How to finance your franchise

Today the Augusta Free Press ran a story on how to finance your franchise.

You can find the story at this link on the AFP website. I’ve also summarized their take on franchise financing here:

When you need financing, royalty fees, working capital, and inventory, you have options.

First, though, you have to get your records and personal finances in order.

How is your credit score? You also need a business plan.

In many cases, franchisors offer franchise financing. They typically can assist with 15% to 75% of what you need.

Other options include banks, friends, family, investors, and others.

There are many other options and tips to consider when it comes to franchise financing.

U.S. Small Business Administration

One source of help to refer to is the U.S. Small Business AdministrationSince its founding on July 30, 1953, the U.S. Small Business Administration has delivered millions of loans, loan guarantees, contracts, counseling sessions and other forms of assistance to small businesses. An SBA loan may be one option for franchise financing.

SBA provides assistance primarily through its four programmatic functions:

Access to Capital (Business Financing, including franchise financing)
Entrepreneurial Development (Education, Information, Technical Assistance & Training)
Government Contracting (Federal Procurement)
Advocacy (Voice for Small Business)
Wikipedia notes that “The Small Business Administration is a United States government agency that provides support to entrepreneurs and small businesses. The mission of the Small Business Administration is “to maintain and strengthen the nation’s economy by enabling the establishment and viability of small businesses and by assisting in the economic recovery of communities after disasters”. The agency’s activities are summarized as the “3 Cs” of capital, contracts and counseling.”
In this case, “capital” may include options for franchise financing.
Contact your SBA regional office for more information.

Small Business Development Centers

Another valuable source of help is your local Small Business Development Center office.

Check with your local SBDC for free face-to-face business consulting and at-cost training, on topics including business planning, accessing capital (including franchise financing), marketing, regulatory compliance, technology development, international trade and much more.

SBDCs are hosted by leading universities, colleges, state economic development agencies and private sector partners, and funded in part by the United States Congress through a partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration.

There are nearly 1,000 local centers available to provide no-cost business consulting and low-cost training to new and existing businesses.

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How To Find The Best Franchise Fit

Finding the best franchise fit is exactly what I specialize in as a franchise matchmaker.

I have a wide variety of franchise opportunities for you to consider. I also have a number of tools, both quantitative and qualitative, to help find the best fit for you.

My experience as a franchisee, as a master franchisee, and on the corporate franchisor side of the business gives me great perspective on what will work for any prospective franchisee.

Check out my series of educational videos to learn more about franchising, and visit my blog for ongoing updates about the franchise industry.

You may also find this piece, on How To Find The Best Franchise Fit, recently published on Forbes.com.

“Individuals pursuing a franchise opportunity have about 3,000 franchises to choose from, however, by having a plan you’ll be able to narrow your choices down to the best franchise for you. There are numerous resources available that provide advice on how to select and evaluate a franchise. Resources include the Internet, International Franchise Association, the FTC and The American Association of Franchisees and Dealers. However, the best approach is to match your financial resources, business skills, work experience and personal profile to the franchise opportunity that most closely fits these characteristics.”

Very much in line with the coaching and consulting I provide to my clients, the author looks for a personality fit, interest fit, skills / experience fit, a financial match, a fit with the time needed / expected, and a match with personal goals. Other keys include how hands-on you wish to be, and how objective you are when it comes to your own strengths and weaknesses. Finally, what is your contingency plan, depending on how things go.
Want to know more? Check out my franchising resources page – or, better yet, contact me for an initial call or meeting as a first step toward evaluating whether franchising is right for you.

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Educational Video #7 – Home-Based vs. Brick-and-Mortar Franchises

Key Differences Between Home-Based and Brick-and-Mortar Franchise Options

The latest, Part 7, in my franchise matchmaker educational video series on the franchise industry, Home-Based vs. a Brick-and-Mortar Franchise, can be found at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SmLiCMcW8mA&t=5s

 

Kim Marinoff, franchise matchmaker, discusses franchise options
Kim Marinoff discusses key differences between home-based and brick-and-mortar franchise options

 

Here, in just over three minutes, I cover key differences between them. One of these franchise options may be right for you. You may choose one based on your personal strengths or preferences. It’s best to match your needs and interests with the right franchise opportunity for you, and this is one piece of that.

With a brick-and-mortar franchise option, you have a physical location where you will serve customers. Home-based opportunities tend to offer online services, or services where you go to meet clients at their homes or some other location.

It typically requires more initial investment and more ongoing overhead to start and run a brick-and-mortar location. But by having that physical location, placed correctly, you will get incidental traffic as visitors in the area for other reasons see and visit your outlet. The biggest risk is signing a lease.

Being in a store, behind the counter, is often more comfortable for people who don’t have strong sales skills or experience. This way, they can market their location broadly to bring people into the store. You also have the option of hiring a manager with strong customer service skills to operate the store for you, or to relieve you when you need to be away.

Home-based franchise options take less money to start, have less overhead, and less risk. There’s typically no need for inventory, cost of goods and other fixed costs. It usually takes fewer employees and provides flexibility, if you have the discipline to stick to a schedule. You can’t hang a sign on your house and have typically hours where you are open. You will need to network, get involved in local groups like chambers of commerce, and you will get support from your corporate organization to help find you leads and customers.

I hope you find it useful; that you enjoy the other educational videos to come; and that you have already seen the prior videos in the series, or you will take a look and share your thoughts with me.

Considering a franchise? Call me, Kim Marinoff, the franchise matchmaker, today!

Thank you!

Smiles,

Kim Marinoff

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Educational Video #6 – Passive Franchise Ownership

Passive Franchise Ownership in Franchising

This is a three-minute video, the sixth in Kim Marinoff’s Franchise Red Flags series of 11 educational videos on the franchise industry. Its title is “Passive/Semi-Passive Ownership in Franchising.”

Here, Kim shares her franchise consulting expertise to inform you about key factors in passive franchise ownership, or semi-passive franchise ownership opportunities.

Passive franchise ownership or franchises that allow semi-passive owner roles can be of interest to a couple of types of people. In some cases, someone that is employed and is interested in and working to get something built on the side can find this is a good fit. One goal is for them to then transition from that job to operate the franchise, which by then will be producing revenue. After making that transition, the owner can then put effort into scaling the business, investing in and operating other units, etc.

In some cases, someone who is retired and wants a project on the side to produce revenue and give themselves something to work on might find a passive or semi-passive ownership situation appealing.

There are some key things to know and consider when you are researching passive franchise ownership or a semi-passive opportunity:

  • Some franchises allow passive franchise ownership and some do not. Some franchises have designed their ownership programs or have learned through experience that they need owners fully engaged to be successful. Others have figured out that their units can be successfully operated by a passive or semi-passive owner.
  • Franchises that allow passive franchise ownership must have strong training and support programs in place. You will need to find and hire a manager. You want to ensure that your manager can and does lean on the franchise company for support and guidance, and not on you, the franchise owner. You must make sure those tools and support systems are in place to help your manager.
  • You must be properly capitalized, like with all franchise opportunities, and, frankly, any business venture.
  • You must make a good choice when hiring a manager, and take steps to keep that manager in place. You don’t want turnover. If you are not directly involved in the business on a day-to-day basis, and the manager quits, that can be a huge problem. One way that Kim has approached this in the past with her passive franchise ownership is to create a sweat-equity partnership with the manager. For example, you can give them 4% ownership each year over five years with a contract that says they are fully vested at the end of that fifth year. That way, your manager benefits from and shares in the profits and the equity being built each year, and is rewarded at the end of that five-year effort with a 20% ownership stake in the franchise. That’s one way to reduce the chance of your manager leaving, by giving him or her a stake in the business and a true sense and role in ownership of the franchise.

Make no mistake. You must understand that no one else is going to run the business like you would if you were there working every day. If you can find the right manager, and effectively delegate the day-to-day operation of the franchise to a trusted candidate, passive franchise ownership can work for you, and there are some great opportunities out there.

I hope you find it useful; that you enjoy the other educational videos to come; and that you have already seen the prior videos in the series, or you will take a look and share your thoughts with me.

Considering a franchise? Call me, Kim Marinoff, the franchise matchmaker, today!

Thank you!

Smiles,

Kim Marinoff

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Educational Video #5 – Franchise Disclosure Documents (FDDs)

My latest video is on “Understanding a Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD).”

What’s a Franchise Disclose Document? Learn more here, in just over three minutes.

View this video on YouTube. Find my YouTube channel with this and other important franchise-related videos here.

Kim Marinoff presents “Understanding a Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD),” including key areas to pay attention to.

Franchising in the U.S. is governed by FTC, or Federal Trade Commission.

The Federal Trade Commission oversees franchising in the U.S.
The FTC governs franchising and dictates the contents of the FDD (this website/business is not affiliated with the FTC)

Every franchisor must give every prospect a franchise disclosure document, which mirrors the franchise agreement and provides detailed information on many different areas of the franchise, its costs, and how it operates. The FDD has 23 templated sections, and each franchisor populates those templates with their own information.

A completed FDD can be as long as 200 or even 300 pages. At the end, you should find the actual franchise agreement. It’s important, as a prospective franchisee, that you understand the entire franchise disclosure document in its entirety.

Some particularly important sections of the FDD include:

Item 6: Which lists all ongoing costs/expenses to operate a franchise. That can include royalties, advertising costs, software, and more.

Item 7: Details all of the expected costs to get a franchise location open. It provides a range, with a low and high end, itemized.

Item 12: Here, the franchisor shares how it defines territory. That territory should be exclusive. They should also share details on how they define territories (for example, by populations), and what demographics they have considered in each territory to make that territory not just viable but valuable.

Item 19:  You will find financial information here, including the franchisor’s earnings claims. What kind of performance numbers are existing units reporting, what they are producing, and how are they doing that. Some FDDs don’t populate this section. That might be because the franchise is a startup, or they want you to be in touch directly with franchisees, and getting numbers from them.

Item 20: This section gives details on franchise outlets that have opened, terminated, and ceased ops. You will find information here on every franchisee, along with their contact information.

The FTC Advises:

“Before you invest in any franchise, get a copy of the franchisor’s Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD). Under the Franchise Rule enforced by the FTC, you must receive the document at least 14 days before you are asked to sign any contract or pay any money to the franchisor or an affiliate of the franchisor. You have the right to ask for — and get — a copy of the FDD once the franchisor has received your application and agreed to consider it. Indeed, you may want to get a copy of the franchisor’s FDD before you spend any money to investigate the franchise offering. The franchisor may give you a copy of its FDD on paper, via email, through a web page or on a disc. The cover of the FDD must provide information about the available formats. Make sure you have a copy of the FDD in a format that is convenient for you, and keep a copy for reference.

Read each of the 23 numbered “Items” in the franchise disclosure document. Don’t be shy about asking for explanations, clarifications and answers to your questions before you invest.”

Here’s a link to the FTC’s page “A Consumer’s Guide to Buying a Franchise,” with detailed information on the franchise disclosure document.

They also have a useful PDF version here.

The complete franchise disclosure document includes these sections:

Franchisor’s Background (FDD Item 1)
Business Background (FDD Item 2)
Litigation History (FDD Item 3)
Bankruptcy (FDD Item 4)
Initial and Ongoing Costs (FDD Items 5-7)
Supplier, Territory and Customer Restrictions (FDD Items 8 and 12)
Franchisor’s Advertising and Training (FDD Item 11)
Renewal, Termination, Transfer and Dispute Resolution (FDD Item 17)
Financial Performance Representations (FDD Item 19)
Franchisee and Franchise System Information (FDD Item 20)
Financial Statements (FDD Item 21)

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