Franchise Ownership Advice From An Expert: Q&A With Karen Shoeman

Take advantage of expert answers on making a smart franchise investment.It’s a huge step for you and your family to invest in a franchise, and if this is your first time investing, you probably have a lot of unanswered questions about the process. You’re not alone.

In this article, you’ll get direct answers to some of the most common questions prospective franchisees have about franchise ownership, provided by Karen Shoeman, Franchise Development Manager for Relax The Back. Take this opportunity to learn from the expert advice she has to share with potential franchise owners.  


Insight From A Franchise Expert

How do you know if a franchise brand is the right fit for you?

To determine whether you’re right for franchise ownership – or whether franchise ownership is right for you – start by researching your options. Find a brand that you could see yourself working with, one that’s open to answering all of your questions.

Make sure that the brand you’re considering aligns with all of your core values and interests. To get this insight, talk to existing franchisees. They have experience with the brand and should be able to give you an accurate depiction of what franchise ownership is like.

Finally, talk to your family about whether this is a viable financial option for your future. The decision impacts everyone, so you need to make sure they’re on board!

What advantages does franchise investment have over starting your own independent business?

Many entrepreneurs envision starting their own business as a journey they take independently. But, starting your own business in a franchise network has a number of advantages over beginning from scratch.

Primarily, there’s already a business framework in place. You’re working with an established brand and an established process. There are fewer variables to anticipate, and you have exponentially more support from your franchisor than if you were operating independently.

What characteristics does the ideal franchise owner possess?

To succeed as a franchise owner, you must be ready to take on a number of roles. You’ll essentially become the vice president of everything! You need to be a people person in order to connect with your customers. You need to be a strong leader in order to effectively manage your location. You need to be a creative problem solver because you have the final say on any and all issues that arise.

How much support should a franchise owner expect from their franchisor?

Franchisees and franchisors should have a close relationship, one that’s built on the support from the franchisor.  Support comes in many forms: sales, marketing, merchandising, management training. But, don’t make the mistake of viewing your franchisor as a crutch. The mark of a good franchisor is their support in helping you take the reins of your own franchise business and run it successfully. After all, it is your business.

What’s the average length of time between signing a franchise agreement and opening your location?

It’s natural to want to get your franchise up and running as quickly as possible, but there’s a lot of time and consideration that goes into selecting the best location. Some stores could open within four months, while others could take a year. It really just depends on the critical component of franchise location selection. We never want to sacrifice location for speed.

What are the best financing options for franchise owners?

It’s ideal for you to have cash on hand to cover the fees of buying a franchise, but if you don’t, you shouldn’t be deterred. There are numerous financing options available to potential franchise owners for securing capital.

Consider third-party financing options, like bank loans, small business loans and 401(k) rollover loans. Research these options and discuss them with your franchisor to see which ones they recommend.

What’s one unexpected challenge a new franchise owner might face?

One aspect that’s often overlooked when considering franchise ownership is the responsibility of staffing your location. There are a lot of staffing and training challenges involved with any business, regardless of the industry or business model. Finding the right team members to help grow your business can be difficult. Ask your franchisor about future training for your staff members, as well as support for yourself during the hiring process.

How do health and wellness franchises put investors on track for success?

Health and wellness is a booming franchise industry worth $540 billion, and growing. It attracts customers from every walk of life and in all markets – people who are seeking solutions to live longer, healthier lives. Health and wellness franchise owners are able to meet those needs.

For example, six out of 10 Americans suffer from back pain, and they’re often willing to invest in whatever product it takes to solve that problem. That means there’s a built-in market of customers for Relax The Back franchisees before their doors even open.

What advice would you give to individuals considering leaving their corporate jobs for the franchise world?

The best piece of advice I can give to potential franchise owners is to research your options thoroughly. You want to make sure a franchise brand is right for you before you make a huge investment. Find an industry you’re passionate about and dive into franchise ownership armed with as much information as possible.

Want more firsthand insight into franchise ownership? View our free webinar featuring Steve Cannata, a multi-unit Relax The Back owner, as he discusses his journey from the corporate world to franchise ownership.

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