Some franchise investors have one franchise opportunity in mind from the beginning, but for many people, deciding on the perfect franchise business is a lengthy process. You might look at franchises in different fields, or companies that operate in different ways. You might look at multiple options before you decide on a specific industry, and then compare a number of different franchises within that industry to choose the best fit.
As you research your options, you’ll probably be looking at a lot of data about each business. As you narrow down the choices, you’ll be talking with current franchisees, discussing each serious contender with your lawyer, and looking at very specific data with plenty of numbers.
You could let it all swirl around in your head, trusting your subconscious to make the right choice, but we don’t recommend that.
Instead, you’ll need to come up with a way to keep track of all the information you gather. By recording each piece of information as it comes along, you’ll know which opportunity goes with which piece of data, you’ll see areas where you’ve missed collecting a piece of crucial information, and you’ll be able to see the bigger pictures.
How can you keep track of all that information? Here’s a wide range of options. No matter how you like to work with information, you’ll find an idea here:
- Spread sheets are the perfect choice for people who are comfortable with spreadsheets. If they are the first thing you thought of and you can’t imagine why anyone would choose anything else, they’re the right choice for you. On the other hand, if someone told you to use a spreadsheet and they give you a headache, know that there are other alternatives.
- Pinterest may be the perfect choice for a right-brained visual thinker. Set up a private board, and you can pin and write down all the data you collect, from images of the products to turnover rates to franchisee comments. The pictures you choose will help you find the information, and seeing everything clearly on one board (or one per franchise) will keep it straight in your mind.
- Stanford’s Data Wrangler is a free tool that lets you type in data, and then sorts it into patterns you might not notice on your own. Finish wrangling your data and you can download it into a spreadsheet or other data visualization tools.
- Public Tableau is a robust data visualization tool that lets you make visual images from your data, whatever that data may be. It might be too geeky for many, since it’s designed for Big Data, but you will certainly end up with new ways of looking at things.
- 3 x 5 cards or Post-It Notes can live in your pocket, on your cork board, or in a binder. Low-tech thinkers or hands-on people often work best with slips of paper. Color-coordinating data in this way can also be great for visual thinkers. Sort the information and move it around, or just stare at it while you think.
Every method has its fans, and each one will work. It’s all a matter of finding the right one for you… just like your search for a perfect franchise business.