Nearly every business in the franchising industry has its own vaunted pool of industry-specific “training resources”. For example: The restaurant industry has the National Restaurant Association (www.restaurant.org). Their training programs cover everything from training for the general manager to the people who actually prepare and serve the food. But there are also training resources for those who may not have decided on an industry to jump into; resources that can give you a bit more insight into what it takes to become a franchisee; to help with your decision-making. A couple of favorites:
- International Franchising Association (franchise.org)
From this site, you can navigate to their IFA University portal and sign up for a free, online course to educate yourself on the basics of becoming a franchisee. Their “Introduction to Franchising” course is not for the faint of heart or someone with just a casual interest in becoming a franchisee. It’s an extensive curriculum. At least seven learning lessons that contain seven or more sub-topics, plus a practice quiz. Perhaps one of the most valuable components of the course is the detailed coverage of every item in a typical Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD).
- Small Business Administration (www.SBA.gov)
The SBA has been around for decades and as the landscape of small business has evolved, so has the SBA. If you don’t have a lot of time to complete the full IFA course or just want to a get good overview of what is involved in becoming a FRZ (with sub-topics as you further explore what’s involved), you need to visit the SBA. You’ll find a virtual roadmap of topics that will help you get from thinking about franchising to becoming a franchisee to running your own franchise business.
- Other Resources “Hiding in Plain Sight”
Your Local Chamber of Commerce (COC)
An often overlooked resource, your local COC can help you connect with valuable contacts –local/regional franchise associations, and related business owners/organizations in your area where you can network and learn how other franchisees are faring in their chosen industry and the one you are considering. They might even offer classes/seminars/workshops that specifically cover the process of doing business in that particular location – like a seminar where the head of the local business/licensing department is a featured speaker at an event. Such a seminar might include: what forms are required, how to get and submit them, the cost if any, and much more.
Yes, even the IRS provides a wealth of information, forms and related resources to help you get started as a franchisee. Of course, it behooves them to do so for obvious reasons. Visit their dedicated, official site for new business owners at http://business.usa.gov/ .
Becoming a franchisee has always been an attraction for the savvy entrepreneur. Like any business, the landscape continues to evolve. Where once there was only a gravel road between any two points on the franchising map, that road has morphed into a slick superhighway of information, opportunities, and resources known as the internet. Still, just like in the early days of driving from your local neighborhood to visit relatives via the interstate highway, you still need a map and directions to keep from getting lost. When you are preparing to hit the virtual highway of franchising, pay attention to the signposts along the way. It could mean the difference between getting lost in the middle of nowhere and arriving safely at the Brass Ring of your adventure – your destination, your goal of being a successful franchisee.