A phrase we live by at Franchise Sidekick is “live life on your own terms”. Our Franchise Advisors are franchisees themselves and continue to work in the franchising industry because it makes this statement a reality.
We wouldn’t be trustworthy sidekicks, however, if we pretended like there were zero downsides to franchising. Even Superman had his kryptonite. As Advisors, our job is to be completely transparent about each brand, and if franchising is truly a fit for our clients.
We’ve put together our list of pros and cons when considering buying a franchise. We hope this serves as a guide for aspiring business owners who aren’t quite sure which path to take.
Proven Processes & Systems in Place
Entrepreneurship paired with proven processes is the beauty of franchising. When you really dive into everything provided to franchisees in a strong brand, they’re handed systems that typically make or break a business. Customer acquisition models, sales support, marketing, technology, recruiting and training: these are all processes that take businesses years to develop and strengthen, that are given to franchisees on day one.
Strong Teams to Support You
During the process of finding your best franchise fit, it’s important to remember the network of people you’re buying into. In a strong franchise brand, the franchisor will be deeply involved in franchisee success. They want to see their owners thrive, and will set up support systems to make sure their Zees are prosperous.
Not only will you have a corporate team supporting you, but also an incredible network of other franchisees. Sure, there will always be some friendly competition, but at the end of the day, you are all one brand with the same mission. We’ve seen some powerful partnerships come from franchisee to franchisee relationships. These relationships could open up countless other opportunities outside of franchising. In fact, two of our founding Franchise Sidekick team members created this type of partnership, and continue to work together today to help set up clients to become successful franchisees.
High ROI with Proven Financials
All aspiring business owners know you can have an incredible concept, but still not make money. The great thing about franchising is that every brand’s FDD has an Item 19, which is reevaluated every year based on franchisee revenue. The more detailed an Item 19, the better idea a future franchisee has of their expected ROI. Great franchise brands will have strong numbers reported in their Item 19, so you’ll have a pretty solid idea of how much money you’ll make before you invest.
Investing in an emerging franchise brand has remarkable benefits. An emerging brand is a successful franchise that already has a proven model, but hasn’t yet reached its growth potential. Imagine investing in a Jimmy John’s franchise when they only had 5 locations. You’d have access to all the best territories, lower franchise fees, and would be closer to the founding team, allowing you more influence on the brand’s vision.
Franchising also gives you the ability to grow at your own pace, whether you’re looking to start small or expand rapidly. You also have the option to purchase multiple complementary franchise brands, for example buying multiple home service brands. This allows you to leverage the same employees, warehouses, equipment, customer relationships, etc., and expand more rapidly.
Many of our clients are looking for a franchise concept that doesn’t require a huge chunk of their time. Our brand portfolio at Franchise Sidekick includes concepts with the ability to “manage the manager”. Essentially your job as the franchisee is to invest as little as 10-15 hours per week managing your key players, who handle the day-to-day operations for you. This allows many clients the ability to keep their 9-5 job, operate their franchise as a side business, or just have more free time to do what they love!
Limited Creative Freedom
Of course, proven processes and systems come with limitations. Buying into an established franchise is going to be much more rigid than investing in a brand new business. If you’re an entrepreneur who wants complete creative control, and likes to build something from scratch, franchising may not be for you.
If you’re looking for more of a balance, to have creative liberties while still working within a proven structure, emerging franchise brands are the perfect option. We mentioned all the pros of an emerging brand above, as there is room for insane growth. You also have more of an opportunity to work closely with the franchisor and corporate team, and in some cases may be able to help them shape the brand.
With any business, there will always be risk involved. Even though franchising with a strong brand significantly reduces that risk, life never comes with guarantees. The biggest risk with franchising is finding the right brand. There are over 4,000 concepts in America, with an average of about 300 companies beginning to franchise each year. Many of these brands think they can take on their entire franchise business themselves, and are ill-prepared for becoming a successful franchise system. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you’re finding the right brand and working with the right team throughout the buying process.
There are lots of people out there trying to sell you a franchise, so it can be difficult to know who to trust. Doing a quick Google search of franchises can send you down a rabbit hole of incorrect data, inflated numbers, and even people trying to scam you. When you start the franchise buying process, make sure you’re working with reputable companies with experience and proven success. That's why working with a franchise advisor can be so important. They know how to avoid landmines and help make sure you fully understand the process before investing any money.
The reality of owning any business is that there will always be pros and cons, no matter how successful you are. Finding the perfect franchise fit means you’ll take on some problems or imperfections because the payoff will be well worth it. We’ve seen franchising explode for this reason, with a new wave of successful franchises emerging from unexpected industries. Big investors are discovering this incredible growth potential, and are beginning to utilize franchises as an investment tool. The franchise industry continued to expand in 2020 amidst shutdowns, and grew by over 16%, with nearly $788 billion in output.
Franchising has opened doors for our Sidekick clients that they never thought possible. They’re able to live life on their own terms, which is our end goal for every future franchisee.