We're doing these questions to ask during due diligence in categories to keep things organized. Putting your questions into categories is something that you should make sure that you do in your due diligence as it is really easy to get lost in the phase of asking franchisee's questions. If you don't have a very organized structure to these due diligence questions when you're asking them we really encourage you to try to keep them lumped together. We've done this for you. You can get a list of these in the link and below as well. Today we’re talking about a day in the life of an owner. This is a great topic.
What do you believe are the most important tasks to be completed to make your business successful?
This is a question that any prospective franchisee should ask because likely they're going to start asking the tactical questions first instead. What do you do every day? What is it like to ring a customer on the POS system? How much tape does it take to close a box? And so you'll have prospective franchisees asking you questions that really get into the tactical. Like maybe where they're feeling stuck. In our coffee and smoothie business, those questions would revolve around how many smoothies could you make in an hour. How much were you charging for a cup of coffee? How much did you make at an event? Or how much staffing did you need? These are all great tactical kinds of questions and you need to know the answers to these types of questions.
Let's say you're getting into a home services business. How much staffing are you going to need? How many vehicles? What if you want to grow and scale? How do you get to the next level “pun intended”? So the day in the life of an operator is certainly important to know, but I think another component to it is it a day in the life of an owner-operator situation, or is there a manager? What does the staffing and the team kind of look like? What are the dynamics of that? Those are factors also.
So the question was the most important tasks, and I agree, you're going to get, depending on the franchise, a lot of different answers based on the type of franchise. Is it owner operated? Is it semi-absentee? How long have they been in business? The point of this question I think is to help you evaluate whether you want to do those tasks. Is this something you're going to like?
If somebody tells you, they spend, 50% of their day on the phone, calling people to get business, you need to know that. That's really important for some people that's not a good fit for them. That's not what they're looking for, so when you ask this question, that's what you're trying to get at is the most important tasks. Again, when you go into this, make sure that you're getting a good mix of different types of franchisees at different stages of their franchise life. In that franchise, you're going to get different answers to this from those different franchisees. The key is to get the tasks that the most people spend the most time on that are successful because those are the ones you're probably going to be spending your time on as well. If they're not a good match for your desires or your, what we call your why, then it may not be the best franchise fit for you.
Tell me a little bit more about what your typical day looks like.
It's going to vary because if you were asking me this question in our beginning phases, we were working in the business, not on the business and part of that was very intentional. We wanted to understand it. We wanted to get our hands dirty. We wanted to really understand the business in order to grow and scale the most. The most common reason we hear from our clients why they get into business is they want to work on the business (not in the business). They want to have a lifestyle business.
When you can grow and scale that is when a lifestyle business happens. When you can grow and scale, what happens when you bring on a manager? So we worked in our business because we knew that that was the best way to be able to work on the business eventually. If we had worked on the business from day one, I don't think we would have so many successful systems and processes and marketing, et cetera in place.
So, what a typical day looks like today in our lifestyle business we spend maybe an hour a day on marketing/sales. And I love what I do … I get to talk to the clients and help them book their events, but I have a manager running the day-to-day, going out, doing the logistics, getting the supplies, loading up, doing the heavy lifting, all of that, but not so much in year one.
This goes back to getting franchisees for due diligence that are at different stages and what there are expectations were when they started. You might (likely will) get a much different answer from an absentee owner than from somebody who has been in the trenches like us when we first started, and the answers are going to change for those people that are like us that did that (worked in the business at some point). Today it is a lifestyle business. We don't spend a lot of time on it. It just operates. And it just does what it does. We do our parts … we nurture it and we keep it moving.
How have your responsibilities changed much over time?
I would think from the candidates that we talk to at Next Level Franchise Group, people looking to explore franchise business ownership, might for that first year want to work in their business. They should want to get their hands dirty, so to speak, but that is not the end game. In most cases, people aren't looking to get a franchise to buy their next job, they're likely doing it because they want work-life flexibility. They want freedom. They want to build a legacy. Those kinds of reasons. I know you always talk about the why and very rarely is it because they just want to buy themselves a job, but it’s much easier to get to those why’s if you put some sweat equity into the business early on.
It goes to the same thing. If you're in the beginning stages ... I certainly don't want to tell you anything that you should do, but working in the business is so valuable to learn how to operate that business efficiently.
Also, I would just say try to understand what that timeframe looks like. If you are getting into a franchise for lifestyle reasons you want that work-life flexibility and freedom, but you know, at least initially you're willing to make some sacrifice and work in your business then talking to other franchisees to get an understanding of their roadmap to being able to accomplish the same goal is very important. What was their timeframe in doing it? So at what point did they bring on a manager? At what point did they add on an additional unit and or scale? Understand those dynamics.
A lot of great ancillary questions can be asked to this question. That's the point. If it wasn't for us working in the business early on, we wouldn't have the systems that we have today to make it a lifestyle business. That was because of the kind of franchise we ended up with and yours is likely going to be different. So make sure that it's very clear that you get an answer to this question from as many different types of people in each franchise as possible. You're going to get a lot of different answers if you get franchisees with different depths of years they've been involved in that franchise.
We also have a great organizing questionnaire (just ask us for a copy) that we give out to our franchise candidates that really helps them put together their thoughts about an FDD as they evaluate different types of franchises.
What's Your Next? - Podcast
I’m Stacey Riska aka “Small Business Stacey”, your franchise placement specialist. I help aspiring business owners find the PERFECT franchise so they can get to the next level in life and business.