When it comes to deciding on doing something big—like buying a franchise, most people ask others for their opinions.
On the surface it makes sense. That’s because getting others to share their opinions about something you may be about to do can open your eyes to things you haven’t thought of. In this post, I’m going to suggest who you should get your opinions from regarding your desire to buy a franchise, and explain how doing so can sometimes be a double-edge sword.
Who Should You Get Your Opinions From?
If you’re starting to get serious about one or two franchise opportunities—meaning you’ve had several in-depth conversations with franchise headquarters, you’ve received the FDD, and you’ve talked to several franchisees—here are a few people you may want to get opinions from.
1. Close friends
You should definitely talk to one or two of your closest friends about your plans. In this case, “close” means people who’ve known you for years. People you grew up with and/or attended school with. People who know you really well.
If possible, meet with them face-to-face, and tell them what you’re looking to do and why. Then ask them what they think.
Do you know any entrepreneurs? If so, call them. Share your plans and ideas with them and ask for their opinions.
If you can’t think of any entrepreneurs to reach out to, all you have to do is think of a local small business you frequent and arrange a meeting with the owner. It can any type of business…from an automobile dealership to a restaurant.
Don’t be shy. Think of it as an informational interview. You’ll be surprised how open local entrepreneurs will be to your request, especially if you ask them to tell you their stories about how they got into business, along with their successes and failures.
3. Business professionals
In this case, I’m referring to local attorneys, accountants, and other local business advisors who know the area you are planning to open a franchise in. But you need to approach them differently.
Specifically, you need to ask them for a few minutes of their time, because you want to talk to them about going into business for yourself. No need to mention that you’re interested in a franchise. You can tell them in person. That way they won’t prejudge—which can happen (I’m not sure why) when you bring up franchising to business advisors.
When you meet with them, listen to what they have to say, and ask them if they have any franchise clients and if so, how they’re businesses are doing.
This can get a little tricky, especially if your spouse hasn’t been very involved in the franchise discovery process you’ve been undertaking.
Tip: Involve your spouse early and often. Spouses need to feel involved. Especially with a major life decision—like buying a franchise business.
Your spouse’s opinion matters. Take whatever she or he says in stride. Then compare it to the other opinions you’ve been getting. You’ll be very glad you did.
The Double-Edged Sword Part
Getting opinions from others can be a double-edge sword. There’s uncertainty involved, because you don’t know what they’re going to say. You also don’t know the personal history and perspective they may be coming from.
For instance, what if one of the people you approach knows someone who owned a franchise—and had to close the doors because of a lack of business? Do you think your friend’s opinion would be a positive one? Admittedly, this was an extreme example, but it happens.
Also, and you may find this hard to fathom, some of the people you approach may actually be jealous of what you’re thinking of doing. Remember, it takes a fair amount of courage (along with the necessary amount of money) to buy a franchise business. It’s possible that they’re lacking in one or the other. If so, their opinions could end up reflecting that.
All things considered, it’s important to ask for opinions from others before you buy a franchise. Take each one for what you feel it’s worth, take a step back, then decide. If you did your homework, and what you’re thinking of doing feels right, it’s up to you to hit the “buy” button.