6 Tips When Buying A Franchise

6 Tips When Buying A Franchise…
Make a list of questions and spend the day to meet the team and get answers as well as a feel for the culture of the organization. Find out how deep the franchisor’s organization is and, please make sure you feel comfortable that the franchisor has enough experienced staff to service the franchisees.

By Gary Occhiogrosso
Founder and Managing Partner of Franchise Growth Solutions
Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Starting a business can be a life-altering event both good and sometimes not so good. One of the ways people reduce their risk is to purchase an established brand with a proven business model – a franchise.

Franchising has proved over and over again to give a new business owner the highest probability of success. If you follow the system, choose an experienced franchisor, work diligently, are appropriately funded and understand what you’re getting into then operating a franchise may be a perfect business model for you.

Selecting a franchise and purchasing a franchise combines gut reaction with solid research. Although there are many steps to buying a franchise here are my Top 6 Tips that will keep you moving forward in the process. I recommend never skipping or overlooking any of them.

Tip #1 – Begin With Some Soul Searching
Make a written list of what you believe you’re looking for in a business opportunity. However, for this exercise, you cannot put the words “make money” on your written list. The reason for that is simple. I want you to look inward at your dreams, background, hobbies, likes, dislikes, skills, social and community positions and all the elements that a business would need to deliver to you, despite the money. I know many franchisees and entrepreneurs that dread getting up every day to work their business even though are making all sorts of money. Franchisees that are great at selling or corporate engagement should seek a franchise that puts them in front of customers in a corporate environment, perhaps in the advertising business or financial business. Entrepreneurs that like to craft things or work outside or work with their hands should never seek out opportunities that land them behind a desk or stuck in a shop 12 hours a day. Although ultimately in time you will not be doing the “work of business” keep in mind that in the startup phase you may need to. Moreover, if you don’t like the work or have neither the time, desire or inclination to develop new skills you may never get to the next level in developing your business. If you can’t “see yourself” doing a particular type of work, then walk away, no matter how much money you think you’ll make. Look in the mirror and be honest when you sit down to write your list.

Tip #2 – How Much Available Capital Do I have?
Numerous business reports cite the number one reason a small business fails is that proper thought and consideration wasn’t given to the appropriate capital required to open and sustain the start-up of a small business. A lack of adequate money can destroy you before you even begin. It is crucial that you understand the numbers. Before you start your quest for a franchise, you should access your available liquid capital, your borrowing ability and the net worth necessary to collateralize a business loan. Also, there are various ways to finance your new business. That includes your savings, investments or loans from friends and family, bank loans, SBA loans and using the funds in your 401K to finance the new venture. Once you know the number, you can go shopping, or you may decide you don’t have enough money now and need to create a plan to accumulate the appropriate amount of start-up capital. Your accountant may be able to help you access your investment ability. Keep in mind many accountants (and lawyers) are not entrepreneurial minded or risk takers. Some will attempt to “protect you” by trying to convince you not to go into business. Remember you’re assessing your investing capability not looking for permission. That said, knowing how much you can invest will save you and the franchisor time. In addition, it’ll place you in a better position to succeed.

Tip #3 – Meet The “Parents”
In this case, the Franchisor. Once you’ve selected the type of industry you’d like to be in, its’ now time to search for a company that meets the criteria on the list we discussed earlier in this article. There are many ways to seek out opportunities, Franchise Trade Shows, Websites, Franchise Business Brokers and others. I’ll cover that in a subsequent article. Once you reach out to a franchisor, a franchise sales representative will most likely contact you. At this point be prepared to answer some questions over the phone. You may also be asked to fill out an application before going any further in the process. Many reputable franchisors will not engage in any serious conversation with a candidate without an application. My experience has been that franchisors willing to forgo written applications or skip asking qualifying questions at the start of the process may be desperate to “sell” a franchise. That should be a red flag for you. Beware, because it may be a sign the franchisor is undercapitalized and/or more interested in selling franchises and collecting licensing fees instead of supporting the franchisees long term by focusing on royalties from successful franchised locations.

Tip #4 – Take A Good Hard Look At All The Documentation
Once you fill out the application, the franchisor will most likely interview you over the phone or in person and then is required to issue you a Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD). Depending on the State where you live, you must have the FDD between 10 and 14 days before you can enter into any agreement or hand over any money to the franchisor. You will be asked to sign a receipt that you received the FDD and indicate the date you received it. This disclosure document has all the required information that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and various States require the franchisor to tell you. Please read it and reread it. Have a franchise attorney review the document and offer legal counsel regarding the franchise agreement. Then follow up with the franchisor. I would recommend that if you’re interested in moving forward, it’s now time to meet the franchisor in person (if you haven’t already) by scheduling a Discovery Day. Make a list of questions and spend the day to meet the team and get answers as well as a feel for the culture of the organization. Find out how deep the franchisor’s organization is and, please make sure you feel comfortable that the franchisor has enough experienced staff to service the franchisees.

Tip #5 – Speak With The Franchisees
Your best source of information is going to come from the franchisors customers, that means the franchisees. Call and visit as many franchisees as possible. Since many Franchisors don’t disclose Average Unit Sales and Operating Expenses in their FDD, they can not discuss it with you. Franchisors can only make claims and address financial issues published in their FDD. Be wary of the sales rep that starts telling you how much money the franchisees are making and how much money you can make. This practice of making “earning claims” not documented in the FDD is not only a violation of franchise regulation but also another red flag. However franchisees are not bound by franchise regulation and if they choose, are free to answer any question as long as they do not disclose proprietary information belonging to the franchisor, such as recipes or processes. When visiting the franchisees, build a report, let them know you’re close to making a decision and carefully phrase your questions so that they are not intrusive. I always ask about support and if they had the opportunity to “do it all over again” would they? Keep in mind there will always be a few disgruntled or struggling franchisees. Without knowing all the facts, it’s tough to condemn the system or franchisor. That said, if the majority of franchisees regret their decision or feel that the franchisor is not supportive, then you need to make further inquiries with the franchisor before signing the franchise agreement.

Tip #6 – Ready, Set, Go
Not so fast. Before the franchisor prepares a franchise agreement is it essential to discuss the best way to structure your new company. Many attornies will recommend that you not sign the franchise agreement in your name but instead set up a separate business entity such as a Limited Liability Compay (LLC) or an S-Corp. Seek competent legal advice from a franchise attorney before you sign a franchise agreement or set up a new company.

Franchise ownership can provide you and your family a lifestyle that can not be achieved by working a job for a company. Building a business can be rewarding, exciting and stressful all at the same time. As an entrepreneur, I believe business ownership is the best form of work for many people.

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About the Author
Gary Occhiogrosso is the Founder of Franchise Growth Solutions, which is a co-operative based franchise development and sales firm. Their “Coach, Mentor & Grow Program” focuses on helping Franchisors with their franchise development, strategic planning, advertising, selling franchises and guiding franchisors in raising growth capital. Gary started his career in franchising as a franchisee of Dunkin Donuts before launching the Ranch *1 Franchise program with its founders. He is the former President of TRUFOODS, LLC a multi-brand franchisor and former COO of Desert Moon Fresh Mexican Grille. He advises several emerging and growth brands in the franchise industry. Gary was selected as “Top 25 Fast Casual Restaurant Executive in the USA” by Fast Casual Magazine and named “Top 50 CXO’s” by SmartCEO Magazine. In addition, Gary is an adjunct instructor at New York University on the topics of Restaurant Concept & Business Development as well Entrepreneurship. He has published numerous articles on the topics of Franchising, Entrepreneurship, Sales, and Marketing. He was also the host of the “Small Business & Franchise Show” broadcast over AM970 in New York City and the founder of FranchiseMoneyMaker.com

Getting A Higher Price When Selling Your Restaurant In 2019

Getting A Higher Price When Selling Your Restaurant In 2019
Chris Viscup a prominent New York Business Broker with Transworld said “One of the other most important parts of selling your restaurant is to make sure your books are in order. It will be your job to prove out how much money trickles down to you through the company and what this can look like to potential buyers.

Getting A Higher Price When Selling Your Restaurant In 2019
by Gary Occhiogrosso Contributor
Photo by Rod Long on Unsplash

It’s 2019 and after years of hard work you’ve now decided to sell your restaurant, perhaps to open a different business, or retire or relocate. Whatever the reason, selling a restaurant requires a strong strategy, careful planning, and detailed preparation. In this article, we’ll explore some essential tips and steps needed to put you on a path for a quicker sale at the highest possible price along with a smooth transition.

Let’s Start With First Impressions.

The appearance of your restaurant not only matters to your customers, but it also matters to potential buyers. Bad “curb appeal” on the initial visit may be all it takes for a potential buyer to take a pass on a more in-depth look into the investment potential of your restaurant. Make sure everything inside and outside the restaurant is clean. If your establishment is a free-standing building, then the quality of care for the property will be an early indication of the level of care taken in building and growing the business over the years. Items like trimming the grass, keeping the parking lot and surrounding area clean and free of trash are crucial to curb appeal. Maintaining clean windows & glass doors, polishing handles, deep cleaning the grout in tile floors and shampooing carpeting are some simple things that will pay dividends to the buyers first impression. If the restaurant is a storefront location, then you’ll also need to make sure any cleaning and improvements that may be the responsibility of the landlord are taken care of before showing the business.

Nothing says “I don’t care” or “I’ve given up on this place” more than broken or missing equipment. If your kitchen equipment is not in 100% working order, it may set up doubt in your financial presentation regarding production capabilities. Also, nonfunctional equipment is detrimental to employee morale and productively. Ultimately that lack of productivity shows up on the Profit and Loss Statement (P&L) in the form of increased labor cost. Every part of the restaurant should present itself as credible to handle the current volume as well as to grow the business in the future. Make sure all of your equipment works. I can not emphasize enough to take the time in advance to replace or repair any broken equipment.

Remove personal items you do not intend to include as part of the sale. Doing this helps avoid any misunderstandings later between buyer and seller. For example, your personal laptop computer used for the business sitting on your desk may be mistaken as part of the assets for sale. Later in this article, we’ll cover making sure a complete equipment and asset list is written. However, the cleaner and less cluttered the visual aspect of the facility, the less chance for any misunderstanding when it comes time to negotiate.

And lastly regarding the facility, don’t be afraid to spend a little TLC money. Making a small investment, such as freshening up the paint, or replacing ceiling tiles, or reupholstering a ripped seat cover can go a long way to increase the visual appeal of your restaurant. These quick fixes will have a positive impact on your sale price and the time it takes to sell the business.

Put Your Financial House In Order Now

Presenting an honest, straightforward, financial picture of your restaurant is the most critical factor in determining accurate valuation and sale price. Professionally documented results regarding unit economics, profitability, and true owner benefit are what buyers, their accountant, and lawyer will be investigating in the due diligence phase of the process. Whether or not potential buyers purchase your restaurant depends on whether or not they think it will make money and provide a reasonable return on investment (ROI). Therefore, the financial information you provide to the buyer is the most significant factor in determining the success of the sale.

Ideally, you have practiced clear and organized bookkeeping since you started your business. If not, then arrange financial records going back at least one year before the time you list your restaurant for sale. That way potential buyers will have a trailing 12-month picture of the restaurant’s performance and trending. It is likely that buyers will ask to see a profit and loss statements and a balance sheet. If you are unable to create them yourself, have your accountant prepare them in advance so you do not feel rushed later in the sale process.

Make A To-Do List For Yourself

Financial statements aren’t the only aspect of getting organized. This step also includes creating a written list of all hard assets such as furniture, fixtures, small wares, and equipment. Also, a copy of your lease should be available for review in the due diligence phase of the transaction. Additionally, be prepared to document that all of the restaurant’s bills are up to date. Be ready to prove in writing that your sales and payroll taxes are current and paid in full. Employee payroll information needs to be in a presentable format and up to date. A to-do list will help you make sure everything gets done so that the sale goes as smoothly as possible.

The Hunt For Buyers

There are two ways to find potential buyers: find them yourself or hire a business broker. The process of valuation, listing, advertising, and vetting potential buyers is time-consuming and in my opinion, requires professional experience and know how. Although many sellers take this step on their own, a professional business broker can support the process by offering recommendations and presentations that save time and attract more potential buyers.

When you interview brokers, be sure to ask them how long they have been in the business of selling businesses, what their specialty is, how many listings they have now, and how many restaurants they have sold in the past year. Also, ask if they have prepared contracts for this type of transaction and how they plan to determine the value of your restaurant. Discuss their answers with your financial and legal advisors to determine if the broker has the right qualifications, experience, and track record.

One prominent New York Business Broker I spoke with said “One of the other most important parts of selling your restaurant is to make sure your books are in order. It will be your job to prove out how much money trickles down to you through the company and what this can look like to potential buyers. Without this component, you will either fall prey to lower offers than you would otherwise be getting, no offers, or end up with buyers wasting your time and never getting to the finish line. Not having good books leads ultimately to the two biggest deal killers – lack of trust and too much time for the transaction to close. With a good broker and good books, most of the heavy lifting is completed in the beginning, before putting the business on the market. Once you sign with a broker, there should be significant time dedicated to proving out the numbers – what they are, and what they could be. Every minute you spend in the beginning will save 5-7 minutes later.”

On the other hand, if you decide to go it alone and forgo hiring a business broker, then you’ll need to get some additional advice from your attorney and account. They can assist you with the proper valuation and selling price. Setting an unrealistic or emotional price on the business will slow the sales process or cause it to fail altogether. Actions to take also includes advertising and listing the restaurant on websites that post restaurants for sale. Keep in mind professional business brokers also use these websites, so competition exists. However, if you study these websites carefully, you should be able to get a good idea on how to word your ad for better results.

Always Be Ready

Whether you list your restaurant on your own or with a broker be prepared to show your restaurant to potential buyers at all times. Since you may have a buyer visit you unannounced, it means keeping the restaurant clean, fully staffed and well-managed no matter the day and time. You never know when a buyer might drop by to take a look. I also remind my clients that any customer in the restaurant may actually be a buyer doing some research before they contact you.

Once The Buyer Is found

At this point, if you’ve found a buyer and negotiations have been successful, then the final step is the paperwork necessary to complete the transaction. The paperwork usually starts with an “Asset Purchase Agreement.” Your attorney should prepare this document for you. The Asset Purchase Agreement details all the components of the sale. Items such as the sale price, the terms (if you are holding a note), a full and complete equipment list, the amount and value of the inventory you will have at the time of closing, the length of time (if any) that you are willing to train the new owner as well as any contingencies regarding the lease assignment from your landlord and of course a deadline date to close the transaction. Regardless of whether you’re working with a business broker or selling on your own, in all cases, I recommend you have your attorney involved to ensure the Asset Purchase Agreement covers all the various aspects of the transaction.

In addition, once you have a buyer engaged but before the final closing date, you should continue to operate your restaurant as if you are not selling it. Acquisitions sometimes fall through at the last minute, and you don’t want to create extra work for yourself in getting everything back up to par again if that happens.

Plan And Proceed

Smart and detailed planning will minimize glitches and deal-killing problems, throughout the transaction. Business Brokers warn: “The biggest disasters all come with one thing in common – wasted time. Without proper planning, not only may you decide to accept an offer lower than what you desire, but you will lose a good portion of your time getting there. As the saying goes – An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! Make sure you front-load your business and get all the materials you need in order before you sell it.”

I recommend you spend the time upfront, planning the sale, organizing paperwork, investigating brokers and deciding the best time to execute your plan. Selling a restaurant can be a smooth, simple transaction if these tips along with the advice of your accountant and attorney are put into practice.

SELLING & AWARDING FRANCHISES

“In sales, it’s not what you say; it’s how they perceive what you say.”
– Jeffrey Gitome
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Franchising, Be Your Own Boss, Venture, Shark Tank, Mark Cuban, Entrepreneur, Gig Society, Side gig, Franchise your Business

SELLING & AWARDING FRANCHISES
By Gary Occhiogrosso – FMM Contributor

Selling on every level is the principal work in any franchise organization in order to grow your franchise business. Whether it’s selling new franchises or creating systems to support your franchisees to grow their sales or selling your goals to investors, there’so business on the planet that exists without sales.

Have you given thought to the logistics? How do you intend to quickly respond to all the incoming calls, make follow-up calls and address all the prospects questions? How will you ever conduct discovery days, tour prospects to operating units or spend the needed hours to address their fears, concerns and objections? How will you manage your CRM, keep past inquirers in the loop or create buzz that may initiate new buyers and motivate past inquirers to take action now.

A consistent, timely sales effort rules the day. That’s our specialty… We sell! We make the initial contact, we qualify the prospect, guide the candidate through the application process, do the store visits, conduct the meetings & the numerous follow-up calls, the discovery day and work with the prospect each step of the way. You, the Franchisor can stay focused on building the operational side of your business.

One of the most important aspects regarding the franchise sales process is to practice timely response time and create value in the system. That comes from totally dedicated time & focus to the sales process, carefully planning a sales funnel that uses decades of experience, successful track record, industry credibility and franchise industry specific “know how”.

The various steps and numerous hours it takes to close a franchise sale are not something any startup or emerging franchisor should even be thinking about doing on their own.

There is no organization like Franchise Growth Solutions that offers not only a franchise consulting program but also earns its keep by selling franchises for you. It’s our “success-based” upside to offset the low fees for all the other services FGS provides.
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About the Author:
Gary Occhiogrosso is the Founder of Franchise Growth Solutions, which is a co-operative based franchise development and sales firm. Their “Coach, Mentor & Grow Program” focuses on helping Franchisors with their franchise development, strategic planning, advertising, selling franchises and guiding franchisors in raising growth capital. Gary started his career in franchising as a franchisee of Dunkin Donuts before launching the Ranch *1 Franchise program with its founders. He is the former President of TRUFOODS, LLC a multi-brand franchisor and former COO of Desert Moon Fresh Mexican Grille. He advises several emerging and growth brands in the franchise industry. Gary was selected as “Top 25 Fast Casual Restaurant Executive in the USA” by Fast Casual Magazine and named “Top 50 CXO’s” by SmartCEO Magazine. In addition, Gary is an adjunct instructor at New York University on the topics of Restaurant Concept & Business Development as well Entrepreneurship. He has published numerous articles on the topics of Franchising, Entrepreneurship, Sales, and Marketing. He was also the host of the “Small Business & Franchise Show” broadcast over AM970 in New York City.
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ABOUT FRANCHISE GROWTH SOLUTIONS, LLC
Franchise Growth Solutions, LLC is a strategic planning, franchise development and sales organization offering franchise sales, brand concept and development, strategic planning, real estate and architectural development, vendor management, lead generation, advertising, marketing and PR including social media. Franchise Growth Solutions’ proven “Coach, Mentor & Grow®” system puts both franchisors and potential franchisees on the fast track to growth. Membership in Franchise Growth Solutions’ client portfolio is by recommendation only. www.frangrow.com
Contact: [email protected]

The Importance of Franchisors Building Relationships With Their Franchisees

The Importance of Franchisors Building Relationships With Their Franchisees…

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

“Over my forty-plus years representing franchisors, I have seen too many franchisors fail because they do not realize how important it is for their franchisees to succeed and make money.”

The Importance of Franchisors Building Relationships With Their Franchisees
By Gary Occhiogrosso- Founder of Franchise Growth Solutions, LLC.

When Onboarding new franchisees the franchisor should always remember that a common thread to success is the franchisor’s culture of support, co-operation, communication, education, and profitability with their franchisees. Building an ongoing relationship with its franchise community can mean the difference between growing a restaurant brand to hundreds of units or failing before ever making a mark in the industry.

Without these critical components in place, a restaurant franchisee can quickly go “off the rails” and compromise brand standards. It’s not long before many of these franchisees negatively redefine the brand. Poor service, improperly prepared menu items, lesser quality ingredients and overall appearance and cleanliness of the restaurant are just a few reasons why a healthy relationship with your franchise owner is essential.

It Starts At the Beginning.

Creating the proper franchisor /franchisee relationship builds success for both. This relationship building must begin right from the start. Successful restaurant franchisors know that ramp-up time and getting a new restaurant profitable takes smart planning and hard work by both the franchisor and the franchisee. The training, support, communication and ongoing assistance the franchisee receives early on in the relationship can set the tone for the entire term of the franchise agreement.

One of the most crucial steps a franchisor can take begins when selecting a franchisee. Franchisors should conduct an in-depth interview as part of a thorough vetting process. Along with the obvious discussions such as past management and business experience, time commitment to the operation and funding, franchisors must also explore the core business values of the franchise candidate. Spending this time upfront to examine the candidate’s vision, expectations and the overall business plan goes a long way into understanding if the potential franchisee shares common goals with the franchisor. It is also the first step in building brand value and a robust, lasting business relationship.

Increase Your Communication And Reduce Your Failure

New businesses can fail for a variety of reasons. Although the vast number of restaurant failures are due to undercapitalization, it could also be the result of substandard operations, inefficient marketing, poor location and changing consumer trends. In addition, a failure in a franchised restaurant may be the result of the franchisee working outside the franchisor’s branded system. Franchisees can destroy their business by implementing procedures and introducing products that are counterintuitive to the brand image. Franchise owners often lack the time, experience and money to do proper research on a new product or a new procedure, never realizing that it may disrupt the entire system. Conversely, franchisors must always be aware and teach the idea that “everything touches everything else.” Building a healthy relationship and a clear channel of communication with the franchise owner can often prevent franchise owners from circumventing the system in the first place.

Harold Kestenbaum noted franchise attorney who has specialized in franchise law and other matters relating to franchising since 1977 explains: “Over my forty-plus years representing franchisors, I have seen too many franchisors fail because they do not realize how important it is for their franchisees to succeed and make money. Franchising is a two-way street, and to be a successful franchisor, you, as the franchisor, must understand this and make it happen. Franchisors cannot be successful if they think that it’s only them who should make money. Ray Kroc knew that franchising could only work if the franchisees made money along with the franchisor. Supporting your franchisees from the outset, and not when they are choking is imperative and franchisors need to realize this. One such way to make this collaborative effort work is by creating a franchisee advisory board. Franchisors with more than ten franchisees need to implement this without the franchisees asking for this. A franchisee advisory board will show the franchisees that you are trying to make them be a part of the system and that you want their input. Franchising is not an autocratic method of doing business; it is a collaborative method of doing business.”

Looking in the Mirror Helps

It’s easier to blame the franchisee for failure than franchisors like to admit. Franchisee behavior is often a reflection of the franchisor. Some franchisors are quick to dismiss why proper onboarding, relationship building, creating brand value, and adequate franchise support are vital to the success of the new business. When a franchisee loses confidence in the franchisor, it is complicated to turn back. Franchisees stray or “go rogue” because franchisors fail to supply the “rails” that the franchisee must run on.

An open, working relationship between the franchisor and the franchisee is the most important aspect of brand success. Franchisors must take a very active role in the franchise operation, perhaps more than they want. Supplying great tools, conducting superior training, regular visits to the restaurant to evaluate the goals and progress of the business is a crucial commitment a franchisor must make. Communication, transparency, ongoing coaching and counseling are the essential elements of relationship building. The ROI for these efforts will be opening hundreds or even thousands of franchised restaurants locations.

Franchisees Need To Have An Exit Strategy

Identify a qualified advisor who can aid in developing a formal exit plan. An advisor could be an experienced attorney, financial advisor or accountant, who can assist with the various implications and tax issues regarding the sale or transfer of ownership. Surveys of small business owners indicate that their CPA is considered the most trusted advisor.
Establish the primary exit goal, for example, transitioning to a family member, sale to a third party, the franchisor or private equity group.

Franchisees Need To Have An Exit Strategy

Ed Teixeira – Contributor
Relying on 35 years of franchise industry knowledge

Franchisees seek to sell their business for a variety of reasons including burnout, personal issues, retirement or new opportunities. Whatever, the reason, every franchise ought to have an existing exit plan whether the execution of the plan takes place or not.

The Exit Planning Institute reports that: “Roughly six million privately held companies are operating in the United States, with approximately $30 trillion in sales. An owner who is “ready” with an attractive business greatly increases the odds that the business will survive a transition of hands. The question is, how ready are business owners?” Although this report doesn’t indicate whether it includes franchises, we’ll assume these statistics can apply to the franchise industry.

A survey of Long Island business owners was conducted by Dr. Richard Chan of Stony Brook University and Christopher Snider of the Exit Planning Institute. Franchisees should compare the results to their own situation as a franchise owner.

* 74% of businesses are family owned
* 63% have no board of directors or advisory board
* 50% consider ownership transition a top priority but 50% were not ready to transition their business
* 43% had no exit plan
* 17% had a written transition or exit plan
* 60% had not determined what they need to obtain from the sale of their company
* 82% had no outside resource or advisors to assist in an exit plan
* Their most trusted advisor was their CPA

Fundamentals of a Franchise Exit Strategy

Franchisees, whether they operate one or more units should have a written plan in place for either selling their business or transitioning ownership to a family member. For franchisees, this issue is particularly important since unlike independent business owners, the sale of a franchise is subject to franchisor approval, that can require equipment and location upgrades, which in the case of certain franchises can be costly. Many a franchise sales transaction was canceled because neither the seller or buyer would do remodel upgrades. In addition, there are important tax considerations that come into play because of the franchise sale. The lack of an exit plan and the related decisions that need to be made can impact the value of the franchise when it’s time to sell.

How to Begin

Identify a qualified advisor who can aid in developing a formal exit plan. An advisor could be an experienced attorney, financial advisor or accountant, who can assist with the various implications and tax issues regarding the sale or transfer of ownership. Surveys of small business owners indicate that their CPA is considered the most trusted advisor.
Establish the primary exit goal, for example, transitioning to a family member, sale to a third party, the franchisor or private equity group.
Set a range of time for selling or transitioning ownership of the business, such as two-five years or longer.
Decide whether you’ll want to stay involved in the business as an advisor, minority owner, etc. Some buyers want the seller to stay involved for a period of time while others want a clean break. It depends on the buyer.
List those items or actions that could increase the value of the business. Sometimes a few changes can make a major difference in value.
A marginally profitable business can be very difficult to sell, according to BizBuySell, only 20% of all businesses listed for sale actually sell. Finding a buyer on the open market can be a long process. Some businesses can be difficult to value, and the selling price may be much lower than expected.

Payment Terms

Seller financing has always been a mainstay of selling a business. Many buyers are reluctant to pay all cash and use most of their capital. Some buyers also feel that a business should pay for itself and are wary of a seller who wants all cash or who wants the carry-back note secured by additional collateral or personal guarantees. What sellers seem to be saying, at least as perceived by the buyer, is that they don’t have a lot of confidence in the business or in the buyer or perhaps both. However, if we look at statistics, it’s apparent that sellers receive a much higher purchase price if they accept terms.

Studies reveal that, on average, a seller who sells for all cash receives only 70% of the asking price. Sellers who are willing to accept terms receive, on average, 86% of the asking price. That difference on a business listed for $250,000, meaning that the seller who is willing to accept terms will receive about $40,000 more than the seller who is asking all cash, which is compelling reasons for a seller to accept terms.

The Buyers Expect Certain Financial Information

Who does the franchise financials? How believable are the numbers? If the franchise has a bookkeeper, will they let a buyer contact him or her? Can you get a copy of the franchise credit report? Is the franchise on good terms with the major suppliers? Three years of financial information is expected. Equipment contracts or leases or any other financial obligations of the business. They will expect to see receivables and payables and hidden obligations of the business. Be prepared to present some information regarding the performance of the franchise network.

Valuing the Selling Price of the Franchise

The easiest, and probably the most reliable method of putting a recommended selling price on a small business is what is commonly referred to as the discretionary cash flow or the discretionary earnings method. This method is based on the actual earnings of the business and is determined by the profit and loss statement. To figure out the cash flow or actual earnings of the business, it is necessary to make certain adjustments to the profit and loss statement. These adjustments, when added to the profit of the business, determine the “real cash flow” of the business. Add the owner’s salary, perks, family perks, and salary, business trips, company vehicles, and other discretionary expenses. This total cash flow figure is then multiplied by a number applicable to the specific franchise category. For franchises, the average multiple can range from 2 to 4 times SDE. The discretionary earnings method is appropriate for small businesses and franchises many business brokers encourage to use. There are other valuation models available. The Business Brokerage Press sells a Reference Guide for Businesses and Franchises that provides numerous valuation models.

Franchisees should have an exit plan in place to sell their franchise. A formal exit plan will enable the franchise owner to maximize the value of their franchise whether the sale is planned or not.
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About the Author
Ed Teixeira
Ed Teixeira is Chief Operating Officer of Franchise Grade and was the founder and President of FranchiseKnowHow, L.L.C. a franchise consulting firm. Ed has over 35 years’ experience as a Senior Executive for franchisors in the retail, healthcare, manufacturing and software industries and was also a franchisee. Ed has consulted clients to franchise their existing business and those seeking strategic solutions to operational, marketing and franchise relations issues. He has transacted international licensing in Europe, Asia, and South America. Ed is the author of Franchising from the Inside Out and The Franchise Buyers Manual and has spoken at a number of venues including the International Franchise Expo and the Chinese Franchise Association in Shanghai, China. He has conducted seminars, written numerous articles on the subject of franchising and has been interviewed on TV and radio and has testified as an expert witness on franchising. He is a franchise valuation expert by the Business Brokerage Press. Ed can be contacted at [email protected]

With A Focus On Healthy, High Quality Menus, Fast Casual Franchised Restaurants Sprint In A New Direction

As enticing as these food offerings may be to our palate Consumers may find themselves paying almost double what they would at a traditional fast food location. Locally sourced, organic and sustainable food suppliers still see this segment as small compared to conventionally processed ingredients, so access and availability remain a challenge.


Photo by Jade Wulfraat on Unsplash

Quick With A Focus On Healthy, High Quality Menus, Fast Casual Franchised Restaurants Sprint In A New Direction
By Gary Occhiogrosso

As recently as 15 years ago the idea that you could grab a nutritious, healthy and still tasty meal from a drive-thru or fast food restaurant was unheard of. It wasn’t until the post-Y2K era that fast food customers started to become aware with what they ate. As the Millennial generation started spending money on food outside the home the industry has been “forced” to move toward healthier, high-quality menu alternatives. Once begun this movement toward fresher, greener menus have continued to accelerate at an ever increased pace.

Does Better for You equal Better for Business

Consumer attitudes regarding the link between diet and health have shifted. Data shows that Millennials and aging baby boomers are taking a more proactive approach to healthy eating. Many have adjusted their dietary choices to promote better health. The demographic with higher levels of education and more disposable income is pushing this trend forward. These health-conscious consumers take the time to research before they dine out. In addition, they seem more willing to pay higher prices to ensure that what goes into their bodies is nutritious.

With this new consumer focus on nutrition, sustainability and ‘clean food’ comes a revolution in the Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) industry. According to a recent article in Business Leader, 83% of Americans believe that fast food from traditional Quick Service franchises is not healthy. This has created the rise of the ‘better for you’ brands that now compete with fast food quick-service McDonald’s, Burger King, and KFC. For example, healthy quick service brands such as Dig Inn, By Chloe, and Sweetgreen are creating their own niche by specializing in organic, locally sourced meal options that contain more vegetables and fewer calories than traditional burgers and fries.

Quality comes with a Cost
As enticing as these food offerings may be to our palate Consumers may find themselves paying almost double what they would at a traditional fast food location. Locally sourced, organic and sustainable food suppliers still see this segment as small compared to conventionally processed ingredients, so access and availability remain a challenge. As a result, many healthier focused chains are developing altogether new selling propositions by positioning “value with reasons” as a way to compete with the traditional fast food chains of the industry. These “better for you” concepts post nutritional information, health benefits as well as the sourcing and methods used in their products. The emphasis is on local, clean, humanely raised and organic.

One such concept is Salad and Go. Branded as a healthy drive-thru option, Salad and Go offers large salads, smoothies, soup and breakfast with an “Always Organic” list of ingredients. In addition, the brand highlights their competitive prices. Salad and Go currently has in 10 locations in the U.S. with plans to nearly double that number by the end of 2018.

Another U.S. chain, LocoL, offers food made only from local ingredients. Founders & Chefs Roy Choi and Daniel Patterson claim “We at LocoL want to live in a world where eating healthy doesn’t take a lot of money or time.”

New quick service food concepts like these are branding their menu items as healthy, high quality alternatives to the sugar, fat, and salt-heavy meals provided by traditional fast food franchises. Recently developed QSR concepts give consumers a choice. Whether it’s organic, farm to table, all natural, gluten free, vegan or humanely raised, the race to innovate and meet this rising consumer trend has never been more of a priority in the Quick Service Restaurant segment than it is today.

Forcing Innovation in Traditional Brands
As new brands continue to make their mark in the minds of U.S. consumers, established brands are attempting to keep up with changing demands. Fast food chains such as Taco Bell have promised to use cage-free eggs and reduce artificial ingredients, and McDonald’s has started selling antibiotic free chicken, and now cooks many of its items to order and offers more salads. It is yet to be seen if that alone will be enough to keep the long-standing leaders in the QSR industry on top.

Serving up Quality, Quickly and Consistently
These QSR pioneers are faced with the challenge of living up to the expectations of an informed, proactive consumer. These newer concepts must not only live up to the marketing message but also ensure that their operations can provide consistent, quality products in every location. Their business models must be replicable and easily managed. This may also prove to be a challenge when food is being prepared to order using fresh locally sourced ingredients instead of processed or precooked menu items. If they can accomplish these tasks, the potential for growth is unlimited.

Regardless of the challenges facing these new “better for you brands”, the move away from traditional fast food to healthier quick service food options is unstoppable. As a means to address consumer concerns, in late 2017, the FDA announced new regulations requiring large restaurant chains to add calorie counts to their menus by 2018. This, combined with health-conscious consumers, will continue to push these new QSR chains to sharpen their competitive edge by offering a wider variety of great tasting, healthier options. As I see it, the success of the “better for you” fast casual concepts will depend on their adaptability to trends, consistency in product, as well as the price point and expense management.
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About the Author:
Gary Occhiogrosso is the Founder of Franchise Growth Solutions, which is a co-operative based franchise development and sales firm. Their “Coach, Mentor & Grow Program” focuses on helping Franchisors with their franchise development, strategic planning, advertising, selling franchises and guiding franchisors in raising growth capital. Gary started his career in franchising as a franchisee of Dunkin Donuts before launching the Ranch *1 Franchise program with its founders. He is the former President of TRUFOODS, LLC a multi-brand franchisor and former COO of Desert Moon Fresh Mexican Grille. He advises several emerging and growing brands in the franchise industry. Gary was selected as “Top 25 Fast Casual Restaurant Executive in the USA” by Fast Casual Magazine and named “Top 50 CXO’s” by SmartCEO Magazine. In addition, Gary is an adjunct instructor at New York University on the topics of Restaurant Concept & Business Development as well Entrepreneurship. He has published numerous articles on the topics of Franchising, Entrepreneurship, Sales, and Marketing. He was also the host of the “Small Business & Franchise Show” broadcast over AM970 in New York City and the founder of FranchiseMoneyMaker.com

Building a Trusting, Engaged, and Accountable Workplace Culture

“What is the culture of this company” to a front-line staff member, the receptionist, the janitor, or anyone in between and you will receive a different answer.

Company Culture – What does this Mean?
By Jennifer Cook, Chief Operations Officer
http://www.symbiancehr.net/

When working with our clients we often have the leadership team explain to us what the culture of the organization is. Sometimes it is comprehensive, other times the description is brief, and still other times the culture sounds oddly like a list of core values. Unfortunately, for most organizations, if you ask the same question “What is the culture of this company” to a front-line staff member, the receptionist, the janitor, or anyone in between and you will receive a different answer. It is a discouraging fact, however, it should also be a wake-up call for leadership to consider their efforts to reinforce the desired culture and message the cultural goals so it permeates across the enterprise.

Remember, culture is simple terms can be defined as the actions and behavioral norms of the organization. Therefore, regardless of what you think the culture is, or what you desire it to be, if you do not influence and impact the behaviors of the workforce to model and demonstrate the desired culture it will not exist.
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It is important that all employees within your business work together and share accountability. Employees who work together towards the same overall goal to help their workplace to become more accountable, in turn, make the business more productive and successful.

The Impact of Failed Accountability
By Laura Goad, HCM Consultant

Great leaders know that positive accountability creates a culture of trust, engagement, and excellent performance. The impact of failed accountability can be detrimental to your business. When employees do not have a system of accountability in place, things can quickly fall apart. Lack of accountability causes a culture problem within your business. When no one trusts each other at work to do what they are assigned to do, employee morale suffers. Employees feel like they can’t trust their supervisor. They feel undervalued, and when employees aren’t feeling valued, they are less likely to be engaged with their work.

Lack of accountability in the workplace often stems from ineffective leadership practices. To achieve the goals of your business, it is important that all employees within your business work together and share accountability. Employees who work together towards the same overall goal to help their workplace to become more accountable, in turn, make the business more productive and successful.

Change your workplace culture so that accountability is included. Lead by example. Make sure employees know that they’ll be accountable for their work by creating guidelines about how you’ll monitor their productivity. Set weekly goals and deliverables, which will in return motivate employees to complete takes on a regular basis. Finally, praise them when you find them doing things right.
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About SymbianceHR
The seasoned professionals that make up the SymbianceHR Team bring to the table over 40 years of hands on experience in all areas of Human Capital Management.

Small and medium sized business seem to be placed in an area where they find themselves either too small to have an in-house Human Resources department (HR) or not large enough to have the resources necessary to keep the in-house HR staff up to date on recent modifications, additions and new policies.

In essence, a large portion of the small to medium sized business are operating out of compliance, or in an ineffective, and costly manner. Much in part to the fact that they have either not exercised discipline in the area of Human Resources or have mistakenly seen it as an expenditure entry as opposed to a cost reduction source.

With an abundance of resources, our Team stands ready when our clients, or potential clients, need us most. Whether that is for covering questions or concerns pertaining to: hiring, firing, benefits, employee retention, compliance, or lack thereof, regulatory updates, and recordkeeping or a quick study of current policies and procedures for conformity.

One of a business’s greatest assets is their employee base (Human Capital), however with that great asset comes, at times, great challenges. We work with our clients to guide them through the challenging times as well as the not-so-challenging, assisting them toward accomplishing their goals, while often saving them time, money and stress in the process.
http://www.symbiancehr.net/
SymbianceHR – Your Challenges. Our Solutions. A Successful Relationship.

PEOPLE HAVE TO EAT, DON’T THEY? – WHAT’S HAPPENING ON MAIN STREET?

We have pointed out many times that the restaurant industry is a great leading indicator for the economy as a whole. If that theory prevails, there is no boom ahead.

RESTAURANT INDUSTRY – PEOPLE HAVE TO EAT, DON’T THEY? – WHAT’S HAPPENING ON MAIN STREET?
By Roger Lipton

While the restaurant stocks mark time this summer, at historically high valuations, it is a good time to consider the major trends within the group.

There has been little specific news, since quarterly earnings reports for the period ending 6/30 or 7/31 have yet to be released. However, we can surmise what’s happening in a general sense, and consider whether there have been any major “inflection points” that we can take advantage of. In short, though the general economy, as reported by our “business friendly” administration, is picking up steam, there is little in the hospitality sector, including restaurants and retail, that indicates there is any growing momentum.

To be sure, there is more comfort and confidence by consumers as well as restaurant operators than there was a few years ago and especially back in ’08 and ’09. The public is more secure in their employment, though wage increases are still lagging the numerical employment statistics. The general economy may be on the verge of 4% real GDP growth in Q2, but same store sales and traffic are showing very modest progress.

According to Miller Pulse, Fast Food (QSR) same store sales were up 2.2% in June, the same as May, up just modestly from 1.6% in April and an average of about 0.8% in Q1 which was negatively affected by winter weather. Traffic has improved from a negative 2.7% in Q1, but is still negative every month in Q2, by an average of 0.8%.
It is the same story in Casual Dining, with traffic improving from an average of about 1.8% in Q1 but still negative every month in Q2, and down about 1.0% for the quarter. Same store sales were up about 0.8% in Q2, barely up from a positive 0.4% in Q1.

We have pointed out many times that the restaurant industry is a great leading indicator for the economy as a whole. If that theory prevails, there is no boom ahead. Though some industry observers are touting the better trends, we continue to hear the country western refrain: “Down so long, it looks like up to me”.

Anecdotally, we hear that consumers are feeling better, but still spending carefully, just as the reported sales and traffic results indicate. Job security may be better, but exposure (if not actual expenses) for health care is a substantial financial burden for many families. The housing and auto industries are increasingly sluggish as interest rates rise, and these are important portions of the economy. Gasoline prices are higher again than a couple of years ago and also help to absorb the discretionary spending from slightly higher wages. Restaurant operators are feeling better because sales have stabilized at least, but higher wage, occupancy and even commodity costs are conspiring to keep profits subdued even if sales are firming by point or two. Very few operators are building new stores, preferring to renovate and/or expand current facilities or acquire other operators. Quite a few chains, Jack in the Box, Dunkin Donuts and Chili’s have difficulty meeting return on investment hurdle rates with real estate costs so high, even though interest rates are historically so low. As interest rates rise, more operators will find themselves in the same boat, unable to afford new locations.

Among the restaurant companies that are doing relatively well, we can point to McDonald’s, Wingstop, Domino’s, the Darden concepts, Del Taco, and Texas Roadhouse. Companies that are “holding their own”, with varying degrees of difficulty, include Wendy’s, Burger King, Denny’s, Popeye’s, Cheesecake Factory, Chuy’s, Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, and Bloomin Brands. There are quite a few companies, more than the few listed first above, that are re-inventing themselves to some degree, including Bojangles, Jack in the Box, Habit, Famous Dave’s, Sonic, Dave & Buster’s, Red Robin, Papa Murphy’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, Tim Horton’s, Applebee’s, Ihop, Chipotle, and Zoe’s, and others. You can read about almost all of these companies at the “corporate description” site on this website, accessed from our Home Page. None of the above listings are meant to be all inclusive, and managements are encouraged to give us a call if we have mis-categorized someone. These listing are meant to illustrate that there are more chains that are currently challenged than are firing on all cylinders.

Earnings reports will start to come in for Q2 ending 6/30 in a couple of weeks. Based upon the apparently still sluggish trends, we see no reason why July and early August numbers will give management a reason to risk the prediction of a strong fall season. There is just no reason to stick their neck out. Guidance will likely be conservative, leaving room to UPOD (under promise and over deliver). We will do our best to read between the lines and report to you the “reality” rather than the “story”.

Learn more about Roger Lipton at: http://www.liptonfinancialservices.com

Inclusion used to Create a Competitive Advantage

In various work activities and in the execution of job duties, there is a myriad of opportunities to leverage the existing diversity of the organization to enhance the development of solutions to solve everyday business challenges.


Inclusion used to Create a Competitive Advantage
By Warren Cook

Over the past few decades, organizations have repeatedly asked me to “bring them diversity” and help them improve how they are viewed by the workforce and rest of the world. The request is fundamentally wrong and the strategy to enhance the workforce and create both ROI and a competitive advantage remain in an inclusion strategy.

Inclusion is the act of being inclusive, to include others. In various work activities and in the execution of job duties, there is a myriad of opportunities to leverage the existing diversity of the organization to enhance the development of solutions to solve everyday business challenges.

I encourage business leaders and human resource professionals to step back and analyze their current practices and approach to Diversity & Inclusion, and instead formulate a new strategy that does not focus on creating the diversity that already exists, but instead focuses on the development of programs that involve and include members of the workforce in creative and innovative ways to use their diverse characteristics as a competitive advantage.

If after reading this short article on this topic you are asking yourself “How can we turn inclusion into ROI and a competitive advantage”, then it is time to call me to schedule training for you and your leadership team on Creating ROI from Diversity and Inclusion. You can reach me at 302.276.3302 or via email at [email protected]

The Success of Acai Express – Now a Franchise in the USA.

“We provide a system that is simple to operate with no experience needed.” Our Acai Berries are harvested from the Amazon Rainforest. This discourages deforestation while at the same time creating financial opportunities for local farmers. We are committed to a culture of appreciation to our guests, franchisees, and team members.’
– Hector Westerband, Founder, and CEO – Acai Express

Watch The Founder of Acai Express explain the reasons why Acai Express is a hit.
https://lnkd.in/dhearqw

The Success of Acai Express – Now a Franchise in the USA.

Our story starts with crashing waves and bustling street corners. In July 2013, Hector Westerband, an avid surfer, founded Acai Express in his homeland of Puerto Rico. Beginning with a single food truck in Guaynabo, Hector wanted to promote a healthy lifestyle centered on the nutrient-rich acai berry. The rapid popularity of his food truck meant he quickly expanded the brand to open franchises elsewhere on the island (13 locations in Puerto Rico as of 2018…)

At Acai Express our mission is to provide our customers the best experience with the highest quality products. We strive to promote a healthy existence by offering customers a lifestyle brand with products that benefit our minds, our bodies, and our souls. Our products are created with the active and health-conscious consumer in mind creating a socially responsible business model.

Our Acai Berries are harvested from the Amazon Rainforest. This discourages deforestation while at the same time creating financial opportunities for local farmers. We are committed to a culture of appreciation to our guests, franchisees, and team members.

As an Acai Express franchisee you will benefit from distinct competitive advantages. We provide an innovative marketing program with a unique and lively shop design. Our menu offers 100% organic “Grade A” acai with other high-quality products and has all day sales potential. With three flexible business models, we provide a system that is simple to operate with no experience needed. Our franchise model offers a low-cost entry, with protected territories, comprehensive training, and an experienced management team.

For franchise information please contact:[email protected]
Notice Regarding Franchise Offers and Sales

This information is not intended as an offer to sell, or the solicitation of an offer to buy, a franchise. It is for information purposes only. There are approximately 14 countries and 15 US states that regulate the offer and sale of franchises. The countries are Australia, Brazil, Belgium, Canada (provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Ontario and Prince Edward Island), China, France, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Russia, South Korea, Spain, and the United States of America. The US states are California, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. If you are a resident of one of these states or countries, are receiving this message in one of these states or countries, or intend to operate a franchise in any of these states or countries, we will not offer you a franchise unless and until we have complied with any applicable pre-sale registration and/or disclosure requirements in the applicable jurisdiction.
This offering is not an offering of a franchise. In New York (USA), an offering of a franchise can only be made by a prospectus that has been previously filed and registered with the Department of Law of the State of New York. The application for registration of an offering prospectus or the acceptance and filing thereof by the Department of Law as required by the New York law does not constitute approval of the offering or the sale of such franchise by the Department of Law or the attorney general of New York.
© 2017 Harold L. Kestenbaum, Esq.