Posted: August 18, 2009
Franchising 101: Don’t do it alone
Matchpoint Consulting guides lost career seekersBy Patricia Kaowthumrong
The state of the economy has propelled many to rethink their career paths. Instead of waiting around for that second job interview, self-employment is now an attractive option. However, just the thought of starting a business or a franchise can be daunting.
That’s why potential franchisees can turn to Matchpoint Franchise Consulting Network.
The Toronto-based company founded in 2006 is an international network of advisors that specialize in matching individual franchise buyers with the franchise opportunity that is best suited for them based on their interests, career goals, budget, skills, desires and more. Matchpoint can match candidates with a portfolio of 150 companies.
Their services are free; franchisors compensate Matchpoint when someone decides to start a franchise.
Former Citigroup employee Brad Brenner started working with Denver-based consultant and franchise expert Debbie Tarrant last year. Desiring a more flexible schedule, certainty over his future and “higher quality of life,” Brenner became a franchisee of CertaPro Painters in Scarsdale, N.Y., in March 2009.
“Matchpoint really worked for me,” Brenner said. “I know it was Debbie and her combination of assessment tools and experience.”
Tarrant has helped more than 15 franchisees get off their feet in the two years she’s been with Matchpoint. With more than 32 years of experience in franchising and consulting, Tarrant said, many people don’t know what they’re getting themselves into.
Brenner said he had no interest in starting a painting business and had never thought about it before. But he’s happy with his career change and credits the “soul searching” Matchpoint allowed him to do at his own pace.
“People often don’t understand things like the owner’s roles, everyday duties and other aspects,” Tarrant said. “I help people make intelligent decisions for themselves and their families.”
From deciding whether to become a franchisee to the actual grand opening of a business, Matchpoint consultants help potential business owners through the whole process. In-depth assessments, Matchpoint’s extended network of franchisees and advice from experienced consultants help people choose the right franchise.
“You have the right to call any franchisee in our system. You can even call ones that have left if you choose,” Tarrant said. “You can find out what they like, what they don’t like and what they would have don’t differently. Most of my candidates are astounded from what they learn from franchisees.”
The process can take up to 12 months. Picking the right franchise alone can take up to six weeks, Tarrant said. As for the overall cost of starting a franchise, Tarrant said it ranges from as little as $40,000 into the millions.
“Total investment includes franchise fees, training, marketing for the first months, equipment and materials if needed, and several months of working capital,” Tarrant said. “The majority are in the $100,000 to $150,000 range.”
“An advantage of franchising is that you’re given a system to follow, which makes you more likely to succeed than just opening your own business,” Tarrant said. “Based on what your strengths are, we can help you succeed.”
With a degree in education, Tarrant said she loves teaching and giving people an alternative to control their destinies.
“It’s interesting that more businesses started during the Great Depression than any other time,” Tarrant said. “If you have the will, strength and drive, you can make it work during any economy.”
Patricia Kaowthumrong is a student at the University of Colorado School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Contact her at Patricia.Kaowthumrong@colorado.edu.