Talking to franchisees can also give you something you won't get anywhere else: a feeling for what it's like to run this business day to day. Thinking solely in economic terms is a mistake if you end up with a franchise that doesn't suit your lifestyle or self-image. When you envision running a restaurant franchise, for instance, you may be thinking of all the money you're going to make. Talking to franchisees can bring you back to reality--which is a lot more likely to involve manning a fry station, disciplining teenage employees and working late hours than cruising around in your Ferrari.
Many franchisees and franchising experts say there's no better way to cap off your research than by spending time in a franchise location to see what your life will be like if you buy. Buyers should spend at least one week working in a unit. This is the best way for the franchisor and franchisee to evaluate each other. Offer to work for free. If the franchisor doesn't want you to, you should be skeptical about the investment.
When all your research is completed, the choice between two equally sound franchises often comes down to your gut instinct. That's why talking to franchisees and visiting locations is so important in the selection process.
Source: The Small Business Encyclopedia, Start Your Own Business, Entrepreneur magazine and Entrepreneur's StartUps magazine.
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