Franchise Development: 3 Lessons in Franchisee Recruitment

For emerging or new franchisors, you know that franchising is an appealing option for budding entrepreneurs, as it can be a nice hybrid between buying an existing business and starting from scratch because the brand is established, the trademarks are secured, brochures and websites are designed, technology is provided and the model has been through hundreds of adaptations before it is even rolled out as a franchise. The old adage, 'In business for yourself, but not by yourself' comes to mind. But you're not looking for just anybody to buy into your business model. So how do you find the right people to run your franchises? Here are 3 important lessons I've learned along the way:
  1. Know what you're looking for. What skills do they need to have? What background do they need? What capitalization level do they need to be successful? It's easier to go identify who you're looking for and help build a successful sustainable franchise system doing it with a set of franchisees that have a similar set of values and have a capability for success
  2. Paint a clear picture of what the ownership experience will be. Make sure that you're delivering enough information that a franchise prospect really understands what they're getting into-- the good, the bad, and the ugly. Is it something that you need to work 60, 70, 80 hours a week for a couple of years to get it off the ground? Make sure they know that upfront. You don't want a franchisee getting in thinking they can put in 30 or 40 hours a week or be an absentee owner, and then you require something different. And how much does it cost? How do you make sure they're properly capitalized? Let them see exactly, what's a day in the life of the franchisee? What do they need to know to make a good decision?
  3. Establish a good sales process. I think a good sales process does two things - it helps a franchisee evaluate you and it also allows you to evaluate the franchisee. We build in homework into each stage, which helps our prospects to learn more about what they can expect on an in-depth level. But this exercise also tells us something. If they're not showing up for calls on time and they're not completing the homework that they were required to do, it might be a clear indication that, because they won't follow the homework before they're a franchisee, they likely won't follow our model later.
It may be harder to establish a good franchisee profile when you first start out. Ultimately, a good rule of thumb is to consider what made your company-owned business successful in the first place. Who made up the initial team for the company-owned store? What are the skills, passion, attitude, work ethic, capitalization of the founder? That's a great roadmap and a good profile to start from.