Entrepreneurship can be a tremendous opportunity to steer your life and career in the direction you want. While it can be distinctly rewarding, owning a business comes with a fair share of struggles. Starting a business requires vision, hustle, capital, and grit. Research shows that one in four entrepreneurs fail at least once before succeeding. Richard Branson launched 400 companies before he founded Virgin Galactic. If you don’t have the time, patience, or money to weather 400 tries before you get your entrepreneurial break, there is good news. There is a shorter path to success for aspiring business owners. Franchising offers a way to build on business models that have already been proven to be successful. As a result, the time to profitability is often less and the amount of back-breaking effort is typically less too.
Thousands of franchise opportunities exist in hundreds of different industries, including automotive repair, health care, fitness, food and restaurants, pet care, beauty, home service, retail, and technology, and all of them offer attractive prospects. But this abundance of options can make it difficult to choose the type of franchise that would be the best match for you. In some cases, it can even become an obstacle to making progress toward realizing your dream of opening your own business. At CMIT Solutions, we’ve been in the franchise world since 1996, making us the most established IT franchise in the industry. And in that time we’ve learned a few things about this decision-making process, so to help you out, here are 9 questions that we’ve found help people narrow in on the type of franchise business that is the perfect fit for their goals, their budget, and their personality.
- What are your business goals? Some aspiring entrepreneurs want to establish a legacy of financial security for their family. Some want to be their own boss and use the skills they’ve mastered in the corporate world to carve a personally meaningful path of achievement. Some want to make a difference in their communities and open up new employment opportunities in their local area. While others want to slow down after suffering burnout in a fast-paced corporate environment. Ask yourself why you’re considering a franchise business in the first place—is it to reach a short-term milestone, is it to build a long-term legacy that can be passed forward, or is it to reach a personal net worth goal that reflects your professional achievements? Be honest as you set goals and draw up your research and evaluation plan.
- What are your personal goals? At CMIT Solutions, we hear common themes from prospective entrepreneurs: they’re tired of grueling schedules, demanding bosses, and unreasonable requests on their personal time. The drain on their emotional, mental, and physical well-being—especially after two-plus years of pandemic disruptions—is never-ending. Being a small contributor in a large international corporation isn’t for everyone. The good news? An alternative does exist. Buying a franchise offers potential entrepreneurs the ability to live and work in their local community and to set their own schedule to accommodate family priorities and a healthy focus on other interests too. If you’re looking for a better work-life balance and the chance to develop your own business, the franchising industry could be right for you.
- Does the franchise have a track record of success, a proven sales record, and a profitable business model? When you pay franchise fees, you should receive a play-by-play business plan that outlines each step of the process for a new business owner. This is even more valuable if the franchise you select has demonstrated that it can succeed. Pay attention to the past performance of other franchisees, the details provided about the revenue model, and the blueprint for sales and marketing methods. At CMIT Solutions, we’re regularly ranked number one in Tech Services by Entrepreneur Magazine and in the upper quartile of their Franchise 500® list, a purely objective ranking based on financial strength, stable growth rate, and size of the system. Our business model is also rooted in recurring revenues, which can help you build true asset value—not just collect one-time payments or bill for service calls.
- Is the market growing? If you’re going to buy a franchise and start a business, you want it to be in a market or industry that is growing, not declining, with untapped potential, not oversaturation. Technology continues to drive productivity, profitability, and efficiency for businesses, while cybersecurity has become one of the most important elements of day-to-day business success. In the United States, more than 99% of companies have less than 200 employees—and less than 25% of those companies have IT employees or trusted IT partners. Plus, larger enterprise companies often rely on Managed Service Providers for specialized expertise and to augment the capabilities of their internal teams. That gives CMIT Solutions franchisees incredible opportunities to grow as they network with other business owners in their area and provide critical cybersecurity protection against increasingly dangerous digital threats and the technology solutions needed to build their businesses.
- Are there a lot of competitors? Consider how much competition exists in your area for the industry you are considering. Start by doing a simple Google search to look for similar businesses, then ask the company you’re learning about how many franchise owners would be in close proximity to your territory. Good franchise organizations will already have a strategy to handle equitable territory coverage. If you’re in a rapidly growing metropolitan or suburban area, the franchise opportunity could be vast, even with other owners near you. If you’re in a smaller town with a limited number of local businesses, you may want to choose a franchise that doesn’t already have a presence there or consider buying into adjoining territories too. Keep in mind that opportunities for success can still exist even if there are many similar businesses in an area. Look for competitive differentiators that could make your franchise stand out among the competition and explore potential niche subsets of a market that may be currently underserved. CMIT Solutions assigns territories based on research into the number of businesses concentrated in each region. This methodology provides equal opportunities for all franchisees to succeed and grow.
- Is the franchise agreement and franchise disclosure document (FDD) comprehensive and straightforward? The FDD is a legally required document that contains key points about the franchise, including the franchisor’s obligations to a franchisee and all possible fees. By law, the franchisor must provide this document to franchisees before any money is exchanged. Important sections to carefully consider include past or current litigation, payments and revenue model, and turnover. The FDD then forms a core part of the franchise agreement, a binding legal contract between a franchisor and a franchisee that states expectations, obligations, permissions, and restrictions of all business operations. It also specifies the frequency, amounts, and percentages of ongoing franchise fees and payments. You should consult an experienced franchise lawyer to review these documents with you and discuss any red flags.
- How much and what type of investments will be required, including financial resources, physical resources, time commitment, and needed personnel? When evaluating a franchise opportunity, carefully consider the resources that are needed to successfully operate the business. The FDD should clearly outline every requirement. Will you need a physical location? How many employees will you need to hire? How much will it cost to get started? As a service provider business, CMIT Solutions doesn’t require a physical location, and you can scale your team as you grow. Compared to franchise opportunities like retail and restaurants, the investment in an IT franchise like CMIT Solutions is low while the profit margin remains high.
- What kind of feedback do current franchisees offer? This important step of the franchising process can provide invaluable insight—and any franchisor should offer it up gladly, without you having to fight for it. In fact, franchise owner lists must be included in the FDD, and you should be able to talk to a few different owners who can provide you with the pros and cons of their experience. How did they decide to buy a franchise? What was training like? Was the leadership team supportive? Did the launch coaching program help? How comprehensive was the step-by-step checklist for starting their business? Most importantly, would they do it all over again, and if so, what would they do differently? CMIT Solutions has consistently been ranked as a World Class Franchise since 2006 by the Franchise Research Institute. This designation is based exclusively on feedback from franchisees.
- Does this franchise work for you? Once you’ve asked the questions, crunched the numbers, read the contracts, and reviewed the documents, ask yourself this: does this franchise opportunity feel right? Are you comfortable with the people you’ve met, and do they seem comfortable with you? Can you picture yourself as a franchise owner of this company in 1, 5, or 10 years? The decision you make today about purchasing a franchise should feel right to you emotionally as well as financially.
At CMIT Solutions, we’ve helped hundreds of aspiring entrepreneurs on their franchising journey. Potential franchise owners don’t need extensive experience in the IT industry to be a successful member of the CMIT family, either. Instead, we look for character, integrity, passion, and commitment—along with dedication to business success, for ourselves as franchise owners and for the clients we serve.
Learn more about the franchising opportunity available to you at CMITFranchise.com.