Franchise Buying Guide

A Perfect Match

What Do You Want from a Business?
Presented by Guidant Financial
Guidant Financial specializes in helping entrepreneurs purchase new franchises using their retirement funds.

If you decide you are able to follow a game plan, your next step is to do some soul-searching to discover the type of business that best suits you. This inner examination includes considering your goals and objectives, personality, likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses and personal circumstances, including finances.

Answering the following questions will help you get an indication of what type of franchise would be right for you:

  • Are you comfortable in a sales role? If selling isn't your thing, don't buy a business that will involve heavy sales activity.

  • Do you work well with the public? A restaurant isn't a good choice if you don't like greeting customers, unless you have a partner and can stay behind the scenes in the kitchen.

  • Do you work well with employees? This is an important consideration if you will need to staff your business.

  • Do you want to sell a product or a service? Do you like to perform services, such as housecleaning or car repair, or do you prefer to offer a tangible product, such as bagels?

  • Do you mind getting dirty? If getting grubby turns you off, don't buy a business like a quick-lube franchise, a janitorial service or a landscaping business.

  • Why are you buying a franchise in the first place? Do you want to amass retirement savings and create a business to pass on to your children? Or do you simply want a steady job? To accumulate a large amount of money, you will probably have to invest in a newer franchise that has the potential for high earnings, as opposed to a more predictable, established franchise that pays you a moderate salary.

  • What working hours do you prefer? If you are averse to working long hours seven days a week until the business is established, stay away from retail and restaurant ventures. Likewise, if you want your weekends free, don't go into real estate, which requires working Saturdays and Sundays. If you prefer working days, stay away from a janitorial-service business. Most cleaning occurs between the hours of 6 p.m. and midnight.

  • What are your personal interests and hobbies? We tend to do best with what we love. A hobby franchise involves a hobby or pastime which you enjoy, such as a baseball-card shop, a kite store, a Jazzercise studio or a craft- and-gift boutique. Do you have a hobby that you can pair up with a franchise? If so, look at possible related franchises, but do so with a level head.

"Although there are many hobby businesses, such as aerobic franchises, they tend to be financially limited," Siebert says. "If you just want to get paid for what you like to do, then such a business may be fine, but if you want to make a great deal of money, you're better off getting a different franchise that meets your financial needs."

  • Can you start a business that will enable you to use previous contacts? If you've been in the corporate world for years and have built an impressive roster of contacts in the human-resources field, it would be a shame to not put that contact list to good use.

  • Do you have children and need a kid-friendly atmosphere? If you would like your children to learn from the business, a bookstore, a restaurant or an accounting business might be an appropriate choice.
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This article was originally published in the July 1997 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: A Perfect Match.

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