How to Evaluate and Select a Franchise

Today’s guest post is by Jeff Levy. Levy is a nationally recognized consultant and coach to individuals interested in exploring self-employment. Jeff shares from his wealth of business experience as a founding member of Windswept Capital, President and COO of Spider Staging Corporation, an officer at Flow International, and Executive VP and principal of SafeWorks LLC.

As a business coach, Jeff has helped several hundred people begin their first business. He serves on several college entrepreneurial advisory boards and is a regular guest speaker at SCORE and the Women’s Business Center. He is also the co-author of Making the Jump Into Small Business Ownership.

Levy has led a number of small business seminars with the Library, and we are thrilled to host him again for two exciting business seminars in October and November:

Your Business – Start Smart: October 11, 6-8 pm, Rainier Beach Branch
Your Business – Franchise Smart
: November 8, 6-8 pm, Delridge Branch

For additional information about franchising, see our resource list: L2B: Franchising.









Think for a moment that you have had a 20-year career in a particular industry, with perhaps job changes two or three times. Think about how many people you might know that actually get to a retirement age. Likely a small number, as retirement parties are like phone booths, almost nonexistent. In our new career economy, we are faced with the fact that as we get older our job security becomes less certain. So what can you do to protect yourself, and is franchising a viable answer?

From my experience of coaching hundreds of people, the strong suggestion I have is to begin developing a list of those things that are most important to you. That would include:

  • Your income and return on investment goals.
  • What are your gifts and applicable skills to a business?
  • Would your family participate with you?
  • What is the optimum relationship between you and the work that you might be doing?

Most people will go directly to a business they find interesting. The potential problem with that begs the question: Are you basing your interest from your perspective as a consumer or on unsubstantiated perceptions of a market, not necessarily understanding what is required to be successful at that particular business? Does it align with your goals, needs, and expectations?

After 15 years of talking to people who are considering franchising and who have actually moved in that direction, my observation is it those who have developed a good picture of the expected outcome increase their chances of success. Those people are using the franchise has a vehicle to achieve important goals in their life. There is no perfect business, only those that you make perfect by achieving your goals.

I can’t diminish the importance of properly evaluating the franchise, and there are definitely best practices that need to be followed. One best practice is to make sure that no one tries to sell you on a business.

You should have reasonable and thoughtful discussions with a representative of the franchise who will help you understand the profile of the kind of person they are looking for. They will evaluate your financial appropriateness for the business and how your skills and motivations align with their goals. This may take two months plus of time. You also are entitled to review the franchise disclosure document, which should give you significant information and encourages you to call existing franchises to best understand what their actual experience has been.

In closing, matching with a franchise is not only about finding a good business, but about finding a business that is good for you.

~ posted by Jeff Levy

Also read: Freedom through Franchising

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