Today, it’s hard to imagine the franchise sales process without strong franchisee validation. But before Franchise Business Review launched in 2005, the term “credibility” took on a completely different meaning.
Franchise Business Review was founded by Eric Stites, who previously worked at Franchise Solutions as its director of corporate development. After assisting brands with all of their recruitment marketing needs, he realized that there was a gap between happy franchisees and validation—while owners were willing to provide strong testimonial about their business ownership experience, they weren’t taking the time to answer calls from candidates. And that meant that brands weren’t hitting their development goals.
To correct that problem, Stites suggested surveying franchisees since every candidate wants to ask the same questions, from “do you like your franchisor?” and “are you making money?” to “would you recommend this business ownership opportunity?” But in order to give the survey credibility, it would need to be from an outside third party. That’s when the lightbulb in Stites’ head went off.
“Validation is everything in franchising. Brands with strong franchisee validation grow, and those with weak validation don't... it's really that simple,” said Stites. Today, people don't buy or invest in anything without looking at reviews from other people. At Franchise Business Review, we are simply facilitating that process—helping great companies grow, while also helping good companies become better companies.”
Since launching over a decade ago, Franchise Business Review has worked with over 1,000 leading franchise brands. That means that its rankings of the top franchises and leaders based on franchisee validation are truly the best of the best—they’re all backed by the local owners putting in hard work on a day-to-day basis. However, the role that Franchise Business Review takes on within the industry has changed drastically since it first opened its doors for business. What was once revolutionizing validation is now paving the way for brands to be a part of the narrative surrounding their level of transparency.
“When Franchise Business Review first started, we were right at the tipping point of it being easier for franchise candidates to find out information about brands online. So at the time, franchisors were still very guarded about the narrative surrounding their brand,” said Rowan. “Now, it’s clear that the internet has shifted that frame of mind. It’s all about transparency—brands need to know what their franchisees are saying about their business ownership experiences so that they can be a part of that conversation.”
Going forward, Franchise Business Review plans to continue serving its clients—and the industry—to the best of its abilities. And it’s going to make that goal a reality through its five-year plan, which involves helping more franchisors gain valuable, actionable insight into all of their primary stakeholders, not just franchisees. Data is continuing to play a bigger role in franchise systems’ DNA, and Franchise Business Review has the potential to be on the cutting edge of that trend as it relates to employees and customers, too. Franchise Business Review is also rolling out its Franchise Education 2.0 initiative, which aims to better educate candidates about the realities of business ownership and the expectations that should come along with it.
“Our core values have always been about credibility and honesty. I've been in the franchise industry now for almost 20 years, and we've been fortunate to work with over 1,000 leading brands. Credibility is one of those things that lots of people talk about but you have to prove it... "walk the walk,” Stites said. “I'm very proud of the strong reputation that we've built within the franchise industry. We work hard to ‘wow’ our clients and franchisees each and every day. Unfortunately, it's easy to throw up a professional-looking website today and look credible. We spend a lot of time educating people about the franchise industry and the value of our research. There are lots of different franchise rankings out there, but Franchise Business Review is the only one based on actual franchisee satisfaction performance. The companies on our awards list are truly the best of the best in franchising!”
There’s no doubt that Franchise Business Review has made its mark on the industry through its commitment to building credibility. But according to Stites, the supplier is far from finished.
Said Stites, “It's been a fun 12-year run so far for Franchise Business Review, but we're just getting started. I'm excited about the next few years and helping even more franchisors and franchisees achieve their goals.”