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If you are hoping to become a franchisee for a great company, it is critically important to understand what franchisors are looking for when awarding a new franchise and why they would find you a great candidate.

I have worked in franchise development for almost 20 years now and while I have watched the industry grow and evolve over time a few things have remained consistent.

  1. Franchisors want to gain market share as quickly as possible and build their brand with great franchisees.

  2. Franchisees are planning to mitigate risk by looking for a profitable business model that has been proven time after time.

Great franchise systems are built one franchisee at a time, one territory at a time, and like a chain, the system is only as good as the franchisees that keep it growing.

Franchises grow in distinct yet unpredictable cycles from emerging brand on through the formative years and into the legacy stage.  Franchisors typically seed their franchise system opportunistically with “friends and family” in territories that are not ideal. Slowly and sometimes painfully they realize that their system will grow stronger as they become more select in approving new franchisees and awarding valuable territories.

The evolution is predictable and in the end inevitably the cream rises in the system franchisors realize that the qualities they are looking for new candidates to display are these, and they fall into 3 categories:

Leadership, Communications, Team Building

Exhibits Leadership –

  • Confidence and Perseverance – They exhibit a fierce belief in what they are doing and the drive to complete the project despite the challenges.

  • Decision making – They avoid the Paralysis of Analysis. They can quickly process information and make a decision.  They don’t worry about making the right decision. They make the decision and then make the decision right!

  • Reliability – When they tell you they are going to do something…you can count on it and they prove that out time after time.

  • Displays Sound Judgment – They do the right thing, always considering the “what if” but moving forward with logical and unbiased judgement.

  • Hard Working – They build sweat equity with the staff, first to work in the morning, last out usually late at night. They understand what it takes to achieve.

Strong Communication Skills – Networ”king” – They realize that businesses are built within communities, the more ingrained in the community the greater chance of success.  These people understand the value of participation in networking groups and events, local chambers of commerce and engagement in community social events.

Team player & team builder – No mavericks need apply.  These are people who truly believe in the power of surrounding themselves with a diverse group of people.

  • Willing to Delegate Work – Work “on” the business not “in” the business.  They understand the big picture and don’t get tied up in the minutia.  They hire qualified people, help out when necessary and support the team.

  • Willing to Ask for Help – It’s the system stupid! These people are not afraid to seek knowledge and experience from those who have already done what they are doing.

Financial Awareness is also important – Understanding the P&L – This is probably the least important as this will be taught by great franchise systems, but to be successful in business takes a sense of courage in taking calculated risks and being able to understand the expected rewards.

I will also add a final concept, be likable.  From the first introductory phone conversation the franchisor and prospective franchisee are beginning the analysis of whether or not this relationship will be positive for the other. Remember, the franchisor is also building a team and if you are not “likable” the next conversation may never happen.

So how are franchisors analyzing the candidates based on these traits?  Pretty simple. Follow these rules when interviewing or researching a franchise:

  1. Act like a successful business owner

    1. Have a professional voicemail message on your phone

    2. Return phone calls and emails

    3. Be positive

  2. Be predictable –

    1. show up for scheduled calls and meetings

    2. if you commit to do something…do it

  3. Follow the process –

    1. Engage in next steps

    2. Ask questions

    3. Validate everything with people who have done it

  4. Be open and honest

  5. Don’t be lukewarm. Be hot or cold it will show that you can make a decision

Remember franchises are not SOLD; they are AWARDED. So know what the franchisors are looking for and show them you are the best person available to help build the system.


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