If you had the chance to do it all over again, would you still be a franchisee that early in the system?
Absolutely. I can't think of anything detrimental in doing that. I can't think of any hardship, particularly, that I encountered, and the benefits were many. But, of course, I chose the right organization and that's a big part of why it worked that way.
What were some of those benefits?
Just being able to be a part of decisions, to help determine the direction, to have access to the senior levels of management when they were building the company.
What advice would you give to others who have been approached about being part of a new system?
I would say do your due diligence, meet as many of the people involved as you possibly can, check references, look at their past business practices and listen to your gut.
Are there any red flags prospective first franchisees should look out for?
If someone is trying to sell you too hard. One of the most important things in a relationship is the ability to communicate, and that's what I mean by listen to your gut. If you sit back and listen and don't get caught up in the excitement, you'll know. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
One of the advantages for someone coming in later on in the system is they can talk to existing franchisees, and when you're the first one, you don't have that opportunity.