Even if you’re not using a broker to find franchise brands to consider for purchase, you still need me – or at least my information. Although I’ve spent just a couple of years working with franchise-focused technologies, I’ve spent many years in business marketing and digital technology, and frankly; I see a huge gaping hole in many of the “advice” articles with recommendations for how you should go about evaluating a franchise for purchase.

For most potential franchisees, the process for choosing their best business opportunity goes something like – research/discovery, fall in love with a concept, pass the franchisor’s tests, decide to accept the risks and rewards and then sign on the dotted line.

According to a June 19, 2014 article in The Street, franchising as a business model is alive and well.

“Thanks to the increased availability in credit since the recession, franchised brands are growing again. The IFA says that seven of the 10 business sectors that it tracks franchising in are adding jobs faster than the private sector as a whole.

As of the first quarter, 203 new business concepts went the franchise route in 84 different sectors. Some 1,498 units were opened by these newbies, according to a report by independent research firm FRANdata. (That number includes both franchised locations and company-owned units.) The report projects another 2,500 units from the newcomers over the next year. New concepts are young brands that have recently converted into a franchised business or start-up concepts that are only entering the franchised market, the report said. Some 65% of the brands that entered franchising in the first quarter were non-food concepts, the report said. “Just because a franchise is opening lots of locations, doesn’t mean it’s a sustainable business,” says FRANdata CEO Darrell Johnson. “Franchising is a business model that follows opportunity and opportunities in the business sector are trend based and so trends take multiple years to evolve,” Johnson says.

Potential investors should thoroughly review a company’s Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD), a document that franchisors provide to prospects that provides a variety of aspects to the business including supply sources, financial statements, any litigation and general background on the company, among other things.

Other factors to consider when deciding on a franchise: how long locations have been open, net location openings in any given year; and growth potential of the concept’s given industry. Finally, investors should talk to established franchisees in the system.”

Marketing-Plan2So what does all this have to do with you needing me – or my information? I propose to you that the recommendations in this article and many others about evaluating a franchise opportunity are missing a critical – if not THE MOST IMPORTANT element in your decision-making process. You must evaluate the Marketing Plan and understand the brand’s reputation both online and offline.

Effective marketing is the lifeline of every business – the ability to get clients or live bodies into your location, ready to pay money for your products or services is paramount to your success. In evaluating a franchise brand’s marketing program you should be digging into the details of not only what will be expected of you, but also into understanding if the brand’s current marketing is performing well. Is there REALLY enough support for individual locations? Is there a reasonable balance between paid and organic digital marketing efforts?

Cadence9®’s franchise 360™analysis and reporting on a brand’s social media and content marketing activities can answer these questions and more, and is positioning to be able to help people considering buying a franchise. A franchise is assigned a score for the corporate brand as a whole and for individual locations. In future months, Cadence9® will be creating publicly available reports and awards for the best-performing social media and content marketing efforts in franchise. We are pleased to be able to begin to help franchise candidates truly understand the digital marketing profile of brands they are interested in prior to signing a contract for purchase.

Want more information about the franchise 360™or a brand you are considering joining? Or, if you are a franchise brand interested in the franchise 360™report findings for your organization please contact Cadence9® at your earliest convenience.