Shadow an Existing Franchisee

During this edition of FranNet’s blog, we’re going to suggest an exercise that will give you an intricate look at what franchising is all about. From the owner’s perspective. That’s right. If you’re considering casting off into the world of entrepreneurialism, why not pay a visit to someone who’s already reached the destination? Yes, you should try “shadowing” an existing franchisee. 

Shadowing someone’s workplace has become a lot more common thanks to such initiatives as “Take Your Daughter to Work Day.” Though you may not know it, many police departments across the country offer a Ride A Long program, where you can shadow a police officer on the beat. In our case to be made, the strategic tactic will give the “shadower” a chance to observe a day in the life of a franchisee.

So, if you aren’t already engaged in the investigative process or you haven’t yet reached the validation stage, how can you find an existing franchisee who would be receptive to your request? Easy. You just hit the bricks and ask around. Start simple. Everyone in the franchising business is fairly aware of some of the most popular and common concepts out there. Try your local Subway. Or Jimmy John’s. It might even be one of your local frozen yogurt stores, such as Menchie’s or Sweet Frog.

When you locate a suitable franchise such as these, be sure to patronize the business first. Order a sandwich combo or a treat and get a sense of the place. You’ll need to find out who’s in charge, of course. In doing so, you’ll quickly find out if the particular operation is a semi-absentee model or not! If you’re lucky enough to speak with the actual owner, state your name, your interest in franchising and how you’d like to find a suitable opportunity to shadow his or her day-to-day activities. While you may encounter some initial suspicion from your request, most business owners would be flattered that you asked. Above all, come across as genuine, natural, kind and humble with your request.

Whatever you discuss with the existing franchise owner, you’ll want to be as respectful of their time as possible. Have them suggest the most suitable timetable and time frame for an observational visit. When the day arrives, dress nicely and arrive on time. Keep in mind that your role in this exercise is to observe only. Take lots of mental notes on the things you notice and how they may relate to your own future franchise ownership plans. Don’t interfere with operations and wait for the most suitable time to ask a question.

The franchise operation that you shadow need not be in the same industry as your preference, although it never hurts to try. What you’re trying to learn are the basic differences of your former career and how life as a franchise owner will depart from the norms you’re used to. Perhaps you will find out you had no idea you had to spend so much time on your feet. Or maybe the paperwork part of the business was more than you expected. It’s also quite possible that you’ll become even more energized in your own quest to become a franchisee. It’s all about what you make of it.

Having the chance to shadow an existing franchisee is a unique opportunity. Not only will you get to view the franchise from a business perspective, but from the customer’s point of view as well. Once your shadowing day is over, be sure to give profuse thanks to your host. Take what you’ve observed and learned and apply it to your future investigative process.

Who knows? Maybe someday in the not-so-distant future, a humble entrepreneur will enter the doors of your franchise and ask if they could observe your daily routine to get a feel for your successful business. You should be so fortunate.

• • •

Let’s chat! There’s a local FranNet consultant right in your market who knows that market inside and out – knows the personality of the market – knows the competitive landscape. FranNet has a great track record of assisting individuals on their path to entrepreneurship, and one of our franchise experts would love to provide you with guidance free of charge. Sound like something you might be interested in? Get started here and find your local consultant right now!

Aug 15, 2017