When exploring a franchise most use a “bottoms up” mentality: what do I see, what do I think I know, how does it look?
The best way to really assess a franchise opportunity is from a “top down” mentality: who are the people, what is their vision, where is the brand now and where is it going?
Using a “top down” mentality forces you to look up. Who is standing there? What do they know and what can they see from their vantage point? Who do they call competitors? Where do they see this brand going? In other words, you have to be in relationship with the franchisor and their top performing franchisees.
You cannot explore a franchise on your own by reading the FDD, by believing your own assumptions or by talking to people who are not even on the mountain. After all, when you invest in a franchise, you are investing in people, their leadership and vision and your belief that they can accomplish what they say. Their dream inspires your dream, and so from the “bottoms up” view, it’s impossible to know truth and to be inspired.