Internet Obfuscation

These days most people will use the internet to shop for a business opportunity. This is a reasonable method for gathering information, but be careful not to let the internet define your range of options. This is a common mistake and it is easy to get caught in that trap. The advertising dollars spent by franchises and business opportunities do not correlate to the relative quality of the company. In fact, I see many downright lousy opportunities featured prominently in the search rankings on Google every day. 

The internet is a great source of information, but it is like a library so knowing where to look is imperative to finding the right data. Answers are easy, knowing what the questions are is the hard part. 

Any company with a deliberate and focused web strategy can rank high in the major search indices for the categories it wishes to dominate. With Pay-Per-Click advertising anyone can side step the whole web optimization strategy and be at the top of any keyword searches that they wish to purchase. The result is that any company, irrespective of their size, quality or history can dominate the search engines. This leaves many people to confuse internet prominence with true success in the marketplace. 

One way to minimize the impact of this is to use the search engines in a different way. Instead of searching for “franchises” on Google for instance, try searching for something that you enjoy like running or baseball. Within the search results you will find companies that cater to these interests and some of these will be business opportunities. When you click through to the website, look for information relevant to franchise or license opportunities. Of course, just because you like an activity doesn’t mean it is the right business for you, (lifestyle considerations are the key) but you will be finding companies that you would normally never see if you typed in “sports franchises” unless you scrolled through to page 46 on the search results. 

Remember that a growing franchise with a brand name that is not recognized in your market yet, often represents the best opportunity. As long as the model has been successfully replicated in other markets multiple times and has experienced leadership, it should be a good bet. And if you are not sure, call our franchise help line at (951) 587-6929. 

Whatever you do in your search, be sure to talk to lots of people. You can only gain the subjective information that will make a difference to you personally by speaking with people who operate the franchise units. The Web is a great resource if you utilize it as a tool, not a road map.

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Dan Brunell

Dan Brunell is the CEO of Dearborn West, LLC, an independent boutique consulting firm that specializes in entrepreneurial talent acquisition and training. Dan has fostered recruiting relationships with over 300 franchise systems throughout North America, created and delivered customized training and coaching programs for global consulting network, and established the best practices and ethical guidelines for this emerging industry space.

Brand Name vs. Brand New

Brand Name vs. Brand New

Many big name franchise brands are no longer attainable for the average aspiring business owner. As a franchise grows and builds on its success, often the bar is raised regarding financial requirements and experience qualifications. This is why most units of the top food franchise brands are owned by large restaurant groups. They have the experience, infrastructure and financial wherewithal to launch multiple units. 

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Johnny Appleseed, King of Referrals

After 12 years in operation, my franchisee recruiting business is mostly driven by referrals. I owe it all to an American folk hero that I learned about a long time ago in a children’s story. John Chapman was his real name and he spent his life traveling and developing apple tree nurseries in the Midwest. He was known for his generosity, kindness and his rejection of material things – even though he was quite wealthy. Johnny spent his life and his wealth helping other people get what they needed. He felt that the more he helped others and the less concerned he was with his own worldly comfort, the greater his reward in the afterlife would be.

Many people, in several states, wanted to repay Johnny for his generosity and they sought him out to do just that. This, I’ve found is the essence of building a referral based business. When I was a young sales rep, I joined all the right groups, went to all the right meetings and I shook every hand. I read books on how to work a room, I had a clever little elevator speech and I passed out thousands of business cards. I thought I was a great networker, but I didn’t get it – not at all. I had plenty of success as a sales rep, but my referral business was never that great. It wasn’t until I started in management that I recalled the story of Johnny Appleseed. Things started to change when I figured out that I was in a position to help people. The more people I helped, the more business seemed to flow my way.

When I started my own company, I made it a point to get involved in the community. I met other new business owners and I bought goods and services from as many of them as I could. Every day I introduced someone I knew to someone I thought they should know. I listened to people and I tried to figure out who I knew that could be a resource for them, even when it had nothing to do with business. Now, the bulk of my marketing strategy is this: I give out several referrals every month. This simple formula of focusing on who I can help instead of who can help me, has resulted in an 60% reduction of my annual marketing expense. 

The greatest part of all this is that I have no expectation of any individual to return the favor – ever. The only expectation I have is that if I do good deeds, good things will happen for me. People like Johnny Appleseed have known this throughout history. Sometimes we get caught up in the rush of business and we forget the things that really matter. Thanks Johnny!

Have a question about business opportunities? Send it to dbrunell@dearbornwest.com

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Dan Brunell

Dan Brunell is the CEO of Dearborn West, LLC, an independent boutique consulting firm that specializes in entrepreneurial talent acquisition and training. Dan has fostered recruiting relationships with over 300 franchise systems throughout North America, created and delivered customized training and coaching programs for global consulting network, and established the best practices and ethical guidelines for this emerging industry space.