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Eric Parker and Kurt Illetschko - Franchising Plus

Much depends on the correct Introduction

A franchise is granted, never sold. Professional franchisors know that a franchisee who performs below par will damage the brand. He/she is also likely to suffer severe financial losses. For these reasons, they are very selective. They will ask very many questions and investigate the prospect's background, abilities, likes and dislikes thoroughly before awarding a franchise.

Why is a selection process necessary?

A successful franchisee needs to perform a balancing act between being an entrepreneur and adhering to the franchisor's rules; not everyone is comfortable with that. Indeed, experience has shown that truly entrepreneurial individuals who want to do everything their way do not make good franchisees.

There is yet another issue to consider. It happens time and again that individuals are attracted to a brand for the wrong reasons. They see what they want to see, happily sign the franchise agreement and make the necessary investment. It is only after they have taken possession of their franchise and are exposed to the reality of the daily grind that they realise that they lack passion for the business and want to get out of the deal. At that point, they have only two options, neither one particularly attractive. They can:

  • Attempt to sell the business. Because the business has just been established and doesn't have a track record, this is almost certain to result in a substantial financial loss.
  • Stay put. Because the passion is lacking, the franchisee will be miserable at least most of the time. It will not take long for customers and staff to notice the owner's lack of passion for the business, and the business won't develop as expected. This, too, could result in hefty financial losses.

The profile of the "ideal franchisee"

Drawing on experience garnered during piloting and by observing existing franchisees, responsible franchisors will have developed a profile of the "ideal franchisee". Prospects are assessed against this profile and only those who match it closely will be accepted.

Should a prospect qualify overall but display specific shortcomings, these can be addressed. Examples of remedial action are to give the prospective franchisee additional training in certain areas of business management. Another option is to encourage him/her to take on a business partner or employ an individual with complementary skills.

How is the selection process carried out?

The profile of the ideal franchisee is not a standard document but has been developed to match the needs of the specific franchise. Depending on the nature of the business, it involves some or all of the following processes.

  • One-on-one interviews conducted by several experienced members of the franchisor's team.
  • Thorough background check, including verification of the prospect's professional and financial capabilities.
  • A panel interview. The panel consists of experienced franchisor representatives; some brands include a franchisee representative.
  • Psychometric testing. This is done by professionals with experience in franchisee selection and the results are evaluated by a qualified industrial psychologist. Experience over many years has shown that the test results are surprisingly accurate.
  • Observation of the prospect in action. In some ways, this could be described as the acid test. The franchisor invites a pre-qualified prospect to work for a few days in one of the brand's outlets, usually a company-owned unit.

By working in the different departments of the brand's business, the prospect enjoys a unique opportunity to get a feel for the business. Any romantic notions the prospect may have harboured about the business will not survive.

At the same time, the franchisor has an opportunity to observe the prospect in action. It will become clear whether he/she has the right attitude and aptitude for the role of franchisee of this particular brand.

This is an important step because it allows both sides ample opportunity to establish whether a good fit is likely to develop over time.

What role does finance play?

As a rule, franchisees own their franchised outlets outright and are expected to come up with the necessary finance. For reasons explained above, this should never override the other criteria. As a matter of fact, it would be unwise to accept an unsuitable candidate into a franchise merely because he/she can support the necessary investment. By the same token, an outstanding candidate who is unable to come up with the full investment amount may be offered alternative forms of funding, for example by matching him/her with an investor or through a joint venture arrangement with the franchisor.

Franchising Plus can assist in your recruitment efforts through our E test, a psychometric assessment done by the international company SHL, and also with advertising the opportunity on our Whichfranchise website. If you would like further information, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.