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The Secrets Of Franchising

With Nancy Williams

Published on: May 15, 2020

Purchasing a franchise is a good investment for people who dream of building a business empire from small beginnings or even for those who just want to keep their assets rolling. A budding entrepreneur can easily look at the myriad businesses offering franchises and choose one that is right for them based on their interests. Joining Kimchi Chow to spill some franchising secrets in this episode is Nancy Williams, a certified franchise consultant who represents over 500 brands in the US. Nancy’s mission is to help women and minorities set up their own business by purchasing a franchise. She talks about the importance of having a good consultant who can take you through the process and make sure the franchise you get is what is right for you.

The Secrets Of Franchising With Nancy Williams

More women are stepping up to start their own businesses. Having a good idea for a product or a service is not enough. You need to have the skills and knowledge about running, maintaining and growing your business. The key to the longevity of any business is the system. This is a special sauce that the franchise model is offering. Our special guest is Nancy Williams. Nancy is an expert in helping business owners select the right type of franchise for anyone who’s interested in that business model. Please help me welcome Nancy Williams.

Kimchi, thank you for having me.

You’re welcome. We’re glad that you’re here. Nancy, what are some memories from your childhood that stood out for you? 

There are several things I can think of, but giving you a little bit of background, I’m from an African-American family, two-parent household. My mom was a stay-at-home mom. My father was the only one working full-time. We grew up in a suburb town in Los Angeles. It was predominantly white and Asian. I didn’t see a lot of faces that look like myself. Certainly my classmates, but not a lot of role models. Maybe there were a few teachers. What that brings me to as my father is a Vietnam Vet. He is a voracious reader. He loves history, specifically loves African American history. In our home, we had a lot of information at our fingertips about our culture, history, and the struggles that we’d been through and the things that we had achieved in spite of all of that.

He grew up at a time where it wasn’t necessarily okay to be so proud of being African-American. He faced challenges in both his military and non-military life. He had a lot to share with myself and my sister. I gobbled that up. It gave me a very grounded sense of self and pride that I may not have had without him. There wasn’t a lot of that around in the local area that I was in. That is something I remember from childhood because it stuck with me. In addition to that, when I reflect on it, I would say the other biggest thing that I take from childhood is about working. My mom was a stay-at-home mom. We’re on one salary income for the household. It was basics only. If you wanted something above and beyond the basics of food and shelter, making sure you had clothes and things for school, you had to get it on your own.

We started working at the age of thirteen. Our first job was in the local parks and recreation center where you’re doing scorekeeping for both youth and adult sports. We were able to take that and then understand how important and special money could be if you used it in the right way. We learned that from very early on. Anything from sports keeping, number keeping to Baskin-Robbins, to the local amusement park, to going to real estate office as we grew up. There was ample opportunity for us to learn how to earn money, taxes, saving and what to do with it. One of the other real standout things from my childhood was from our parents demanding that if we wanted something, we had to work for it. I can’t remember going for more than a couple of weeks since the age of thirteen and not having a job or a business.

How many siblings do you have? 

I have an older sibling. We’re pretty close together. She’s seventeen months older than I am. We’re a relatively small family.

Your parents have established a strong foundation for you. As a reader, he learned about history. We do by watching the parent and what the parent does. You’ll probably also become a reader because you see your father read all the time, and then you learn the skills of managing or create money from that very young age. Not many of us are fortunate to have those two things. 

I’ve learned that so much, especially doing what I do now, how few people know and understand and have a good foundation for that. Even as good as my parents were at it, I noticed some things that would have been great had they shared because they were property owners. We owned our primary home, but they were also investment property owners. My parents are from an older generation, so that line between what you share with children and what you don’t is a little bit more traditional for them. Getting into things like what we pay on a mortgage and how you get them, I think that didn’t happen like it should. As well as they did, there’s still such opportunity to share with the young people what they’re going to be facing, so that they understand that and prepare for it early on.

Give me an example. What things did they not share that you wish that they shared early on?

I wish they would have talked a lot more about credit, FICO Scores, credit cards, how to use them wisely and how they can help you. At the same time, how they hurt you and ways to navigate through that. When it’s okay to borrow, when it’s not, those sorts of things. It was easy for them to just say, “Don’t ever borrow any money,” which sounds great, but when you’re a student and they’re throwing credit cards at you and you don’t have a lot of wiggle room. You need to understand why. That no is not enough. I don’t ever recall my parents talking to me about credit cards or FICO Scores. It’s something that they didn’t use a lot of credit cards. They may have had one, so they probably didn’t think much of it. Things like FICO Scores and what you need to purchase property, they were very savvy and that they had owned several pieces of property, but they never had that conversation.

Franchising Secrets: There are very few women, and even fewer minorities, in franchise consulting.

What has left you to become a franchise broker and why do you want to focus on serving minority women?

I had a great career in Corporate America in the telecommunications world for fourteen years. I learned more than I could have ever imagined. I had an incredible staff. I had some incredible managers, teachers, and mentors. I can’t say anything bad about my experience in corporate telecommunications. After fourteen years, there were lots of changes going on and I decided it’s time to take advantage of the opportunity to leave on a high note with a nice severance package, understand and explore my options. In my early years, I had other businesses. At some point in college, I had a nonprofit organization where we worked with inner-city kids on the weekends and took them to university campuses to expose them to that. After I got out of college, I went into a private record label deal with a friend of mine that I had worked with. I did that for a few years and then I eventually got into telecom. After fourteen years, I felt I had enough experience to go off and start another business that should I choose.

I wasn’t sure what that was going to be, but I like the concept of franchising. I had known previous franchise owners. Coming from a corporate background, I appreciate having a support system already set up behind you. Someone that can teach you lessons learned and keep you on that path to success. I knew I wanted that. I started my search for a franchise that might work best for me. I wasn’t even familiar with the concept of franchise consulting. If anyone’s ever done a search that you will get popups that say, “Would you like to speak to a certified franchise consultant?” That’s what I did and as they say, the rest is history. For me, the decision to embark on this business and after speaking with a lot of the franchise consultants to validate the business, I knew that there were very few women doing it because I think I only was able to validate with 1 or 2 women.

Second of all, there were even fewer minorities. I didn’t speak to a single minority. Certainly not a minority woman invalidation. I thought, “This is my niche, this is what I’m here for. I have the history behind me. I’m proud to be an African American businesswoman and I can bring that to the table to my own community and other communities that can relate to the experience.” That’s exactly why I decided to go and focus in on women and minorities. Truth be told a lot of times, minority groups will not get into certain things because they don’t feel comfortable. They don’t have someone to usher them into the type of business they’re looking for. I thought I could be that advocate. I could be that ambassador for them. I felt that I was trustworthy enough to be able to do that. I was comfortable explaining it. I’m comfortable from a former management director perspective that I can bring people along and I haven’t looked back since. It’s something that I love to do.

You see the opportunity to serve so you step up. Let’s say I want to own a business. It could be a franchise of business that generates about $10,000 a month of income, but I don’t know what type of business that I want that fits me. Guide me through the process of identifying the right franchise for me. 

Revenues and incomes are one piece of criteria. We use so many others that I have to tell you oftentimes, the amount of revenue starts to slip down on the list as people explore the various opportunities. Some may find that the opportunities that have the largest revenues are ones they’re absolutely not interested in or don’t think they would do well in. We do take into account the individual’s interest in revenue. We take in much further. When a client comes to me, I will start off with several things. I’ll do exactly what we did, which is I need to understand who they are, what their background is, why they’re looking for a change, what things they like, what things they don’t like. Also, what do they have a passion for, what do they feel they’re good at, what have other people told them that they’re good at? We go through a series of questions to evaluate that.

I will also send them a written business personality survey questionnaire that will help you work through that and it sheds light on what type of person in the aisle you have or the type of business that might be good for you. For me, it also provides insight as to your level of skillset and what types of franchises, not just the category or the sector, but also the size. It doesn’t make sense for you to build an empire or should you just be an owner-operator. The business personality questionnaire gives a lot of good insights. That’s another tool that we’ll use. Once I learn a lot more about you, there’s some back and forth and we settle in on what you can afford to invest in. When we look at that number, we look at it in two ways. We look at it from how much cash or capital do you have on hand and how much are you going to be able to secure an SBA loan. Those are two different things you need to look at, but certainly, the capital or cash that you have is one of the first drivers of what categories we can look at.

Is it like buying a house that you need at least 20% down minimum or something like that?

It’s a little bit more in business. With the SBA, you would need somewhere between 25% and 30% to secure the loan and they will fund the rest. You would need a credit score of 680 or above. The nice thing about most franchises is that they are already registered with the SBA in their loan program. They’ve gone through some preregistration steps to show that they’re a franchise that’s valid that has business cases that can be submitted along with the loan and certain paperwork that has to go along.

Besides SBA, is there any other channel that the prospect of the franchise can go to? 

A lot of what we do, myself and my colleagues, we go to what we consider aggregators of funding. If you are a client of mine, I would do an introduction to one of the big aggregators that I work with across the country and set you up with a free consultation. They’ll walk you through all levels of funding. There are others outside of SBA and they’ll walk you through all of those programs. Outside of that, from a community perspective, certainly, there are a lot of local grants that are provided for those that are diligent enough and know where to look. I can direct them in that way. There are local grants. Other funding sources. There are partnerships that you can look into entering. Of course, what’s helped a lot of people these days is some sort of crowdfunding. You’re going to want to offer something in exchange for investment into your new business. Those are some of the various options that an aspiring entrepreneur has.

Now I understand why you say it is a daunting task. It’s too many ends that I have to untangle.

For most people, it’s not knowing what you don’t know and trying to pull all that together. Working with someone like myself, we know all of the steps. We’ve been trained, we’ve been certified. We know who to go to if we don’t know an answer. We have networks of partnerships that can help you with legal issues like funding issues. We have it at our fingertips. Rather than trying to find all by yourself, it’s better to work with someone that’s an expert in the field.

Let’s say I want a burger chain or a chicken and rice chain. What are the most important criteria for me to consider when I compare one brand versus the other brand in the same industry? 

I would say in the same industry, you’re going to be looking at basics such as cost. When I say cost, I don’t just mean the cost to enter the business, but the royalties and add fees that you have to pay once the business is up and running. That’s important to take a look at those and make sure that you’re comfortable with what that is in comparison to each other. I would also say that industry experience can be another way to look at the 2 or 3 brands that are the same. Let’s say senior care or something like that. Some people are comfortable with what we call emerging brands. Emerging brands are brands that have under 100 units. Some people are fine with taking what they consider more of a risk. Statistics show the brands that have over 100 units tend to do much better off long-term. If they’ve hit that milestone of 100, then they’re looking pretty good in the future in terms of how well.

What do you mean by unit?

It’s 100 franchisees. The number might be a little off because there could be multiple unit owners. That’s why when we say 100 units, it could be 100 franchisees, but it could be also 100 physical locations. It depends on the type of business that we’re looking at, but a 100 is typically a good milestone there. You have some people that want experienced businesses over 100 that are very stable. They can contact a lot of people and find out. Other people are okay with what we consider emerging brands. Maybe a newer food category that’s on the scene, they want to get in early. They’re early adopters. They think it’s going to take off and so they’re more comfortable with something that’s newer and maybe a little bit less established.

That’s another criteria that a lot of people look at to say, “Am I comfortable with this? Am I not?” I would also say industry differentiators. What is it about each of those brands that you’re looking that create a differentiator for them in that space? I’ll go back to senior care because that’s one that a lot of senior care businesses give the same services, but when you start looking at the details of how they give those services, or maybe there’s a brand that doesn’t just do seniors, maybe they do disabled. Maybe they do people that have just been released from the hospital and they need home care for a little while. Those are the things that you want to look for on various brands on what’s differentiating them from each other. Those are some key things to look for sure.

Does the franchisor require the franchisee to own and run the franchise once they bought it? 

It depends on the franchise. Let’s stick with senior care because we’re already here. Most senior care companies they want owner operated. That is because that is a very sensitive, hands-on business that is involving lives. They don’t want someone that’s farming out all of that work and not being hands-on because it is a very sensitive business, to say the least, emotional business. They prefer that. You brought up burger chains, chicken chains. That’s usually the case. You get a lot of multiunit owners who have the capital to hire an operations manager either to oversee a couple of locations or one at each location. They’re just in a totally different business. It’s not about food for them or cleaning supplies. It’s about building an empire of a business and then hiring the right people to run it. It depends on the model of the sector and then the available capital that you have to actually create the business.

Do I have to move if I want to own a franchise that has not been registered in my state or in my town yet?

Yes. You would have to move. If the franchise has not been registered in your state, they’re just not allowed to practice there. There’s no option there to be a business. You would either have to wait until it gets there. A lot of times, working with a franchise broker or consultant, they can call the franchise or ask, either when are they going to be registered. “I have a great client, I would like you to register in the state.” We also have that influence over franchisors all the time. They may be regional but they don’t think they have enough interest to register, say in California. We work together. If we have a viable candidate, we can certainly ask them to register and then be okay. In terms of moving, I wouldn’t recommend that. It’s interesting because Texas is the top franchising state in the country. It’s a lower cost of living.

They’ve got some tax breaks. There are lots of space, lots of suburbs that are cropping up. It makes sense that franchises are there. I do get calls from clients saying, “I should move to Texas so I can open a franchise.” It’s not as expensive as it would be, say in California or New York. Of course, you could move. I have worked with people that are in transit and are asking me to find them a franchise in another state, which is no problem. A lot of times, franchisors want people that are in the community, know the community and have relationships because that’s what’s going to build your business. If you move to someplace where you’re not familiar, you don’t have that network of people, it can be a little bit risky in terms of success. It depends on the brand.

Besides the operation and human resource management and things like that, does the franchisor educate us or teach us how to build community, how to enroll community to come and support our business once the franchise open?


Franchising Secrets: When choosing what franchise to purchase, it is best to balance between the potential amount of revenue and the interests of the franchisee.

That’s one of the reasons that I do love franchises. I don’t want to say all franchises are excellent at this, but the ones that I work with, I’ve been amazed at how hands-on they have been with my clients in terms of helping them to open the business, what you do after that and how you connect with the community. In the first part of your question in terms of training, I love franchises for the fact that they fully train you on the business. I don’t mean how to flip a burger or anything like that. We’re talking the financials, profit and loss statements, things like that that are going to help you be a good business owner no matter what sector you’re in. All of that, and then of course on how to run that specific business.

There’s the full aspect of marketing that is huge. Another nice thing about franchises is most of them have a complete database that the franchise owners can use and leverage. That’s local marketing tools, fires, discounts on printing, how to build a Facebook site for your business, how to use Twitter to leverage that relationship in order to grow your business. It’s a full set of that. A lot of them, even if they don’t have that talent in-house, they will contract a third party. It could be another coaching franchise that comes in and works with our franchisees to help them become a great owner. There’s a lot of that that goes on. The good franchise owners, they have a complete packet and some world-class information that helps people learn how to run the business.

Why do you think it’s easier to choose the wrong franchise than the right one, even though we have so much resources available on the internet? 

A lot of times people think they want one thing and then when they start to learn about it, they realize that’s not what they want. Our favorite example is using something like Subway. I love Subway. It’s a great brand with a great product. People saw everyone’s flocking the Subway. “I think I want a Subway. That’s what I want to own.” They come to me and they say that and I say, “You do realize it takes quite a bit of sandwiches to sell. $5 sandwiches to make what it is you told me you wanted to make.” I started pointing out things like high overhead food. The food sector has a much higher overhead than something like cleaning because you’ve got all these employees that are part-time and you’ve got a building that is very elaborate.

It has upkeep, overhead, leasing, all of those things that a lot of other businesses don’t have. The profit margins tend to be a little bit less than a lot of people expect in fast food. After I’ve explained that to them, then I go to the other side and saying, “You do realize that if you have a part-time employee that calls in sick, you’re going to have to go behind the counter.” People start saying, “By the way, it’s seven days a week with long hours.” Once you start explaining to them, it doesn’t seem like such a great business investment, it’s not going to fit in with your lifestyle. A lot of people are working in Corporate America and what they’re not looking for is to spend seven days a week necessarily out of home, because they do a lot of that in the corporate world.

They’re looking for a little bit more work-life balance. You start to talk to them about, what are your short-term and long-term goals? What’s your family time like? What type of wealth are you building? Is this going to be a, “I want to build it up and sell it and move on to something else because I love starting businesses?” Is this a family legacy? Are you building this so that your kids can work there and you can pass it down to them? Back to the original question, which is why the highest performing franchise might not be a good idea for you. It’s because it may not fulfill what you’re looking for in terms of owning a business and why you’re even on the pursuit.

That’s the reason you are here.

It is. Also, part of your question was about, we can do so much research on our own. Of course these days, we absolutely can. There’s so much on Google and other various platforms that you could look into. The true part is, franchise owners are not going to put everything out on the internet. No matter what you’re looking for, you’re probably not going to have the information I have. Because I have a personal relationship with these franchise owners that I work with, I can pick up the phone and ask a question. I can do things that you may not get that same attention because you’re one of a hundred people filling out an inquiry on their website. It’s beneficial to work with somebody that has their hands in the industry on a day-to-day basis.

I concur and I support you. I see the value of working with the franchise broker. Do you call yourself a franchise broker?

I’m usually consultant. The reason for that is that we’re not brokering anything. We’re counseling people that are looking for a new opportunity. We’re counseling them and coaching them on the best way to go about it and making some recommendations. Interestingly enough, our job is also to make sure we’re presenting qualified and strong candidates to the franchisor. We’re also consulting with the franchisor to make sure we understand exactly what makes a good owner in their particular brand. It’s more of a consultative relationship than a broker.

How long is the process from evaluating a franchise to officially owning a franchise? If my credit score is good, if I have 30% down payment, what would be that duration? 

Someone coming to me is the first step in the process and then we spend a couple of days. It could be quick. I’ve got people coming to me and say, “I know my personality. I’ve been looking into this particular sector and I want recommendations.” It can be relatively quick when I can get them into an introduction with a franchisor to start having the conversations to move to the next steps. The short answer is, legally which is mandated by the Federal Trade Commission, which franchises are under. The candidate must possess in their hand the Franchise Disclosure Document, which is the bible of the brand. You must have it for fourteen days legally. If you’ve spoken to a franchisor and you both think it’s a great fit, they’re going to email you out a copy of the FDD, the disclosure document and they’re going to ask for an electronic signature acknowledging that you’ve received it.

From that point on, fourteen days later, you could sign an agreement and be an owner of a franchise. That’s the quickest. Most people are on a 60 to 90-day cycle and they’re on a 60, 90-day cycle if they are interested and have done some homework. I think the stats say that people consider buying a business at least three times before they actually make a move. That could be three years. It could be three times in a year. It depends. That’s the statistic on that. If someone comes and they’ve done their homework and they feel they’re ready to go, we will start getting them into an introduction with the franchisor within the first week or so and have them talk through that.

The second step after receiving the franchise disclosure document is doing what we call validation. Validation is what you’re going to do when the franchisor gives you a list of current franchisee owners of the brand. You’re going to want to reach out to those franchisee owners and talk to them about their business. Any questions you can think of, and I certainly have tools that I can help with my clients that need a list of questions or want some guidance on that. You are going to want to feel comfortable that you’ve made enough of those validation calls, that you understand the business and what is expected. That’s the next step in the process. We have intermittent calls again with the franchisor.

If it’s a brick and mortar, you’re going to be having real estate and leasing conversations. Where’s the best place to be? All of that is happening. What we call close to the final step and before signing an agreement is we do recommend having a discovery day at the headquarters of the franchisor. That allows you to experience the operational team firsthand. A lot of people make their decision after that meeting because they’ll see the headquarters. They’ll connect with the team and they’ll walk out of there and say, “This feels like the right place for me to be.” It’s a very important step if you can do it. They’ve been doing a lot more.

They’re doing them virtually of course, but some franchise owners have moved to virtual just for affordability and those sorts of things. Those are the steps. Depending on how much you’re borrowing from the SBA, if it’s less than $120,000, that’s their fast track program. They can approve a loan in fourteen days for that. It’s pretty quick. Anything over that, it could take six weeks. Keep in mind for a brick and mortar, the SBA loan is not final until you’ve signed the lease. The approval over that is contingent on your ability to find a location and that it’s within the cost structure that you put together when you applied for your loan. It’s important for SBA to marry those two things up.

What’s the range for the costs of a franchise?

I wish I had an easy answer for you on that, but I don’t. I can tell you that on the lower end of the scale are going to be more of the consultative franchises. Things like travel agent, it’s usually around $10,000. They’ll finance 50% of that if that’s where you’re headed with that. There are coaching programs that are in the mid $20,000, $25,000 range. There’s property management that tends to be more on the affordable side and they’re getting into $50,000, $75,000. You’re starting to look at senior care opportunities there. You’ve also got children’s education or some less expensive. Also, tutoring, STEM, STEAM, specialty classes, music, cooking, those sorts of things because you’ll need a facility. $100,000 up, you’re starting to look at more of the brick and mortar locations. Commercial cleaning, you can get into great businesses under $100,000 up. Everything goes all the way up to the millions when we’re talking to McDonald’s or those sorts of brands.

Let’s say $1 million to open a McDonald’s franchise. That is the cost of getting a franchise, the location is not included. Is that correct? 

That is correct. I believe that most McDonald’s, they require that you own the land. It’s not in a situation where someone can be removed. We’ve seen some of those cases with older owners that did initially have a commercial lease. They were surprised because the landlord decided they wanted three times the rent and they were unable to deliver on that. They would either have to find a new location or they’d have to shutter the doors. In most instances, McDonald’s is looking for someone that can afford to either lease to own or have some type of commercial ownership over that property and that space so that there’s no battling about raising it or when the lease is up, you have to leave because I have someone else here.

That’s usually the case, but on a smaller note, a lot of branches and different businesses, they will help you negotiate a 7 to 10-year lease. It might be a clothing store, resale of clothing. Batteries Plus is another example of where you could lease the land. It’s more of a warehouse type of space. They are similar to restaurants. There are other sectors such as office space rental, shared workspace. You must own that land. There are brands that require that you purchase the land. Others will work with you to solidify long-term leases. We don’t want to be kicking people out of their business offices in the middle of that. Also, salon suites, hair salon stylists. They have suites, a shared office space, or share suite space. Those are others that worked well for people that have access and own commercial land.

I watched the movie about McDonald’s and they said that their business is not the burger. Their business is real estate. Now I understand why because they don’t want the franchisor to move. The business tie into a location and they did a lot of research about where the best place is to have a McDonald’s. That’s the reason that you pay a high price for a well-known franchise because they did all of those research. 

The brand is very strong. It’s recognizable. People feel that while it’s a larger investment, it’s less risky. In some cases, it is. Let’s say most people walking around, they cannot afford a McDonald’s or Burger King. You can work your way up to it. I tell clients that all the time, “Just because you come to me and you have a brand that you love, maybe start off a little bit smaller.” Start in something that’s similar and learn about it. Once you have a business that’s successful, you’re going to have a lot easier time asking the bank for more money to either expand that business or buy something else. You have proof of concept. You’ve shown that you are a good business owner and that you’re diligent. I love franchises for that very reason because they have built themselves so that they are scalable. If you would like to grow and grow into an empire and multiple locations, they make it a lot easier for you to do.

Who is your competitor? Why working with you is a better choice?

Franchising Secrets: Community relationships build your franchising business. Moving to a place where you don’t have those links and networks can be a bit risky.

In my business, others may see competition. I don’t see that. For me, it’s probably not the best to compare it to a real estate agent because I know that there’s a lot of competition there. It’s similar in the fact that you want to find someone that you connect and work well with and you think has your best interests at heart. Finding that person is going to make you feel much more confident about the process and that the person is on your side. They’re not trying to gain a commission off of selling you just any franchise. It’s important to interview a couple of people or look for people that maybe have something in common with you. As we talked about it, that’s why I got into this business. I wanted to be able to have other African-Americans, women and women of color see me doing this and understand that you can become very well educated and it’s less of a risk.

The more that you know, you have someone that’s going to be here that you can ask questions to. If you’re in a panic or something that you may not know you should be asking for, that’s why I’m here to help and be your ambassador. I don’t see it as a competition. I’ve had clients that have been working with me and someone else. At times they’ve ended up going with the recommendation that I made and then other times they’ve decided to go with the other consultants. I’m okay with that. I want to work with people that feel a connection with me, feel that I’m there for their best interest and even after they’ve purchased the business, that we’ll still have an ongoing relationship. If they need something, they can call me and I will continue to do what I can to assist them.

Is that relationship still going on after they purchased the franchise?

It depends on the client. I have clients that have owned several businesses. They were coming to me because they wanted to know about a specific brand they had seen and they wanted the inside scope. They had a sector that they were interested in and wanted me to recommend a couple of brands. They’ve done it, been there, done that. They purchased it in a matter of a month and then moved on. I’ll reach out to them occasionally and see how they’re doing. There are other people that call me and say, “What do you think about this?” I had a client that bought a business and eight months later he said, “I’m doing so good in this business, I’m ready for another.”

I do my best to keep an ongoing relationship with those that feel they’re going to need something. It is also beneficial for me because I can also find out from a client whether or not the franchise owner is living up to what they said they were going to do. If it’s a situation where the franchise owner is not delivering on the promises, I can help them get what they need. I also make a mental note of that and say, “If this doesn’t get better, there’s no sense in me recommending this franchise.” Having an ongoing relationship helps all parties.

Who pays you? How do you get paid? 

That’s the other thing about franchise consulting that I love particularly working with women and minorities. I can tell you that in my community, we have a tendency to fear government and organizations that we’re not familiar, comfortable with or have never worked with before. There can be this underlining, “You’re out to get me, you’re going to take my money attitude.” One of the reasons I love franchise consulting is that our services are 100% free to our clients as it relates to helping them get into a franchise that’s going to work for them and their families. The nice part about that is they don’t feel they’re paying some money to someone that’s going to steal their money and just take off and not deliver a service.

We are compensated by the franchisor if we are to place a client into a brand. We have an agreement of a commission that will be a result of that placement. That’s where the payment and the commission comes in, the compensation. I also like it because I represent over 500 different franchise brands across the US, Canada, and certainly internationally, depending on the brand where they’re established. Also, it gives my clients a bit more confidence that I’m not just pushing five brands down their throat and they need to go to these five brands. We can take the time to go through what they’re looking for and what they need and assessing that personality that they have to find the right one. We’ve got plenty to choose from. I’m not trying to put a square peg in a round hole. I am looking for the right fit out of the numerous brands that we have.

Do you say that you work with a little bit more than 500 brands across the United States, Canada and internationally? 

We’ve got a lot of brands that have a presence in Mexico, the Middle East and Africa. There are a lot of auto body shops that are in a lot of those countries, but there are also some food brands as well that are dispersed throughout. Yes, quite a few over 132 different sectors of those brands. In the event that a client says they’re driving down the street or they’re seeing something on TV and they’re like, “I like that,” they can call me or send me an email and say, “Do you know anything about this brand?” If I don’t represent the brand, I can always pick up the phone and figure out who to call.

I’ve got lots of good networks across franchising and then I can interact with their franchise team and see, are they working with brokers? Are they open to working with brokers? In the event that they are, we can sign an agreement and I’ll do my introduction for my client and get that ball rolling. In the event that they’re not, I do instruct my client that, “I’m happy to help you. I’m just not going to dump you off, but you are going to have to take the lead on going to and working directly with that brand.” I can certainly coach you through what that looks like.

In that case, the client will pay you because you’re giving them support without the franchisor.

It depends. In that case, sometimes if the franchisor is very experienced, they’re not going to need my services. What you’ll see a lot of times is what we call the Tier One Brand. The McDonald’s, they have full in-house departments that are constantly working on each franchisee and candidates’ needs. I typically don’t charge for that because if a client even does call me after they’re in the network with those particular brands, it’s rare that they’re going to need something. Those brands have been doing for a very long time. They’re very professional at it. They usually will answer every question that you have. Normally I wouldn’t charge anyone, but if it’s a whole other project, there are things because people come to me with very sophisticated projects or things that they’re looking for in the market. It could be a resale. It could be a resale of multiple units, then that could be an opportunity for us to work out a fee structure for them.

What are the valid concerns that most people have before they purchase a franchise?

I guess it would be the same thing that you are fearful of if you were to start your own business. Fear of failure is going to be number one. We spend a lot of time coaching on fear of failure. It is a little nerve-wracking when you’re thinking about going from a steady paycheck every two weeks and bonuses to making it happen on your own. We spend a lot of time trying to overcome that fear. One of the things I do share with my clients is, if you are 85% to 90% sure, that’s probably as sure as you’re going to get. Most people will use that 10%, 15% fear as a way to drive them to be successful.

It’s very rare that someone comes to you and says, “I’m 100% sure. I have no more issues. No more worries.” To get that close is something that you should work on. Fear of failure and the cost. Am I going to be able to afford this and just delving into that? I always encourage people when they come to me and they say, “I have $75,000 cash to put down,” I wouldn’t recommend doing that. You should be saying to me, “I have $50,000 in capital.” Make sure you’re giving yourself enough wiggle room that you’re not spending every penny that you have and don’t have anything to fall back on. Being realistic about what it’s going to cost, but you’re leaving yourself in the wiggle room that you need to make sure you have.

Going back to the fear. “What if I do it and I don’t like it?” People are like, “I thought I wanted a Subway. I love their sandwiches. They’re so friendly to me. I get in and I’m like, ‘This is not what I thought.’” We have techniques to get people past that to either make a better decision in the beginning so that you don’t hit that wall. Also, the confidence that if you get into a business and it doesn’t work, this is a franchise. This is independent. It’s not the end of the world. You will learn a lot. You will recover. I remember speaking to a woman that owns a very successful spa enterprise and she always said to herself. She was in insurance for a long time, making a lot of money.

Her husband would say, “You want to start your business, why are you not starting it?” She’s like, “Because if I lose the money, I will be homeless.” We always think of the worst-case scenario, which is usually not the case. Getting people to understand that failure is a part of life. You cannot do so well, we can work on how to improve that. That’s why I like franchises because in a franchise situation, whether people believe it or not, good franchise owners, they want their franchisee network to succeed. It’s important to them because that’s a fundamental part of their success. If they have franchisees that are failing, then new clients or candidates that are coming in, they’re not going to be able to validate well. You’re never going to get additional owners onto your networks.

That’s one of the reasons that you’re not in it alone. You’ve got the franchise owner that has a stake in it. The other thing is, they are registered with the FTC. Most of them registered with the SBA. They have to file every year like a business and say, “This is my franchise disclosure document. I have changed something. I have not.” There’s a process that you have to register in certain states every year. The FTC will look at that document that says, “This is the number of doors we closed and this is the number of doors we opened.” That can be a red flag.

There is a concern there and they don’t want to be that franchise owner that’s getting flagged. On the SBA side, because they are registered with the SBA and a lot of owners do have SBA loans. If they have a situation where a lot of owners are failing and not paying back their SBA loans, that could get that franchise kicked off of the registry. There are downsides or repercussions to franchise owners not picking good candidates and not picking people that want to succeed and are trying. There’s no benefit to not helping them when they’re struggling and making sure that they’re surviving because it’s a symbiotic relationship. Everybody’s in it together.

I feel great when you say these things because working with you is like working with a coach, which is very focused on this kind of business. Yes, fear of failure and the cost. “What if I change my mind? What if I cannot handle it?” Those are key things that will stop us from achieving our dreams. It’s important to work with somebody who is trained in doing that. In my line of work, it would be a life coach who has walked the past and who knows what’s best for you. In your line of work, somebody like you who has experienced and certified in working with clients and you give them emotional support. They can come to me. They can say, “I want to buy a franchise, but I’m afraid I’m going to fail. I don’t know how to handle it.” I might be able to help them reduce the fear of failure or get rid of those. We dig deep to get into the limiting beliefs and all the beliefs that hold them back. I think working with you would just get to the point. What is the fear that people have when they start something new and big like buying a franchise?

Coming to someone to say, “I don’t even know where to start.” A lot of times when people think about general business coaches or life coaches, they’re coming to you for something specific because they have a problem or something’s not working in their life. A lot of times for me, it’s the same thing. Someone will come to me and say, “I want to own a business since I was small, but I don’t have an idea and I don’t have an original idea.” It’s not like I’m going to get a patent. Not everybody has that creative mind to create a new product or service, but then they also say, “Even then, I don’t even know where to start.” It’s a starting point for people that specifically know that there’s something in them that’s driving them this way. It’s also taking people that are in corporate situations that say, “I’ve spent all this time getting this education and experience, and I’ve hit this level where I think I can do it on my own. I need someone to help me bring it together, just like I have in the corporate world. I call on finance to bring me this. I call on operations to bring me that.”

They understand how to piece that together, but they need someone to help them know where to start. The other thing I was going to mention specifically to women because we’re talking about this, is that you would be surprised at the number of women that I have had conversations with or coach that say, “How do I convince my husband to either let me do this or support me in doing this?” There’s a difference there. “My husband will give me the money and say, ‘Go off and do on my own,’ but I would rather have him support me.” It’s that conversation. I think when I first started this, because of how I was raised in very independent, that wasn’t a question that I expected to get as often as I do. It is something that you have to end up talking to more women clients than you would hope to because it can be a very sensitive subject.

That’s the number one concern from people who are considering hiring a coach. They always say, “I don’t know if my husband is going to support me in this kind of money.” Supporting me means like, “Agree for me to pay this amount of money to work with you to improve my life.” We have to address that and say, “How often do you allow all the people to make the decision for you about your life?”

Franchising Secrets: Franchise owners benefit from helping struggling franchisees survive. It’s a symbiotic relationship.

It’s even important in franchising because a lot of times, a franchisor will require the spouse to be a guarantor on there. That relationship is going to be very intimate when it comes to any issues with the franchisor or with the marital relationship. That is going to negatively impact the franchise. The franchisor wants to know that the husband and wife are on the same page, even if the spouse is not going to participate on a day-to-day basis. There has to be a level of support for someone to do well and in a franchise business.

What do you want people to do if they are interested to find out more about your service? Where should they go? 

I’m excited about this. People can go to your website and under the sponsorship is NValuable Franchise Consulting, Nancy Williams. You can click on that, that’ll launch you to my site and you can request a free consultation through that. You can also learn more about me and how I got to be doing what I’m doing. I also write for a few magazines. You can access those articles there. I’m excited to go that route. You can also call or text (510) 957-5901. Let me know if you’re interested in a consultation. Certainly, if you texted me, we can set up some time. I can send you my calendar link and we can do it whenever it’s convenient for you.

I have learned so much and deep from this conversation. I learned much more about franchise and owning a franchise. I appreciate you for being here and I also appreciate you to be our sponsor for the show. 

I’m so excited to partner with you because we both feel the same way about empowering women to make sure they go after what they want. Speak up, stand up and you certainly in business have to show up. I did want to mention that in any way you contact us, if you let us know that you heard us through this show, then we’ll send you our Top Five List of Pandemic Proof Franchises. I find that very interesting. We’ve been spending a lot of time looking at the various franchises that have come aboard and started to flourish during the time of the pandemic. A lot of people are interested in learning about those businesses that are actually thriving and are going to be transformed after we come out of this.

I highly recommend you, readers, to take that advantage that Nancy is offering because she doesn’t offer this all the time. If you mention and read her on the show, get in touch with her. She will give you a special treat. She will spend more time to help you feel more confident so that you can speak up, show up, and stand up powerfully and confidently. The key for independence is to be able to do that, to be able to speak your own voice, speak the truth about what you want and what you stand for. Thank you so much, Nancy, for being here.

Thank you for having me.

To our readers, what is the number one thing that you will do to claim your independence? Please don’t forget to subscribe to the show and the Asian Women Of Power YouTube channel. Until next time, live, life, loud.

Links Mentioned:

Episode Quotes

"It helps to have someone who can teach you lessons and keep you on the path to success."
"When you have a successful business, no matter how small, you are going to find it easier to ask the bank for more money to scale."
"Good franchise owners want their franchisee network to succeed."


About Nancy Williams

Nancy E Williams is a Certified Franchise Consultant specializing in helping women and minorities fulfill their dream of owning their own business by purchasing a franchise. She represents over 500 brands across the US. While her title is Consultant, she views herself as a client advocate and educator, because her first priority is to ensure that her clients understand everything about the process of buying a franchise, and partner with them throughout the process so they ask the right questions and feel confident about their life-changing decision.

Toll free: 800-710-7457 / Direct: 510-957-5901

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