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Potential franchise owners want to have as much information about a concept as possible prior to making a decision regarding licensing the brand.  As stated in my previous blog, franchisees are a great source of “front line” information regarding the franchise business that you are exploring.  Franchise concepts with a well defined recruiting process require you talk with some of their existing franchisees as you are nearing the end of the discovery process.  Franchise concepts with a less defined recruiting process may suggest you speak with their existing franchisees earlier in the discovery process, and may expect their franchisees to “sell the concept” for them.

Experienced franchise recruiters are respectful and protect their franchisee’s time and privacy.  Franchisees are very busy individuals as they build their businesses while maintaining the proper balance between work, family and other community activities.  Franchise recruiters want to ensure that their franchisees only spend time interacting with qualified candidates.  Often a password is utilized to signal franchisees that you have reached an important milestone in the qualification process, and the franchisee will speak more candidly with you.

No franchisee is obligated to talk to you. If they do so, it is strictly voluntary. If you are awarded the franchise, in the future, potential franchisees will be calling you, so please consider how you would want that conversation to be conducted as you call existing franchisees.  Please remember, the more pleasant you are, the more likely that they will be to talk to you.  Please understand, as you prepare for these calls, franchisees are not required to reveal their earnings to anyone. While they will want to help, human nature is to be relatively private when discussing income and earnings – especially to someone that they have never met before.

Having your questions formulated is key to having a productive validation call.  Consider the following guidelines:

  • Validation provides an opportunity for existing franchisees to meet and evaluate you as a potential franchisee. Franchisors will seek feedback from their franchisees so please make sure these conversations reflect you at your best.
  • Please respect their time and keep the conversations to a length of approximately 15-20 minutes. In order to address the points that matter most to you, please keep your list organized and in order.
  • Ask questions that build on the knowledge that you have already learned in the discovery process.
  • You should avoid questions about the Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) and Franchise Agreement. While these are very critical documents, most franchise owners will not remember the content as the FDD typically collects dust on a shelf after operations are launched.

As you see from the guidelines, beginning the validation process prematurely may be detrimental and unproductive for both you and the franchisee.   The vast majority of  franchisees will be willing to schedule a time to talk with you, but they are very busy managing their businesses.  Work with your franchise recruiter to ensure this process is handled properly.  Your recruiter should have some basic guidelines and information that will take you through the process and make it both informative and enjoyable.

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Have you considered or are you embarking on the path of franchising?  As franchise candidates move through the process of selecting the right concept for their endeavor, often they request, or are required by the franchisor, to speak with Franchisees for the “validation” process.

Franchisees are a great source of “front line” information regarding the franchise business that you are exploring.  As you are considering which franchisees you would like to speak with, do a little soul searching, be realistic with yourself and determine what you truly want to learn from these people.

Pessimists are typically looking for Franchisees that are struggling or who have failed in the past.  Are they looking for reasons not to enter the business, or perhaps they are looking for guidance that will keep them from making the same mistakes.  By doing this, they are aligning themselves with underachievers.  Human nature for underachievers is to look for some one or some thing to blame for their under performance, and typically aren’t following the systems of the franchise.

Optimists are typically looking for mid level to top performers.   The optimist is looking for secrets of success and is looking to mimic the results of the successful.  They want to align themselves with people of similar traits and characteristics.  They are looking for a mentor, a wise and trusted counselor or teacher who will help them rise to success.  Successful Franchisees are proud of their accomplishments, are leaders in the franchise community, and typically have a proven track record of following the systems of the franchise to top.

Franchisors should encourage you to speak with a wide range of individuals in their system so that you are truly validating the business.  Keep in mind however, establishing rapport with top performers early in the process of franchising may allow the opportunity for a mentoring relationship that can help you to be successful.

Recently, I was interviewed by Tom Franz, the Franchise Mentor, on his “Be Your Own Boss” radio show.  We discussed franchising as a vehicle for to be your own boss.  Franchising can be a great way for individuals to pursue a transition in their careers, to take control of their own destiny, and to pursue their business, career and lifestyle objectives through franchise ownership. 

As president of Outdoor Living Brands, I have literally seen dozens and dozens of examples of our franchisees – Archadeck, Outdoor Lighting Perspectives, and Modquito Squad – turn to franchising as the way to take control of their careers and financial futures by investing in a franchise in pursuit of their personal wealth, income and lifestyle goals. 

According to research sponsored by the International Franchise Association,  franchise businesses are up to three times more likely to be successful compared to similar independent businesses.  Over the last twenty year, the franchise industry has experienced exponential growth.  A tremendous number of new franchise businesses have been launched in the last five years alone and there are now over three quarters of a million franchise units driving tremendous job creation across our economy.

If you are thinking about a change in your career and you want to play a part in this growth, consider franchising and consider one of our franchise brands.  While you do, take a look at part of the taping of my recent radio interview on YouTube!

I am delighted to announce that Outdoor Living Brands is participating in the upcoming “Franchising in Virginia – 2010” event in conjunction with our local CBS affiliate (WRTV CBS-6 in Richmond, Virginia) and FranNet.  

The emphasis of this event is to educate business people about franchising as a path to business ownership and taking direct control over their careers.  In addition, selected franchise brands that have continued to grow despite the challenging economic climate of 2009 will be highlighted.  The event will be held on Tuesday, February 23 from 8:30am – Noon at the Sheraton Richmond West Hotel located at 6624 Broad Street, Richmond, VA 23230.  Admission is free.

I will be giving a presentation on Outdoor Living Brands and our three, industry leading franchise brands – Archadeck, Outdoor Lighting Perspectives and Mosquito Squad.  I look forward to seeing you there!

Recently, I filmed several videos to post on YouTube and my company’s website about Outdoor Living Brands and our franchise modelsArchadeck, Outdoor Lighting Perspectives and Mosquito Squad.   These videos help to describe franchising (hopefully with one of our brands!) as a vehicle for individuals seeking to become their own boss and pursue various personal, lifestyle, business and career goals. 

As researched by the International Franchise Association, franchise businesses enjoy success rates up to three times those of independent businesses.  So, if you are considering getting into business for yourself or if you are tired of the corporate rat race, then consider franchising as a way to take control of your own destiny and increase your chances of success!

While many of us our thinking about football with the recent kickoff of the NFL playoffs, at Outdoor Living Brands we are kicking off the year with the Annual Conventions for the Outdoor Lighting Perspectives and then the Archadeck franchise system in Amelia Island, Florida next week.  We hold the Annual Convention for our third brand, Mosquito Squad, later in February.

I look forward to seeing all of our franchisees!  We have great meetings planned for each franchise system to help our franchise owners start strong in 2010.  If you have been thinking about kicking off a change in your life and career, consider franchising as a vehicle to pursue your personal, business and career goals.  I look forward to seeing you at our 2011 Annual Conventions!

Fewer than half of U.S. workers are satisfied with their jobs, the lowest level since record-keeping began 22 years ago, said a report released on January 5, 2010.  What are people waiting for?  Franchising is the vehicle for people to make the changes in their careers and in their lives!

As published on CNN.com today:

The Conference Board’s survey polled 5,000 households, and found that only 45% were satisfied in their jobs. That’s down from 61.1% in 1987, the first year the survey was conducted.

Even though one in 10 Americans is out of a job, those who are employed are increasingly dissatisfied.

“Through both economic boom and bust during the past two decades, our job satisfaction numbers have shown a consistent downward trend,” said Lynn Franco, director of the Consumer Research Center of The Conference Board, in a prepared statement.

“[That] could spell trouble for the overall engagement of U.S. employees and ultimately employee productivity,” she added.

The report notes that job satisfaction has steadily declined over the years despite big improvements in the work environment, such as a reduction of workplace hazards and an increase in vacation days.

The drop in satisfaction over the past 22 years spans various aspects of employee life, including interest in work (down 18.9 percentage points) and job security (down 17.5 percentage points).  And employee satisfaction dipped across the board; workers in every age group and income levels showed a drop, but workers younger than 25 were the most unhappy in their jobs.

Almost one-quarter of respondents said they didn’t expect to be at their current jobs within a year. 

Again, with all of this dissatisfaction, I believe 2010 will be a strong year for franchise recruiting.  The economy is starting to recover which offers the perfect backdrop to launch a new franchise business.  If you are one of those 55% that is unhappy with your current job, what are you waiting for?

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