“Unlike any other”—that’s a key factor in considering a franchise, and one that (along with picking the right location) I put a lot of emphasis on—and want you to as well. We’re not here to talk about opening the ten thousandth McDonald’s (my alma mater), but maybe the fiftieth store in a concept that’s blowing the socks off the competitors in its category.
Let’s talk to Charles Cuellar, Belmont Shore, California, franchisee for Yogurtland, who opened his store in October 2008. Here’s what he said:
- Picking the right concept. Unlike no other—self serve yogurt. It’s not the yogurt that’s new; it’s the self-service twist that makes Yogurtland new.
- Picking the right franchisor. Jamie Miro built the first Yogurtland in Fullerton, California, just three short years ago in 2006. It did so well he decided to franchise it, but he also kept expanding with company stores as well. This was a significant point for Charles and his wife—the franchisor had skin in the game.
- Picking the right location (surprise). Charles picked somewhere he knew—close to his alma mater, Cal State University Long Beach (another one of my alma maters, too). Springfield, Oregon may be great for a Yogurtland, but what does Charles know about Springfield? Stick close to home—you’ll be glad you did.
And by the way (btw if you’re into texting/tweeting/or code), I mentioned “category” above. Let’s go back there for a minute. Maybe you’ve heard the saying “A rising tide floats all boats”?
Well, you want to be looking in the harbor where all the boats are rising—yogurt is such a tide, and the right yogurt concept (in the right location!) can succeed. The tide is going out for designer furniture—don’t get on that boat.
So, what have Charles and his wife learned?
- Don’t overlook the time commitment of owning your own business! Charles and his wife made the right decision, but they knew it would be a labor of love. Make sure you do too.
- Do your due diligence. Talk to other franchisees BEFORE you buy! This is always where the rubber meets the road, but in the excitement of visualizing owning your own business you can blow right by this one. Don’t.
So it’s a matter of finding the right concept that’s not your granddad’s old slippers and pipe, and then putting it in the right location. It could be that Charles’ Yogurtland weighs out just right. Let’s get it right — right from the beginning. E-mail me with your questions and comments, and we’ll do it together.
Hear Jeff’s interview with Charles Cuellar on The Franchise Show, and hear more live interviews every Friday 3-4 p.m. PDT to learn about new and emerging franchise concepts directly from the company’s leadership and from franchisees like Charles.