Welcome to our monthly series “Meet Our Consultants,” where we’re putting the spotlight on our local franchise matchmaking experts. These franchise specialists work with individuals every day that are interested, considering or ready to become business owners. 

Let’s meet …

Gary Prenevost, Franchise Consultant of FranNet of Southern Ontario and Eastern Canada 

Q: How long have you been with FranNet Canada?
A: I have been with FranNet for 13 years; since June 2002. Best decision I’ve ever made!!
 
Q: Tell us a little about your background.
A: I’ve been an entrepreneur for 25 plus years. I started out in banking. After 7 ½ years, I joined my family’s business as we went through a period of growth. Eventually I got my start in franchising, and it’s been a passion of mine ever since.
 
I’ve been on all sides of the franchising table. First as a franchise recruiting executive for a national training organization, then as a franchisee when I decided to invest into the franchise. In 1997, a partner and I took over the entire organization as a business format franchisor.
 
I joined FranNet in 2002. As a franchise consultant I help people considering business ownership find a franchise opportunity that fits their skillsets, lifestyle and goals. I’m also a member of the board of directors for the Canadian Franchise Association and master franchisor at Alair Homes for Ontario and Manitoba.
 
Q: Why did you decide to get into franchise consulting?
A: Throughout my career I’ve been actively involved in the franchise industry, from building my own franchise to volunteering with the Canadian Franchise Association. Before joining FranNet Canada, however, one of the things I saw a lot of was the “selling” of franchises. The problem with that is that people can be sold the wrong business – a business that doesn’t fit their objectives and skills. I saw becoming a franchise consultant as an opportunity to solve that dilemma and help people find the optimum business for them.
 
This is one of the coolest businesses because I literally get to help people build their lives. It’s tremendously rewarding!
 
Q: What do you like most about what you do?
A: I like being able to help people minimize the risk involved in owning their own business. I like helping them do the research necessary to find the best opportunity for them and fully understand the business that they are considering so that they can get to a defensible YES/NO decision. Through our franchise exploration process, they are able to get a better idea of the risk and opportunity that they are considering taking on.
 
Q: What is the first conversation you have with a new client?
A: The first conversation I have with a new client is focused on getting a sense of where they are in their life. It’s important to establish that this is in fact the right time for them to consider business ownership.
 
I also want to know what it is that they want a business to achieve for them, and why they want to consider this direction. I look at a business as a vehicle. In other words, how can this business serve as the vehicle to achieve their objectives?
 
This is also the time we establish expectations. It’s a lot of work to find the right business; are they prepared, do they want to go into the research process? Many people don’t have a clue what business they want. My job is to help them broaden their perspective so they can make more informed choices.
 
Q: What are the top three frequently asked questions you hear from clients?
A: One of the most frequently asked questions I hear from aspiring entrepreneurs is how much money can I earn?” They want to know if they can make a six-figure income from franchise ownership. And my answer … it doesn’t matter how good the business model is; it has to be in line with your skills and capabilities. How well you are able to run the business will be the primary factor that will determine your profitability.
 
Another commonly asked question is in regards to the royalty fee. What is a fair royalty? Working together, we review the value of the opportunity and determine how much value they would get from the royalty dollars. And through the research process we decide if that balance is where it needs to be for them to feel comfortable investing into the franchise.
 
Finally, “what’s a hot franchise these days,” is a common question, and it’s one of the least relevant. It doesn’t matter what is “hot” right now. Just because a franchisor is selling a lot of franchises does not mean that it’s a good business or the right business for you.
 
Instead, I recommend that you start your search by assessing your skills and lifestyle goals. Then, look for a good business model, one that aligns with your capabilities and can serve as the vehicle to achieve the goals and objectives you’ve set.
 
Q: If you could give just one piece of advice to individuals who want to become a business owner or own a franchise business, what would it be?
A: Make absolutely sure you understand what the critical roles of the owner are for driving success in the business you’re considering. And make sure that you are capable of performing those roles well. 
 
If you’re interested in franchise opportunities throughout Southern Ontario and Eastern Canada, contact Gary Prenevost at www.frannet.com/gprenevost or connect with him on LinkedIn.