In the new Netflix show Frankie and Grace, Frankie explains how she and her husband decided to say yes to everything one night and ended up buying a Del Taco franchise.
“How did that happen?” her friend Grace asks.
“Someone asked us, ‘You wanna buy a Del Taco franchise?'” explains Frankie, and Grace joins her saying, “So we said yes.”
That’s not how buying a franchise works. Even if you know exactly which franchise opportunity is right for you, you can’t buy it the way you’d buy a pair of shoes. And for most franchisees, there’s a period of shopping around before an investment is made.
AmericasBestFranchises.com lets you search for franchises in several different ways. You can look by industry, because many people know that they’re excited about a wellness franchise business or an automotive franchise, and they want to make sure that they choose the right one among those options. You can also search by investment, since it’s important to meet the financial requirements of your chosen franchise. You can search by region, too, since many franchises have geographic limits on availability.
Chances are, there will be a number of franchise business opportunities that will appeal to you. You’ll create a list and we’ll send you information, and that’s when your real research begins. Think of all the research you’ll need to undertake:
- Talk with current franchisees.
- Check the Franchise Disclosure Document.
- Examine the franchise’s marketing arrangements.
- Look at the franchise’s track record.
- Find out about any lawsuits the franchise has dealt with.
- Examine any bad press, and how the franchise handled it.
- Think about your own needs and wants.
- Consider how the franchise will affect your family.
And that’s just the beginning. As you go through the decision making process, many more questions and source of information will arise.
How will you organize the data you gather?
At its simplest, you want to be able to remember whether it was Franchise A or Franchise B that turned out to have a clause in the Franchise Disclosure Document that made you uncomfortable. You want to know which franchisee gave you all that info about their costs, do you can check out their franchise and see whether it looks like they spent wisely. You need to be able to look back at the numbers and compare accurately when you get down to the finalists in your search.
But keeping good records of your research also allows you to make accurate comparisons among various options, because you can make sure that you ask all the same questions and track all the same numbers.
So how can you keep track of all the data you amass during your search?
- A spreadsheet. Go old school and make a chart or an Excel workbook, or create a spreadsheet in Google Drive. If you’re comfortable with spreadsheets, this is probably your best choice. As you identify additional facts, set them up in a chart and fill it in for all the opportunities you’re exploring.
- Use Evernote or a similar app to keep all your notes and links and photos together, no matter where you are and what device you’re using. Once you feel that you’ve collected enough information, take time to analyze what you’ve learned.
- Use a data visualization tool to make the data easier to grasp. That can mean creating charts in Excel or curating a Pinterest board — graphic data tools can make information more meaningful to right brain types.
Whichever tools work best for you, use them from the beginning to capture all the data. That will make it easier to sort everything out in the end.