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A guide to working with franchise consultants

Why use a franchise consultant?
If you, like most prospective franchisees, are a first-time entrepreneur, you can gain much from the guidance and knowledge a franchise consultant brings to your search. The Internet, while helpful, contains a glut of information on franchising, leaving many great franchise opportunities unnoticed by prospective buyers. If a strong system and support structure is in place, and the franchise has a proven track record, you can be successful. Finding these less obvious opportunities is something a franchise consultant can help you achieve.

10 Tips on Working with Franchise Consultants

  1. Be wary of pressure tactics. Your franchise consultant is your advisor and coach, not your boss. You should never feel unduly influenced by this person.
  2. Avoid negative personalities. A professional franchise consultant never speaks poorly of franchises outside his or her network.
  3. Treat your relationship with a consultant as a two-way street. Be professional by returning calls and living up to your commitments. You will get the most of out of your experience by making a serious effort.
  4. Know the consultant’s qualifications. It is unlikely your consultant is a franchise attorney, accountant or financial advisor, so any advice they provide in these areas will be general. However, they may be able to refer you to other professionals with additional expertise.
  5. Approach your franchise search with an open mind. Sometimes, the true value of consultants is their ability to introduce you to a remarkable franchise you never would have found on your own.
  6. Share as much relevant information as you can with your consultant, particularly about what you are hearing from franchisees within the chosen systems.
  7. Remember, it’s your decision. The consultant will offer advice, but you are ultimately making the life-changing decision to buy a business.
  8. Be honest. The franchise consultant needs to know specific details about your finances and lifestyle in order to help you make the best decision possible.
  9. Do your research. Make sure the consultant you are confiding in is from a reputable company, so you can fully trust their advice and guidance.
  10. Include your family. Even if you plan to invest in a franchise alone, it is advisable to involve a spouse, sibling or other trusted relative or friend. After all, they know you best and can help you make your final decision.

Jeff Young is a Pittsburgh, Pa.-based franchise consultant. He can be reached at (412) 423-0102.

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