Hello again from the Right at Home Headquarters in Omaha! As autumn is fast approaching, several members of the Right at Home team are in training for the annual Omaha Corporate Cup, benefiting the American Lung Association. Last year over 220 companies participated with over 10,000 registrants! So far over $77,395 has been raised for this year’s event! The event is a family favorite, with everything from a 100 yard dash for kids, to a 10K TAC Certified course for those with a competitive edge.
Ok, on to business. Things have been great here at Right at Home. We have added nearly 30 new franchisees this year so far, and the changing demographics continue to provide new customers to our business. With the current state of the economy, there are people looking at all kinds of different franchises. As a result, there has been plenty of traffic to previous posts on this site (one in April and one in June) regarding how to interview existing franchisees.
So given the interest in that topic I thought I would add 4 more best practices when interviewing existing franchisees.
- Vary the tenure of franchisees that you call. A good mix of new and old is what you’re looking for. For example, asking a 10 year veteran about the initial training class is probably a waste of time – it’s been 10 years since they completed that class! But, that same question is a perfect topic to discuss with a new franchisee.
- Select a good cross-section of franchisees to interview. Talking to franchisees at different performance levels is a good idea, and this is not always a function of time in the business. One of our top 5 franchisees opened his business just 3 years ago, for example. So, be sure and ask the franchisees to identify (if they are comfortable) whether they are in the top, middle, or bottom third of all franchisees.
- Consider each franchisee’s definition of “success.” Success means different things to different people. One person might consider the business a success if they can be their own boss, pay the bills with the profits, have some savings, and generally just provide a good lifestyle for their family. Yet there are others who only consider it a success if they are in the top 10% of all franchisees. So, the key message here is to identify how each franchisee defines success for their own business, and how they are progressing toward that goal.
- Are you looking for a reason to NOT do it? I once worked with someone that said he wanted to talk to the low performers first. When I asked why, he answered that he wanted to know what the challenges were in the business and what those franchisees were doing wrong. I of course accommodated his request, but I always found it interesting that he focused so much on the negative side first. It was as if he wasn’t interested in hearing what the successful ones had done to overcome those obstacles. So, as you ask these franchisees the “tough” questions, be sure and ask yourself the tough questions too.
I hope you all find these helpful. Have a great rest of the week!