UnhappyFranchisee.com has a rather unorthodox approach to compiling franchise buying advice: interviewing unhappy and/or failed franchise owners and asking them what they wish they knew back before they made their expensive buying mistake. Fitness franchisee Matt Wilson warns of the danger of falling for a finely crafted sales pitch, and not verifying that there’s substance to back up the claims:
After attending a well-orchestrated sales seminar, Atlanta-area franchise owner Matt Wilson and his wife joined Butterfly Life with the dream of being their own boss, helping women improve their health, and getting a good return on their investment. Once they opened their club, they claim they received no help or support in overcoming their branding and marketing challenges. Their club closed in less than a year.
UnhappyFranchisee.com asked Matt to share the lessons of his experience, and his advice for prospective franchise owners.
UF: Matt, what was your background prior to joining Butterfly Life? Did you have industry experience?
MATT: My wife, who owned and operated our BFL franchise, has in excess of 20 years experience in a variety of customer service positions including 10 years with a major cellular communications company. For several years prior to our investment in a BFL franchise she was the office manager for a successful salon. For myself, I have 20 years experience working in a variety of sales, marketing, educational, technical and business management roles. Neither of us had experience in the women’s fitness industry, however, my wife has been a patron of competing club’s and national diet programs having lost 40 lbs as a result.
UF: When did you decide to join Butterfly Life? Describe the process.
MATT: After attending a franchise seminar in August 2006 in Atlanta, GA, conducted by Taylor Golob, Cheryl Hoke and via video conference, Mark Golob. Around the time of the seminar we were actively investigating a Curves franchise and saw a BFL seminar commercial on television. That led us to check out the company web site and sign up for the seminar. Taylor and Cheryl put on a first class, well rehearsed and choreographed sales seminar. Towards the end they incorporated connecting to Mark Golob via video conference, who delivered a rehearsed speech underscoring the points made by Taylor and Cheryl. When all was said and done it appeared the investment was a low risk, high return venture. Especially given that Atlanta was a burgeoning market for the brand and BFL appeared committed to developing the market for the long run.
The appeal for us and we believe with many investors, was with the prospect of being able to help women improve their health while being your own boss. The bonus was there was what seemed to be a good return on the investment. Reality was much different. CONTINUE READING
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Sean Kelly is a 20 year veteran of the franchise industry, and founder of the
award-winning marketing firm IdeaFarm. In 2006, he founded the FranBest franchise network, best franchise opportunities, the top new franchises, franchise marketing, franchise public relations and small business marketing. Contact
him at seankelly[at]ideafarm.net.