How a Franchise Consultant Can Help Put You on the Path to Success
How a Franchise Consultant Can Help Put You on the Path to Success

Love them or hate them, brokers can mean the difference between franchise success and franchise frustration.

Love them or hate them, brokers can mean the difference between franchise success and franchise frustration.

Few know that lesson better than Gary Prenevost.

Prenevost left his family business behind and entered the franchising world in 1991, joining a national training organization in his native Canada, where his initial role was selling business license opportunities. But, Prenevost quickly found himself frustrated working for someone else, feeling he could better achieve success on his own.

So Prenevost purchased his own license, and turned his business into his true passion: helping other budding entrepreneurs grow their businesses through the implementation of key management and sales development strategies.

After rising to eventually become Vice President of the company, Prenevost expanded his unique skill set by joining FranNet in 2002. Since then, he’s used the expertise built over his distinguished career to help others achieve their entrepreneurial goals, and he recently spoke with 1851 Franchise about how that same type of expertise can benefit both franchisees and franchisors.

1851: How did you discover FranNet?

Gary Prenevost: Before I worked for FranNet, I worked with FranNet. The brokers there were always our best lead sources. I love the FranNet model because it helps connect potential franchisees with the right fit for them, while also protecting them from less than scrupulous franchisors.

1851: What type of services can a broker provide to a potential franchisee?

GP: For a prospective franchisee, the most important role a broker can play is helping them clearly understand the role a franchise can and should play. That relationship can be complicated. And, the more clarity they have before they start their search—from what they’re good at, what they like and more importantly, what they dislike, the better. At FranNet, we use a multi-pronged approach to profile a potential franchisee. It contains three key elements:

 

  1. Financial Profile: How much money does the potential franchisee have, and how much are they willing to expose to risk?
  2. Personality Assessments: What are the potential franchisees biggest strengths, biggest gap areas? Are they an introvert or a people-person? If they’re not comfortable interacting and managing people, it’s best to steer them away from any type of high profile people business.
  3. Skills and Interest Inventory: What type of skills does the potential franchisee possess that might match up with a specific industry or service? This inventory also includes analysis of things like balance sheets and previous financial management.

 

Following the profile assessment, FranNet then leads the potential franchisee through an in-depth consulting process, where both sides gain additional clarity. And, we avoid any snap judgements. The whole process can take up to three months before any final decisions are made.

1851: What types of pitfalls can a broker help a potential franchisee avoid?

GP: It may be tempting to rush toward a solution. The Internet is filled with promises of fast fixes, but it lacks the human element. The human element enables brokers to go much deeper than any online profile can. No system is perfect, and no match is perfect either. The perfect biz doesn’t exist, otherwise everyone would buy it. But, FranNet helps franchisees come as close to that situation as they can. We identify the must haves and the “would be nice to haves” and make the best possible match.

1851: Why should a franchisor use a broker service like FranNet?

GP: If I’m a company looking for franchisees, I’m going to invest somewhere between $12,000 and $18,000 on my own to find a franchisee. And, there’s no guarantee that franchisee will be the right fit. Often, they’re not, and that can cause more problems than it solves. No one likes paying broker fees. I didn’t when I was on the other side. But, broker fees are part of doing the business. It’s a small premium to pay, because, in the end, it’s not about franchisee fee revenue at the front door coming in. It’s about getting optimum, A-level franchisees who create a strong revenue stream coming in.

1851: What should potential franchisees do to be better prepared to work with a broker and better ensure their success?

GP: My most common piece of advice sounds a little off the wall, but it’s the one I see most often ignored: make sure your spouse is fully involved and on board! If a spouse isn’t on board at the beginning, the objections to your involvement with the franchise will only get bigger down the road. No business is worth losing a marriage over.

Secondly, have a realistic financial picture. How long can you live without income? How long can you go without positive cash flow? How much liquid income do you really have?

Lastly, I would just simply advise potential franchisees to keep an open mind. Most success franchisees don’t end up buying the type of business they thought they’d buy at the outset. It’s all part of the rollercoaster. Sometimes it’s hard to see, but after they take the ride, they have the right clarity and depth to set themselves up for better success down the road.

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