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So you visited the franchise expo, and you were amazed (and possibly somewhat confused) by the scene. You could picture yourself owning and operating some of the franchise brands you visited, and you carried home a bag full of information. Your brain was bursting with ideas, possibly stimulated by one or more seminars, and surely by many conversations with franchisors, franchisees, and franchise advisors.
But wow! It’s a lot of information. It’s a lot to consider. So many life-changing possibilities. So what do you do now?
You read this, that’s what you do now, and we’ll help you capitalize on your visit to the franchise expo.
- First rule post-expo: Stay calm. Re-assure yourself that you can make sense of your future in franchising. Look, tens of thousands of people in the USA have already done it successfully. You can, too! It’s just a matter of following logical steps to success.
- Download your ideas. Whether you sit quietly and think about your visit to the expo, or you sit at your computer and describe your experiences using a keyboard or dictation app, it’s important to remember the expo highlights. Which franchises got you excited? Which franchises would you prefer to own? Make a list.
- Make your plan. Doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. Timing doesn’t matter, either. You attended the expo because you’re looking to change your life by owning and building a franchise business. In a perfect world, what do you want to happen now? Tomorrow? Next month? Sketch out your plan.
- List your questions. Based on what you already know, what do you still need to know? If you sat down with a franchise sales representative, or the CEO of a franchise brand, with the idea of becoming a franchisee, what questions do you still need to ask? Make a list. To help you think of questions, here’s a free book that lists key questions to ask before you buy a franchise. Download it instantly.
- Attend a Discovery Day. Almost every franchise brand invites prospective franchisees to visit the home office to learn more about acquiring rights to a franchise. Plan to go! In fact, plan to attend several. Contact the franchise brand, speak to the sales representative you met at the expo, and ask for information about upcoming Discovery Day events. You’ll be welcomed! This is the perfect opportunity to get your questions answered.
- Get the Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD). If you’re a U.S. citizen buying a franchise in the USA, the franchisor is required to give you the FDD at least two weeks prior to you signing an agreement or paying a fee. Read this document – it’s written in plain English. It’s not a legal document. It’s free! Ask for it, read it, re-read it, and then share it with your franchise advisors who can help you decide if the franchise makes sense for you. Not a U.S. citizen? Not to worry. Ask for it anyway!
- Call franchisees. You’ll find a list of the franchisor’s franchisees in the back of the FDD. The list includes names, addresses and phone numbers. This is an important due diligence document. Use it! Call some of the franchisees and ask them for their opinions about the franchise opportunity. Refer to the free book for specific questions.
- Contact your advisors. At the expo, you probably visited the Professional Business Center, or you attended seminars, or you stopped at the International Franchise Association booth. You had the opportunity to meet with franchise lawyers, accountants, and moneylenders. These experts can help you now. Dig out the business cards and make a list of important contacts. These are people who will be happy to hear from you.
- If you need money, consider your options. Nowadays, banks, leasing companies, and even franchisors provide money to new franchisees. It’s important to know how much you’ll need, and then sit down with a financial advisor. Local banks that provide SBA loans are a good start. If you’re a U.S. veteran, check out VetFran!
- Breathe! Keep in mind that no one buys a franchise overnight. That doesn’t make good sense. On average, it will take 60 to 90 days to make a buying decision, or longer if you can’t devote time to the process. The timing doesn’t matter. Changing your life for the better through franchise ownership is what matters. Whether you do that in 90 days or more should never be the issue. Get answers to your questions, feel good about your decision, and then become a franchisee. Meanwhile, breathe!
There’s your post-expo plan of action. Now just in case you missed the expo and you’re looking to attend one, visit FranchiseExpo.com for upcoming events.