Two franchises doing the exact same thing can have completely different business models.  That means their profitability is different, the work for the owner is different, all their processes are different.  There’s a lot of – different.  This is one of the reasons why it is so hard for franchise buyers to select the right franchise.  And, it’s the main reason why good franchise brokers are an important part of this process.  

You need a good map and a good guide to find the ideal franchise

Think of a map to go from destination A to destination B.  Destination A is where you are today and destination B is where you want to be in 5-10 years.  There are many paths you can take to get to destination B.  Some paths are faster but more dangerous.  Other paths are longer and lower risk.  You can take both paths successfully if you plan and prepare properly.  You need the right equipment and the right team.  You need to know what to look for so you avoid the danger- while still having a great adventure.  

Franchise Grade is the industry resource which shows the franchise broker the map of what is going on inside the ecosystem of a franchise.  And good franchise brokers invest in the services they offer franchise buyers, like Franchise Grade.  Good brokers are trained to read those maps (grades).  They use these powerful tools to help educate their franchise buyers as to the opportunities, challenges and advantages of each path and the different franchise systems.  This is work good franchise brokers do every day.  They focus on bringing clear and truthful guidance to franchise opportunities.  

When franchise buyers find the right path and franchise ecosystem for them-   it is incredible to see what they can accomplish through franchising.    It’s so inspiring.  Remember, your franchise is meant to be the vehicle to get you to destination B, to create a life you dreamed of having, to build you as a business person, and push the limits of who you thought you could be   to who   you can actually be.  Franchise ownership can be a strategy to grow business wealth quickly and efficiently.  It can also be a nightmare if the buyers select the wrong franchise ecosystem.  No one can guarantee anything, but we can be diligent at using the right tools and the right team- upfront, to find the best paths for you.  That’s a pretty good way to ensure you pick the most beautiful and rewarding journey.

To be matched with a good franchise broker about finding your ideal franchise, contact us at or call 970.640.1804.

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