Finding the Perfect Franchisee
Finding the Perfect Franchisee

Safeguard's VP of development looks for three key things in potential franchisees.

Franchise businesses recognize that finding the perfect franchisee to sell their brand is key.

Scott Sutton, vice president of development at Safeguard, knows what to look for in potential franchisees to best represent the brand and be success stories themselves.

“There are several success factors when evaluating potential franchisees,” he said. “I think, generally speaking, the best ones and the most successful ones have three key traits that we home in on during our process.”

The first one is a willingness to collaborate. “Franchising is all about that. You have to share ideas,” he said.

Franchisees need to be willing to speak with veteran franchisees to learn what works best. They need to ask questions and be open-minded, Sutton said.

The second important trait is recognizing the responsibilities of being a franchisee and being able to follow a clear process, he said.

“Franchise systems have a process and it’s important to follow that. We introduce you to other franchisees and help you learn the system.”

Those who struggle to follow the Safeguard process tend not to succeed, he said. There’s a reason systems are in place. It’s because they work and keep everyone on track for success.

The third piece, and possibly the most important, is a true passion for the business.

“I’ve been involved in several businesses and you always need people who care about what they are doing,” Sutton said. “It might be about developing their employees. It might be a strong passion for the business model or helping customers. But no matter what, you can’t care only about the money.”

People must have a genuine passion for the brand to find success.

“We have a thoughtful prospect process,” Sutton said. “You can learn a lot about people through it. You can see if someone is collaborative. You want people who will work with others. With prospective franchisees, we look for passion in how they talk with executives, with marketing people, the receptionist at the front desk and other franchisees.”

For Safeguard, the leads need to be vetted carefully. “From our perspective, culture is the most important factor to us. We have found that when you have the right culture, people get energized and focus on making it work,” he said.

Sutton said that although following the system is vital, ideas are always welcome and encouraged.

“Every system should embrace and encourage people to think differently. But with new franchisees, I tell them to get out a legal pad and write down all their ideas. Do that for a year. Then show me your ideas. You will know much more after a year in business.”

For more than 55 years, Safeguard distributors have been providing to business owners the products, services and business expertise needed to help businesses grow. From printed forms to promotional products and Web services, Safeguard distributors are seen not only as sales leaders, but also as business consultants that find ways for customers to be successful.