Part 7 of a 10-Part Series on the AAFD Road Map to Buying a Franchise.
In previous blog articles in this series, I’ve explained how important it is to do your homework before embarking on the search for your future franchise. I’ve provided some powerful lists of books and online resources that will get you on your way. However, there are many additional avenues of information that you shouldn’t overlook.
Here’s a list of franchise resources that you should definitely consider before Buying a Franchise:
There are plenty of franchise industry and business magazines that provide in-depth features and analysis on trends in the market, new available franchises, small business topics, finance, and more. Some of my favorites are: Franchise Times Magazine, Entrepreneur, Kiplinger Personal Finance, and Money Guide to Small Business.
Small Business Development Centers
Your city or county probably has a SBA-affiliated Small Business Development Center (SBDC) geared toward helping small business owners, including franchisees, succeed in their business. These centers often have great franchise resources and can connect you to franchise opportunities in your area. You can learn more about SBDCs and find one near you by contacting the US Small Business Administration, or visiting the SBA website.
Many local universities, community colleges, and adult learning centers provide franchising classes and programs for prospective franchise owners. Attending these classes could be a great way to learn more about franchising with a classroom full of peers.
SCORE is a nonprofit association that matches small business owners with active and retired business executives in their area. The business executive acts like a mentor, offering advice and guidance taken from their own experience. Online mentorship is also available.
One of the best resources for learning about the franchise experience is to talk to other franchisees. These individuals can provide you direct insight into many of the challenges and rewards you may face as a franchise owner.
If you already have an idea of which franchise you would be interested in purchasing, look to see if they have a franchisee association, such as a chapter with the AAFD. If so, this could be a great place to get advice and insight into that specific franchise.
Brokers and Consultants
There are many franchise brokers and franchise consultants who work to match prospective franchisees with a franchise opportunity. Oftentimes, these individuals can be great resources for information, especially on the process of evaluating and whittling down franchise choices. Take care, however, as these individuals are often sales people who either want to make money from you or who make a commission when you sign onto a franchise they recommend.
There are many franchise tradeshows and expos that take place around the nation each year. These tradeshows usually include a vast show floor filled with franchisors looking for franchisees as well as many other businesses that provide services to franchisees. These shows and expos usually also provide some great educational sessions and lectures for current and prospective franchise owners as well as good networking opportunities. A Google search of franchise tradeshows and the closest large city to you should bring up some good opportunities.