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Loving the Product Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Loving the Business

By: Bill Bradley


Loving the Product Loving the Business

One way to approach your franchise search is to focus on the businesses that you personally enjoy. Maybe it’s the pizza you can’t get enough of or the gym that keeps you motivated.

You can easily whittle down your list of potential franchises by paying attention to your own buying habits. But thinking like a consumer isn’t always the best way to approach buying a franchise.

Many other factors go into making a wise franchise investment. So, to help you determine if your desired franchise speaks to you as a consumer or a potential franchisee, let’s look at some important questions to ask yourself as you search for your new franchise.

What Do You Love About the Product or Service?

Some products make our lives easier. Some help us accomplish a task that would be much harder without them. Some just taste great and we don’t need any reason beyond that. What we love about a product or service is directly related to what’s marketable about it.

Sometimes, however, our love for a product or service is more personal. If you grew up with one particular brand, you might have an emotional connection to it that influences how you view the franchise opportunity. Understanding your own motivations, and asking yourself sincere questions about why you’re considering certain opportunities, is important for getting to the core of what you want out of a franchise.

Does the Business Model Match Up?

No matter how much you love the product or service, buying a franchise is an investment in the future, not an exercise in instant gratification. You need an opportunity that’s going to meet your goals in the long term.

Even if you believe in the product or service and could sell it with your hands tied, you need a business model that’s attractive to you and fits how you like to operate. Running a business you love, in a system that doesn’t function how you’d prefer, can lead to conflicts and a less-than-satisfying experience.

When you’re looking at FDDs and asking questions of franchisors about training and support, make sure you consider the quality of the system and look for good examples of its past success. It does no good to have a desirable product if the system isn’t matching up.

Is There a Good Cultural Fit?

In the same way that a potential franchise has to fit how you like to operate, a company needs to share your values and ideals. Few things flatline your excitement like finding out your franchisor has a culture you can’t stand.

Maybe that ice cream you love has a company culture that’s too strict. Maybe the spa you frequent doesn’t have enough structure. Don’t overlook the way the company operates just because you like what they do.

Are You Prepared for the Industry?

Eating sausage and making sausage are two very different things. Just because you enjoy the end result doesn’t mean you’re prepared for the process. The same is true for something like childcare or pet grooming. Loving kids or dogs doesn’t necessarily mean you want to work with them every day. Think broadly about the industry and how exactly you’ll have to get your hands dirty.

Are You Susceptible to Burnout?

It’s easy to think you’ll never get tired of your favorite product or service. We’ve all said something like, “I could eat this every day.” But when you’re turning your passion into your livelihood, you don’t want to wake up one day and find out you hate what you once enjoyed — then have to continue selling it anyway.

How Important is Loving the Product Anyway?

This is a deeply personal question. For some franchisees, the product or service provided is incidental. They’re only interested in the numbers and they might be planning to operate with a more hands-off approach across multiple units anyway.

For others, the product is everything. Their passion lies in one particular industry, with one particular brand, and that’s all they want to invest in.

There’s no right or wrong answer to determining how important the product is when choosing your franchise. It’s something you have to answer for yourself. But as you search for your next franchise opportunity, remember that there can be more to the process than picking the product you like the best.

Published: August 5, 2019

Source: America's Best Franchises

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Bill Bradley

Bill Bradley

Bill Bradley is founding member and CEO of America’s Best Franchises, LLC.  Bill founded three financial services firms, Ocean Shores Ventures, Denali International and William Bradley Enterprises. In addition, to launching America’s Best Franchises in 2005, Bill orchestrated approximately 20 private equity transactions in excess of $31 million, and launched five specific purpose private equity partnerships.

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