A list of basic franchising terms.
Find out what traits are the most common among successful entrepreneurs.
Why you should research the franchise company and all the owners.
Understand the difference between public and private companies and the implication for a franchise.
Consider the purchasing power of the franchisor and just how much you will save by being in a group with volume discounts.
Commercial equipment is a big investment and many franchisors insist you buy from them.
Every franchise should have an independent association. Find out what it's all about.
A very important document, the FDD (UFOC) can be over an inch thick. It's often difficult reading but also a key.
Most franchisors will inspect your location regularly. Lawyers will also be a part of your life.
Numbers can be manipulated to show you want the franchisor wants you to see. The franchisor may hold all the cards once you have signed on.
Find out all the types of franchises and the industries available today.
A personal story based on a customer comment.
Reasons a franchise may be right for you.
Find out why you should NOT consider a franchise. Reasons include that the franchisor won't give you enough territory protection.
Things that make a particular franchise attractive such as lower royalties.
This decision may impact you for several years. How does it change from the "honeymoon phase" through the early years and onward? You're choosing a lifestyle, not just a job.
A personal story about losing two managers.
Considerations include just how well the franchisor can show you a reason they are different than all the others.
A personal story of a franchise consultant and their affect on me.
Taking into consideration your risk versus reward and where the franchisor is in the life cycle of their business. Are they just getting started or do they have years of experience? Is their product fresh or tired?
Training is critical but cost may be involved.
People need to see that you offer new items or new ways of approaching old issues.
How does a franchisor communicate with you? Do you have to use one of their recommended architects?
A personal story about a franchisee who had a builder abscond with their money.
The culture of the franchisor's company can and will affect you. Do they wear suits everyday? Are they formal? Do they want franchisees that are creative or ones that follow the rules exactly?
A personal story about a franchisee who decided to beat the system and ended up losing it all.
Considerations include whether you allow a distributor to drop ship their product inside your door during the night.
A personal story about the franchisor changing their distribution system.
How much can a franchisor control what works or doesn't work for you?
You may experience a conflict of personalities or backgrounds.
A personal story about not getting a promise in writing.
If the franchisor wants you badly enough, you may get exceptions to your contract. Get it in writing.
Reporting will be a big part of your life.
Deciding on a location is a huge decision.
Not only will you answer to your franchisor but also to your landlord. Understanding your franchise fees and royalties.
Good hiring practices can keep lawsuits away. Make sure you know the laws.
A description of the American With Disabilities Act (ADA) and its affect on your business.
Knowing when a felony on record can be talked about with a potential employee. An overview of payroll taxes (yes, you have to pay them) and worker's compensation. More costs for your business.
Payroll companies and employee leasing companies are two different things. Leasing employees may be a valid option.
The Employee Handbook you create will be your "go to" guide for all your policies and procedures.
What does it mean to be exempt? What benefits should you consider?
When should you do drug testing? What is sexual harassment? How do you recruit managers?
A personal story about a manager going through a difficult time in their life.
Managers need authority and discretion to make certain choices so that they can also be accountable.
A personal story about a rat in a restaurant and the smell of gas creating havoc.
Treating an employee with respect. Following systems when employees must clock in and out of their shifts.
Teenagers need to be protected because they may not have the experience to make the best decisions at all times.
Do you need to give breaks to employees? How does the IRS view you as an owner and the money you make? How should you review an employee?
Do you have the right to have a probationary period for employees? Can they be fired during that time without cause? What do you need to know about training?
Employees can't do their jobs well without knowing what is expected of them. Employees respond best to rewards, not threats.
Firing an employee needs documentation and if the employee fights it, you will need to handle a grievance.
The importance of making sure every aspect of your business is protected.
Credit cards and the safety of their information is your responsibility.
Handling large sums of cash can be a safety and security concern. How to take cash to the bank and make sure it is safe on your premises.
More on cash handling.
Quick scam artists can hit anyone anywhere. They are extremely skilled at what they do.
Your personal and business information is always at risk and must be secure from other employees, customers and vendors. Your responsibility for keeping employees safe.
Vendors coming in and out of your business add another element of risk to your safety and security. Many vendors see all the operations of your business including your office and safe.
You must not let teenagers handle dangerous chemicals or operate certain types of machinery.
Many employees will not want to come into work with the threat of severe weather. How should you handle that? Making sure your computer is always backed up so you can easily recover information in the event of a disaster or failure.
Stay connected to your business by using a security system that enables viewing of your security cameras over the Internet.
A personal story of employee theft about a long-term manager.
When should you call the police? How should you keep employee and customer records safe?
You will have to adhere to all government requirements to open your business.
My personal lesson on opening day and a building inspector.
Dealing with government representatives and paying sales tax.
What is a fictitious name and why do you need one?
You can never avoid or delay required government filings.
What criteria makes you successful?
It's much more difficult to plan for anything until you have a history.
What does a business plan entail?
No one likes to pay for it, but everyone needs it. Insurance can drive up your costs.
My personal lesson with using insurance.
A good franchise business consultant can be invaluable. Understanding labor scheduling and costs.
Motivation and the different stages of life. What can you do to motivate your employees?
My personal views and experience about motivation.
How to communicate with anyone and everyone, one of the best skills to possess as a business owner.
More about communication.
What is a manager log and how can it benefit you?
You must be prepared to market and advertise your business. It's a necessary part of any success.
Understanding the costs of commercial equipment.
Why should you do preventative maintenance on your equipment. Do you need a contingency system for critical components? Using systems to make your life easier.
Audit trails are crucial when you must find information that validates warranties, hiring and firings, contracts, etc. You must have more than one way to recover information if something happens to your normal system. Understanding product costs.
My personal story about the franchisor giving out incorrect information.
You may run lots of products through your business. It is important that you know how to check in large orders efficiently and how to place orders.
You can be liable for just about anything in your business. How to reduce your risk.
My personal lesson about product liability.
There are not too many people that enjoy the everyday tasks of accounting, but you can't get away from it. A good system and self discipline pays off in the long run.
Your relationship with a good accountant is very important. You should find one you feel is on the same wave length as you.
What is cash flow versus profit?
You can't avoid paying sales tax. Understand your responsibilities and where things can go wrong.
What is depreciation and its benefits? How should you handle small cash expenditures?
A look at paying invoices.
A look at extending credit to others and having an accounts receivable procedure.
If you handle a lot of cash, your bank will be a big part of your life. You must check all fees to make sure they will not charge you extra to process the cash.
Credit cards cost you money but unfortunately you don't have a choice.
What does it mean to have a merchant services account? How does it work?
A personal story about experiencing identity theft - but not individually - with my business!
Having your bank accounted debited automatically. What is a money scale and how can it help you?
Written policies can protect your business. Make sure you constantly change policies to reflect new needs. You vendor agreements also need to be reviewed.
Good vendors who actually do what they promised make your job a lot easier.
A personal story about dealing with a vendor.
Businesses get complaints, it's a part of the job.
Customer service involves many things. What is expected of you?
An Infographic describing good customer service.
A personal story about a very special customer.
People only want to wait so long to get their product or service. How to help them wait longer. Dealing with customers who are out to scam you.
Continued learning adds more creativity and excitement to your business.
A small but important task is getting your mail.
Thank you for completing this course. Congratulations!
Cynthia Readnower is an author, columnist, owner of Skinny Leopard Media and Integrated Mindset, LLC and an award winning Life Coach. She spent years in sales and marketing positions for Fortune 500 companies and has owned two restaurants and other small businesses. She received her M.B.A. from the University of Dayton and grew up in Dayton, Ohio. Her interests span the gamut of changing the paradigm of how business is done, drawing out the potential in all people, and using creativity in all aspects of life.