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The Spice Road to Franchising, Part 2

Partnering with a franchise consultant

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The Spice Road to

Part 1
Last summer, Mike and Janet Johnston, co-owners of -based Savory Spice Shop, teamed up with retired businessman Chris Clark and made a commitment to franchise their homegrown concept in a way that would make them proud. They promised to never skimp on quality for the sake of saving a penny and to maintain the local, independent feel that draws in customers.

Franchising for this fledgling partnership was no leap of faith. The Johnstons and Clark wanted the process to go right from the very beginning, so they did what any smart business owner should: They hired a lawyer. Their new legal team came armed with knowledge gained from a long history of representing various franchises around the country. Based on this experience, they encouraged Savory Spice Shop to work with a franchise consultant and suggested doing face-to-face interviews to find the right fit.

"We wanted to do it right," Janet explains, "and our attorneys wanted to put us in the hands of experts." Heeding their advice, the Savory team chose to work with iFranchise Group, a franchise development company based in Homewood, IL. "It boiled down to personality and experience," Mike says, while Janet interjects that the "little things" mattered too. This foodie couple believes the best way to get to know others is to have them over for dinner. So, they invited the iFranchise consultants to kick off their shoes, relax and indulge in homemade chicken mole with a side of franchise fodder.

Mark Siebert, CEO of iFranchise Group, says the most important thing to consider when working with a franchise consultancy is the experience of the individual consultants rather than the company as a whole. "You need to make sure you understand who's going to be on your team," he says, suggesting you take a hard look at the consultants' bios and reputations. "Find out how they are regarded in the marketplace; talk to past clients and attorneys in the field."

The Savory Spice Shop team did just this--and learned that the iFranchise consultants had decades of experience and worked for a long list of prominent franchise companies. The rest is history. The Johnstons and Clark were on their way to franchising.

Next month, we'll dig deeper into the services a franchise consultant provides, from drafting the Franchise Disclosure Document and operations manual to sales training and marketing.

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