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How To Define Your Franchise's Target Persona

What kind of franchisee can help replicate your success? That depends on what drives your success.

By Chris LaMorte1851 Franchise Editor
Updated 9:09AM 05/25/21

The first step to finding an ideal franchisee: knowing what makes them ideal. 

It’s not enough for a franchisor to look for “someone with a background in sales ” or “someone tired of the corporate rat race who wants to be their own boss.” That’s a lot of people.

To really hone in the right franchisees, franchisors must drill down. They need to understand what makes their business tick.

“The profile for an ideal franchisee would be like defining the profile of the ideal spouse,” said Christopher Conner, president of Franchise Marketing Systems. “It depends on the brand and the franchisor.”

A franchise target persona helps you figure out what kind of person is going to be a successful franchisee. For instance, do they need a specialized degree or certification to perform the functions of your business? Do they need to know how to engage with customers? What are their lifestyle expectations? How much money do they have to spend — and how much do they want to earn?

“One thing I've found in developing a wide range of diverse franchise systems is that the tighter you make the buyer profile, the more effective your franchise recruitment campaign will be,” Connor said.

That’s because, according to Connor, these pointed questions allow a clear understanding of the ideal franchisee to emerge. And that provides you the greatest chance to recruit successful franchisees because you know who you need.

“Generally, franchisees should have the skill sets that the franchisor thinks are critical for success,” said Conner. “For instance, sales and marketing franchises should focus on franchisees who have that background, but an operationally-focused franchise should target that type of buyer.” 

Ryan Zink, CEO of Franchise FastLane, a company that helps franchisors find franchisees, thinks you should also consider what the franchise is offering their customer when defining your target persona. 

“The most important part of defining your franchisee persona is understanding the compelling event that happens for an end consumer to buy from a franchisee,” he said. “Your goal should be to find franchisees who have the skills related to the way they find customers. If you are a franchisee selling restoration services and you get leads from an insurance agency, does your franchisee have the personality to walk into dozens of insurance agencies a day asking for business? If you are a food franchise with many employees, does your franchisee have a track record of people management and long hours?”

But the questions are about more than just job skills. They’re about values, vision and even life goals. 

“Franchise consultants always have this dilemma between people who want to be semi-absentee owners or need to keep their day job,” explained Adam Goldman, a franchise consultant based in Houston. “Franchisors have the vision that they only want people who are owner-operators.” 

Ultimately, Goldman said, “there's no such thing as a perfect person” when you’re looking for a franchisee candidate. Instead of focusing on a single person with all the skills you think they’ll need, focus on the top two or three skills that make a difference in how you do business. “You can't pigeonhole yourself too much because there's just a limited supply of franchisees,” he said.