The World Wide Web has certainly presented all of us with more choices than we ever had. Whether shopping for a car or truck, electronic gadgets, or home furnishings, it is easy to find information on just about anything we wish to purchase. Or is it?
Take franchising for instance. Type out the word franchise into a search engine like Google
for instance, and you will find almost 100 million results! 100 Million! That is a large number, folks.Where do you begin?
Some people that are exploring franchise opportunities end up at franchise “directories.” These online franchise portals display hundreds of tile ads, with the franchises that are paying to advertise on these portals all hoping that their catchy names,colors or logos will match what you happen to be looking for that minute. I wonder how many current franchise owners picked their franchises that way. There is another way, and that is to work with franchise brokers, or consultants.
I own a Cleveland, Ohio franchise consulting firm, and I am able to help those that I work with find and research opportunities in franchise ownership. There are a few different business models in franchise consulting and brokering:
1. Local, office based consultants/brokers. These folks lease office space in your local area, and work with prospective franchise owners face to face. Most of them make their money from the franchise companies they have contracts with, that pay them a “finder’s fee” for the successful placement of a franchise candidate they are working with.
2. Long Distance consultants/brokers. These brokers work the phones, and prospective franchise prospects find them via the internet, sometimes after they have reached out to let’s say a kitchen remodeling franchise requesting information. These long distance consultants, usually working from home, pay for names of prospective franchise owners who have contacted other franchises, or are looking for direct help from a broker.
3. Local, fee only franchise consultants. Nick Bibby’s consulting firm is an example of this. Nick, who I know, gets his fees from prospective franchise owners who want to use Nick’s process to help them make a decision on a franchise, and who pay him upfront for unbiased tips and advice.
As I matured into an adult, I was told over and over again to seek out help from people who knew more than me. When I have foot pain, I go to a podiatrist. When my TV goes bad, I throw a rock at it…I mean I call a television technician who can repair it. When I rear end another vehicle, I reach out to my insurance agent, and my attorney. With over 3,000 different choices in the world of franchising, some folks reach out to franchise consultant and brokers. Like in any industry, there are great ones, and lousy ones. In my next column, I will give you some tips on choosing the great ones. The nice thing about searching for a franchise these days, is that you don’t have to do it alone….