Why should a person focused on franchise brands and marketing write this blog? 1) We don’t want to keep this a secret. And, 2) Nothing can effect your brand perception as much as a really great franchisee …OR, a very bad one.

Every Franchisor is constantly on the lookout for the next Great Franchisee. They may be looking for a Franchisee who is going to become an Area Developer or Master Franchnchisee, or maybe the perfect single-unit franchisee is just what they need for a specific area or reason. I think everyone will agree that there is a huge difference between a single-unit prospect and an entrepreneur with the financial backing to be a Area Developer. But, in the end, there are some huge commonalities, and I wanted to share these with you today.

  1. They have the Drive. – I like both definitions of “Drive” – 1) operate and control the direction and speed of a motor vehicle. 2) an innate, biologically determined urge to attain a goal or satisfy a need. Since we have all probably come across really great people with zero drive, we know these people are not going to “Drive” a successful franchise. We want a person who is “determined to attain a goal while they are operating and controlling the direction of their franchise”.
  2. They have the Right Attitude! – Not everyone is going to be a cheerleader on the outside, but not all franchises require an extravert. But the important requirements they must have are: a positive attitude: their glass it half full most of the time and they have an affinity for the brand. They need the right attitude for your brand – and this is something you will have to spend time articulating and cultivating.
  3. They are in it for the long-term… – A great franchisee should understand, if you as the franchisor have set the expectations correctly, why the investment in becoming a franchisee is a long-term commitment. Granting a franchise to someone who is only committed to achieving short term gains, which may or may not be achievable, will make it difficult to keep them happy for a few years much less 10-15 years. What is their exit strategy? If they are thinking about the long term, then they will probably have a plan for that too, or at least they’ll ask about it.
  4. They are willing to learn. – At an IFA conference, I once heard a Franchisor describe the ideal in a nutshell, “you want a learn-it-all not a know-it-all” kind of person. If they already know it all and aren’t willing to soak up your branding and best practices, then where will you be?” Franchising requires having the entrepreneurial spirit (that is for sure!), but the entrepreneurial spirit without being willing to learn “how it’s done here” is a NO-GO for a potential franchisee.
  5. They have done their homework. – A good prospect will have taken the time to do their homework before they meet with you to discuss the opportunity. If you are meeting with a single unit franchisee prospect the level of “homework” completed will be vastly different than someone who is considering a multi-unit operation. Some unsavory franchisees may not agree, but to get the best franchisee-fit for your franchise, you want them to have done their homework. Your sales process may be the best ever, but people who have done their research and are sitting at the table after they’ve dug into your “closet,” will have more enthusiasm and be ready to say “YES” to your franchise opportunity.
  6. They have reasonable/realistic/attainable expectations. –  This characteristic is usually a product of expectations set by you, your advertising, or your franchise development team. Whatever you and your team set as franchisees expectations, you will have to spend the next 4-6 + years either delivering on those expectations or falling short and dealing with the consequences. Some prospects will, by nature, put on rose tinted glasses and believe that everything will be smooth and perfect with your franchise. I’ve seen why outlining and discussing expectations during the franchise courtship process is the best solution. By doing it this way you can make sure you both have reasonable expectations.
  7. They have the $money$ – This doesn’t need much explaining, and hopefully your pre-screening process identifies real prospects from those who would like you to give them an opportunity. But, as you well know, a prospective franchisee can have all six of the prior attributes and not have the money to invest in the business. Without the money or financial backing, the best person in the world can’t become your next great franchisee.

Let me know if you have other attributes that should be added to the list. We’re all in this together, so share your ideas so we can all get it right!