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The You Network - Franchising For Serious Investors

Frequently Asked Questions

What IS Franchising? Is it the same as a “business opportunity?”

Franchising is a popular form of business – globally – and it basically involves this:

If a business owner has what they believe to be a successful concept, and wants to expand, they can attempt to raise capital (not always easy without substantial collateral); or they can expand by “franchising” their idea, trademark, business plan and proven operating “system” to investors, who, in turn, operate the franchised business within parameters defined at the time of sale through the Franchise Disclosure Document (and Franchise Agreement.) The Franchising Agreement is generally for a period of 10 years, and can be renewed upon completion of the time period, if both parties agree to do so.

Franchising is NOT the same as a “business opportunity.” Franchising is governed by federal law (and by certain states) and provides its owners with significant legal protection. Business opportunities, on the other hand, are governed by a much less protective series of laws at both the federal and state levels -- therefore offer their purchasers little or no protection. There are many perfectly “legal” business opportunities available – but “biz opp” purchasers need to be aware of the legal structure of their business and its severe limitations.

In addition, business opportunities tend to be much lower priced than franchises (under $50,000), and far less “comprehensive” in their total service offering to a buyer. Whereas most franchises offer a trademark, a proven operating system, training, and ongoing support – many “biz opps” simply provide a self-training book and a product or service – and you’re “on your own.” Some may provide classroom training, and a few more amenities with the “sale” – but overall, you are not getting a proven “system” or any form of ongoing support – you’re just purchasing a concept you may market.

What advantages does franchising offer me – versus “starting my own business?”

Anyone who has operated their own business will tell you “you have to wear MANY hats.” One moment you’re the company accountant, the next moment, the customer service representative, and the next – the marketing director, and so on. It can be overwhelming. AND, because you have so many learning curves to conquer, your chance of failure is quite high. In fact, U.S. government statistics generally indicate that 9 out of 10 new (non-franchise) businesses started, fail.

Franchising takes many of these “hats” away from your plate so that you can concentrate on making your business, and your unique skills, work for YOU. The franchise company has already experienced the learning curves for each required function – and has worked out a solution for each one. So, when you purchase their proven system for operating that business, you also get:

  • Comprehensive training that gives you all you need to get started – including operations manuals and in most instances, back-room instruction, software, and support

  • Professional support staff providing day-to-day (or 24/7) advice and help

  • Easy-to-implement marketing and advertising programs THAT WORK

  • A network of other owners who have “been there, done that” who can help you accelerate your learning curve

The bottom line of the franchising model is that it offers you a business with less risk – as so much has already been done for you. Think about the popular Verizon Wireless ™ TV commercial – where “The Network” is behind you. In effect, this kind of “backup support” is what a franchise provides you, i.e., you are never “alone” having to make decisions in a vacuum.

You should also know that The YOU Network will only show you the safer and more attractive franchise business opportunities – those that have repeatedly demonstrated high levels of success. We also have YOUR interests in mind.

I know what franchise I want…Why shouldn’t I just contact the franchise company directly?

First of all, you need to understand that unlike buying a refrigerator – you are not necessarily “the consumer in control” when you are purchasing a franchise. The better franchise companies have high qualifying standards (your skills, your finances, etc., must meet their defined criteria,) and they expect you to demonstrate that you meet those standards before they will even consider you for their franchise opportunity. As a result, buying a franchise is a lot more like job interviewing. And, just like a job search, the companies don’t necessarily solicit “cold calling” – as they find they have to spend WAY too much time educating people about franchising and their franchise offering – only to learn you weren’t right for their business anyway. In certain instances, if you even try to call the company directly, you will find you can only leave a phone message – and you may not ever hear back from the company.

This is why most of the better companies prefer to work with franchise consultants like The YOU Network. They KNOW that our consultants will have already spent a great deal of time educating you about franchising, and learning about you and your needs in a franchise – before they ever meet you. They KNOW that you are “pre-qualified” and far more likely to be someone that is right for their particular opportunity.

Using a consultant makes far more sense for you as well – it saves you from combing through a plethora of information AND it helps you avoid making expensive mistakes. We have already pre-screened the franchise companies in our private clients group against strict performance standards – and know why certain franchises are better than others for you. And our highly experienced consultants will make sure you “cover all of the bases” as you learn about opportunities as well – including making sure you are always prepared to represent yourself to franchise companies in the very best possible light.

And the best news – it costs you exactly the same, whether you use a consulting service like The YOU Network, or go directly to a franchise company. So you might as well take advantage of the valuable service we provide.

How do you provide this service free-of-charge?

All of our services are complimentary to YOU. However, we most certainly are paid. We are paid by our group of franchisor companies because they value the education and pre-qualifying service we provide them. And because the law dictates that franchise companies cannot surcharge you when you use a consultant – or offer you a discount when you don’t – the price of the franchise to you is exactly the same whether you choose to use The YOU Network, or not.

You should also know that the better franchise companies prefer to work with consultants like those with The YOU Network. They know from experience they will be speaking with a candidate that has been pre-educated, that is most likely a good fit for their business – and, as a result, they will be anxious to spend time with you. You might say our introductions “move you to the top of their list.”

How Is Your “Process” Different or Better Than Other Franchise Consulting Companies?

In general, our approach is simply FAR more thorough, more comprehensive and frankly, more ethical, than our primary competitors. We don’t “short cut” (or eliminate) steps, as many of our competitors do, that are necessary to “learning what you need to learn in order to make an educated decision.” We allow no incentives to get in the way of our offering the absolute best counsel, AND, our consultants are accessible to all clients AFTER they purchase their franchise – not just as they are considering a purchase.

More specifically, you want to know if you’re working with the “right” franchise consultant, correct? Well, a lot depends upon what you want to accomplish – and what you want to avoid. The field of “franchising consulting” has become very confusing, and in some instances, complete with “charlatans.” As examples:

  • One of our “franchise consultant” competitors is really nothing more than a franchise company itself. People, just like you, that inquired about buying a franchise, were convinced to buy this “franchise consulting” business instead. They have no experience in franchising, and their qualifications are simply the ability to “write a large check.” These “consultants” will try to lead you to a franchise that they want you to buy (and not necessarily one that is right for you) so they can receive a large referral fee.

  • Another large firm is franchising its concept in various markets around the world, and has a tendency to sell its concept to highly under-qualified individuals – without even a business background, let alone a franchise background. Not only do these people “fail” as consultants over time because they do not have the experience to represent the industry or service properly, they also do their customers (in need of valid counsel) a severe disservice, and in some instances, even mislead them.

  • Another competitor has recently converted itself to a franchise company like the one above, but this company really does require that each prospective “consultant” have some industry experience. This company, while highly competent, works with a very limited inventory of franchisors (less than 60 companies) and may not be able to lead you to the kind of business you need. They also specialize in offering “local” service which is really not necessary.

  • Another large competitor (which is not a franchise) has experienced consultants but tends to play franchisors against each other to encourage larger referral fees. Hence, their consultants will frequently take their clients to the company that pays them the highest referral fee. This particular company is really more of a “broker” than a consulting firm – yet they still call themselves “consultants.” They also have a somewhat limited inventory of franchise companies (those willing to pay highest fees.)

  • If you’re not really serious about buying, and you’re just looking for someone to “match” you to various franchises to see what might turn up, there are many “franchise consulting” services and online “tests” that will point you in a direction. But understand that what they are providing you is akin to a “horoscope.” In many instances, their “matches” are not based upon market-validated or scientific profiling, or even industry experience. So, in other words, you’re just getting their “hunch.”

At The YOU Network, we believe you deserve and WANT better service than that. If speaking with any franchise consultant outside of our company, we strongly recommend you check credentials. Most importantly, find out:

  • the length of time your consultant has been in the franchise industry

  • the number of companies they represent (anything less than 75 companies may limit your choices) and whether or not these companies have been pre-screened for performance (The YOU Network offers only companies with very high owner success rates)

  • whether or not they offer integrity (flat fee) pricing, where ALL of their franchisor clients pay the exact same fee, and as a result, there is absolutely NO CHANCE you will be led or “matched” to a company simply because they provide your consultant a greater referral fee

  • whether their “matching” software or “test” has been market-validated or built specifically for franchising

  • what services they offer beyond just “franchise matching” – and, in particular, the support they will provide you once they introduce you to your “franchise matches”

This company was created to provide people an honest, professional, and ethical choice. So if you’re serious about considering franchising and working with the best companies – then you want to work with The YOU Network. We’re the seasoned pros (minimum of 20+ years experience per consultant), the “grey hairs,” the folks with REAL business experience. We provide a FAR more comprehensive service to you – beyond just “matching” – and because ALL of our franchisor clients pay the exact same fee, there is absolutely NO CHANCE you will be led to a company, simply because they provide a greater referral fee.

To even better understand what sets us apart, here’s a sampling of what we DO and DO NOT provide you:

  • We help you assess your skills, financial needs, strengths, weaknesses, aspirations and lifestyle requirements – BUT without gimmicky and unscientific personality “tests” that are no more than marketing ploys. Only The YOU Network utilizes the proven, market-validated Franchise Navigator™ program to assess your individual values and strengths vis-à-vis various specific franchise models. And Franchise Navigator™ is just one tool used by our consultants in ultimately directing you to appropriate franchises. Our consultants supplement the Franchise Navigator with their hard-earned industry experience in order to provide you the optimum counsel and direction you want.

  • We direct you and introduce you to the appropriate franchise concepts that meet your needs – BUT only to franchise companies that have been pre-screened to our rigid performance standards, and that are far more likely to weather the current economic storms -- not just any franchise that is in business and is willing to pay a referral fee. All members of The YOU Network’s private client group pay exactly the SAME referral fee – so our consultants have no financial incentive to refer a qualified individual to one company over another. Our ONLY incentive is to see if there is a strong match between an individual and a member of our client group.

  • We continue to work hand-in-hand with you as you investigate your franchise concepts, so that your evaluation process is focused, thorough, and you learn what you initially need to know about franchising – AND we can be available to you even AFTER you purchase a franchise. With many of our competitors – once you are introduced to your “franchise matches” you see or hear very little from your consultant again, making your investigation process and purchase both stressful and leaving you more uninformed than you would like.

  • We publish a wealth of educational information that assists you in both your evaluation process and in your post-buy efforts to manage your franchise effectively and efficiently – instead of material designed to “convince you to buy a franchise.” Only a franchisor can sell you a franchise – so our only role is to help you make an informed decision about your future.

In short, we provide a service similar to that of a “buyer’s agent” in the world of real estate – only with a few “twists” unique only to franchising that serve to your benefit . And, just like a buyer’s agent, our services to you are complimentary.

Why Do I Have To Fill Out Profile Forms? What Do You Learn From Them?

Our private clients group of franchise companies consists of opportunities ranging in price from $50,000 to over $2 million. Some of them require industry experience, some not. Some require strong sales and marketing skills, some not. Some require an owner to hire up to 50 people in order to be successful – and if you’re not comfortable managing people, this would hardly be a fit for you. Some require working an 80-hour work week, some an average 40-hour work week. And the list goes on…

The truth is, no two franchise companies are the same. And in order to guide you to the appropriate company, we have to get to know – in depth – what you’re “good” at doing; what makes you “want to get out of bed in the morning and go to work;” what you “like to do or don’t like to do;” how you intend to finance your business; how much you are looking to spend on a business; when you’re looking to open up your business…and more.

With this profile information (and more – see Franchise Navigator™), we will be able to guide you and suggest franchise opportunities that meet your appropriate personal criteria. If you tried to screen franchises on your own, you would be reviewing among the 3500 franchise opportunities available today – and quite frankly, this level of search would be exhausting for any buyer.

Remember, The YOU Network has already done a lot of “up-front” work for you. Our private clients group has been pre-screened against strict performance criteria, resulting in a list of companies we believe to be the best opportunities for investors like you. We have companies in every category imaginable – including such popular categories as food, automotive, in-home services, retail, and business—to-business.

Will My Personal or Financial Information Be Kept Confidential?

Absolutely – this information cannot, by law, be shared with or sold to anyone without your permission. When you enter the data onto the computer form, you will note that the information is also encrypted, protecting it from potential computer fraud as well.

Do You Share My Personal Information With Franchisors?

Only if and when you give us permission to do so. Obviously, it is to your advantage to share this information, as the franchisor will otherwise simply ask you many of the same questions and thus duplicate your efforts. Nevertheless, we value your privacy and ALWAYS request your permission in this matter. In fact, this is an area where we differ from most of our competitors, who do not consistently hold your personal data or comments confidential with franchisors.

How might I know if I have “what it takes” for franchising?

Obviously, the real proof is “in the pudding.” NO ONE can absolutely predict or promise your success in franchising. YOU have to make it work, having been given the tools to get started. That being said, there is a great deal you can do to better ensure that you purchase a franchise that is more closely aligned with your unique skills and needs – and you will receive the support you need and want. And, of course, this is the service The YOU Network provides you.

If we do not believe we have a franchise that meets your needs, we would let you know quickly so as to not waste your time – or our franchise companies’ time.

Can I afford to buy a franchise?

Franchise opportunities range in price from as low as $50,000 – to into the millions of dollars. In order to assess “affordability” you need to look at the amount of liquidity, or cash, you have available – so that you can cover your personal needs until your business begins to show a profit– and the total cost of the franchise.

As a guideline, the minimum requirement to qualify for most lower- priced franchise opportunities tends to be $40,000 liquid and $200,000 net worth – plus “cash to live on.” As most franchises are financed beyond a cash down-payment, you will likely need to understand how financing works. Your TYN consultant can help you understand what you can most likely afford, and what your financial options might be.

How do I obtain financing?

Even in today’s market, financing IS obtainable. However, if your credit is poor, you probably should wait until you improve upon your rating before you consider purchasing a franchise -- or credit might be hard to find.

Each financing option comes with its own set of requirements – so in order to understand which might be most appropriate for you, we recommend you discuss your financing options with your consultant – who will then introduce you to experts who can guide you as needed.

What Is An FDD?

The Franchise Disclosure Document is the document that a franchise company is required by federal law to give to a prospective franchise buyer before the franchise can be purchased, and includes a wealth of information about the franchise, including:

  1. The history of the franchise and its officers and directors.

  2. A complete description of the business to be franchised.

  3. All costs and fees that you will be subject to under the agreement.

  4. All obligations of either party to the other during the term of the agreement and thereafter.

  5. Any relevant litigation history of the company or its officers.

  6. Any business failures, ownership transfers, franchise agreement terminations or other potentially adverse information relating to the success rate of the existing units in the system.

  7. Audited financial statements for the previous three years for the franchise company.

  8. A list of the existing franchisees.

  9. A complete copy of the actual franchise agreement document.

The FDD’s primary purpose is to provide any prospective franchise buyer with uniform information with which they can make a decision about the purchase of one franchise over another. It is the most important and valuable document in your “learning process” about a franchise.

The YOU Network consultant assigned to you will spend a great deal of time with you, helping you understand the purpose, the content and the value of the FDD. This, again, is one of the reasons why you benefit from having a franchise consultant. They will ensure you fully understand this document, before you make any decision about a franchise.

I want to have my business up and running as soon as possible – how soon can I get going?

The simple answer is – as quickly as 30 days or as long as a year. Obviously, every franchise business will have slightly different requirements, but here are a few considerations that will help you get a sense of timing possibilities:

  • If your business is RETAIL, you will, of course, need to find a site, unless you already own a building or have space that meets the franchisor company’s requirements. This process can take you, on the average, 1-6 months. The Franchise Agreement will generally include specific requirements regarding site selection and many franchise companies even can provide you with assistance in this process.

  • You need to know when your franchisor conducts their initial training program. If you have missed the enrollment deadline for the nearest date, you will have to wait until the next available class. It always pays to have a conversation about this with your franchisor as you are investigating the opportunity.

  • Your financing can take anywhere from 30 days to 6 months, depending upon complexity. The rule-of-thumb, however, is 30-60 days. Again, the sooner you begin this process, the better – particularly if you desire to take advantage of peak seasons and have a strong need to open “on time.”

  • You may have hiring requirements – or family commitments – that can affect your ability to open. Be sure to “clean your slate” of family needs – and focus on networking within your community early, so that you can get a jump on hiring.

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Yes, I would like to take advantage of the free service provided by The YOU Network in the United States. I understand that submitting the following form to The YOU Network does not create any obligation. The YOU Network will contact me via email, or phone to provide additional information about the options and choices available to me. I will not be asked by The YOU Network to pay any fee for their services during this process.

NOTE: While all franchise investments are different, you should know in advance that you will need a minimum of $40,000 liquid capital (cash savings, securities, home equity) and a net worth of at least $300,000 to meet the investment requirements of the quality franchise companies we work with.

ALSO NOTE: If you have money invested in IRA's or 401K's, you may potentially qualify to leverage this to purchase your franchise business - without early withdrawal penalties. For more information, fill out the form below, and discuss with your consultant.

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