Congratulations! You’ve done your due diligence and are now ready to begin Validation- the time in your discovery process where you talk with individual franchisees. Connecting with people who live the life, every day, is a valuable step towards deciding if it’s the right franchise brand for you. Here are three simple tips to ensure you get the most out of your validation process:
Be Respectful of the Franchisee
Remember that the franchisee will be busy running their business so, if possible, try and work around their schedule when picking a time to connect. Unless they offer more time, try and limit your visit to 15 or 20 minutes.
Ask Questions That the Franchisor Could Not Answer
Unless their FDD includes full financial information, Federal Law prohibits franchisors from making any earnings claims that would be considered an “inducement to buy” their franchise. For this reason, the individual franchisees are able, and often willing, to talk more openly about their financial performance than the franchisor. Use validation as your opportunity to ask individual franchisees any financial questions that the franchisor was legally not able to answer.
Evaluate the Brand Not the Franchisee
As explained above, you should absolutely use validation as an opportunity to gauge how the franchisee’s individual business is performing. However, remember that your goal is to further evaluate if you can be successful and happy as a franchise owner in their system. Be mindful that the individual franchisee’s level of success, whether it’s good or bad, does not necessarily reflect how you will perform. Your questions should focus on the relationship between the franchisor and franchisee. Verify that the franchise system is providing the franchisee with the appropriate level of support and infrastructure. Is the franchisee getting what they’re promised? If you’ve made it this far in the discovery process, you’re likely confident you can be successful in their franchise system. Someone else’s level of success should not change that. Validate that the franchise system is what they say it is and trust your instincts from there!