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How to Find the Right Franchise Opportunity through Local Outlets and Resources

From working with local franchise consultants and doing extensive research online to sitting in on Chamber of Commerce meetings and networking with other franchisees, there’s no shortage of ways for aspiring entrepreneurs to determine which business ownership opportunity is right for them.

By Cassidy McAloonSenior Writer
SPONSORED 1:13PM 07/10/17

Finding the right franchising opportunity can seem like a daunting task. Between the information that brands present themselves on their own websites to the endless pages of content that pop up whenever a concept’s name is searched on Google, there are a lot of factors to sift through when it comes to determining which franchise is the best fit for you. That’s where tapping into local outlets comes in.

In every local community, there are a variety of resources available to aspiring business owners that are designed to help them make the best possible decision for their individual situations. However, not every tool is obvious at first glance. That’s why Scott Oaks, a former in-house franchise development professional with ten years of experience and current external consultant, says that it’s important for prospective candidates to do a little digging.

“One of the first resources that comes to mind is to find the local SBA office in your town. A lot of cities have regional offices where there are free resources available to entrepreneurs thinking about going into business for themselves. There are even checklists that detail what to look for when searching for the right franchise opportunity,” said Oaks. “Another local outlet that people often overlook when doing their due diligence is their local Chamber of Commerce. By sitting in on local meetings, prospective candidates can talk to other franchisees who are already operating in their community to learn more about their journey and how they got to reach their current level of success.”

In addition to tapping into both governmental and private business networks in your local community, it’s also possible to find the right franchising opportunity with the help of a local consultant. There are companies out there whose goal is to specifically match entrepreneurs with their ideal brands, and some of them have ties to individual communities and locally-based consultants.

“Franchise consultants are your best resource. Oftentimes, candidates get tunnel vision and limit themselves to one segment of the industry like fast food because it’s what they’re seeing every day on Main Street, USA. But there are a ton of brands out there for people to partner with, and working with a franchise consultant can help you find that match,” said Rick Robinson, founder of Services4Franchising. “I always advise my clients not to sit back and be passive when it comes to the franchise selection process. At the end of the day, you know your strengths—and your local community—better than anyone else. From local realtors to potential competitors, prospective franchisees need to be engaging all of the resources at their disposal.”

By speaking with realtors to discover more about potential site selection to doing research on the competition, candidates are able to dig more into the realities that will come with owning and operating a business in their specific local market. But in order to learn more about the support system and corporate team that comes with a brand, entrepreneurs need to capitalize on additional avenues of information, including trade shows.

When franchising trade shows come to specific local communities, there are often members of a brand’s executive team on hand who can speak directly about the ins and outs of their systems in addition to their plans for a specific market going forward. However, it’s important for candidates to pay close attention while attending these local shows.

“Even though trade shows are a great resource for people looking to break into the industry, candidates need to be careful when it comes to reading the fine print. A lot of trade shows boast both franchising concepts and additional business ownership opportunities, and the rules associated with each are often very different,” Oaks said. “Brands operating with business licenses don’t offer the same protections that are available to franchisees. So it’s important for entrepreneurs to do their homework before attending the trade shows in their area.”

There are also less obvious local outlets that provide substantial information about different franchising opportunities for aspiring owners. And according to Lonnie Helgerson, president of Helgerson Franchise Group, those resources often hold key indicators that shouldn’t be missed.

“When it comes to back channel resources that candidates can rely on, they don’t need to look farther than their local media outlets. Seeing a brand’s public relations efforts in the local paper can help give aspiring entrepreneurs an idea of what a company’s plans are in their neighborhood going forward,” said Helgerson. “In today’s digital-centric world, candidates have access to more information about franchise opportunities than ever before. And it’s up to them to read everything that they can about an opportunity, whether it’s good or bad. By arming themselves with that information from the get-go, candidates will be happier with their decisions in the long run.”

Ultimately, the local outlets that communities provide entrepreneurs can make or break a candidate’s decision to invest in a brand. When candidates fully engage the resources and tools in front of them and realize their full potential, finding the right franchising opportunity becomes a much simpler task.

“The importance of doing your due diligence can’t be overstated. But there are so many resources and local outlets out there that are designed to help people make the best decision possible,” said Oaks. “By making the most of the tools around you and tapping into the connections that your community brings to the table, you have the chance to find the franchise opportunity that complements both your professional ambitions and your personal ones.”