FranNet

FranNet Team shot

FranNet helps franchises and franchisees find each other

in a crowded and sometimes confusing environment.

By Chris Petersen

Franchising can be a lot like dating – a franchisor and franchisee need to have good chemistry and be a good fit for each other if the relationship is going to work out. And, just like dating, a good matchmaker can be the difference between finding a successful relationship and walking away frustrated. Helping the two sides of the franchising equation meet and match up properly has been FranNet’s focus for nearly 30 years, and CEO Jania Bailey says the company has a long track record of matching up the right franchisees with the right franchises.

The company was founded in 1987 by Howard Bassuk to provide consulting servicers to entrepreneurs looking for franchising opportunities. At the time Bassuk sold his interests in the company to associates Steven Rosen and Jack Armstrong in 2006, FranNet had 55 offices across North America. Bailey also joined the company as President and COO then to help guide the company to the next stage of its evolution.FranNetFact Box

Bailey says the company serves two very distinct and different types of clients – the franchises it represents and the entrepreneurs who are looking for franchising opportunities. FranNet rarely works with experienced franchisees, she says, so it is focused on helping first-time and inexperienced franchisees develop their businesses and get off on the right foot. “The majority of our clients are going to be people who have never owned a franchise and don’t know where to start,” Bailey says. “The value that we bring to those individuals is educating them on franchising and giving them a lot of the tools they’re going to need.”

The Right Choice

FranNet helps potential franchisees first by helping them narrow down the enormous number of possible franchises they could purchase. Bailey says the company does this by building a personal business model for its clients and then comparing that model to its portfolio of franchises. FranNet then narrows the choices down to three or four that would match up best with what the client is looking for. “When we meet with a client, we never know what they’re going to be looking for in terms of the types of industry, what their budgets will allow, etc., so we are always trying to have a very good mix of franchises to enable us to match the introduction to the client,” Bailey says.

Although there are other franchise consulting companies that do this as well, Bailey says FranNet distinguishes itself by its focused approach and deep knowledge of local markets. “The major differentiation is our local market commitment and focus,” she says.

Because FranNet has local offices based in major markets, Bailey says, its clients work with a single point of contact who is plugged into the business community in that market. “[Our] clients can rest assured that after this process, they’re going to run into this person at the chamber of commerce, and they’re going to run into them at church,” Bailey says.

After the company connects a client with a franchise, FranNet doesn’t just leave them to their own devices. Bailey says the company continues to support its clients through services focused on promoting best practices and helping them identify new opportunities. Although she says it can be easy for a franchisee to rest on his or her laurels after some initial success, they need to continue to remain on their toes, and FranNet provides them with that motivation. “You’d like to think there’s a point where you can stop and catch your breath, but the second you stop, the competition’s going to get you,” she says.

Still Growing

Bailey says the franchising game has changed a lot over the last several years. Since she joined FranNet, the number of young people and women looking to buy a franchise has increased significantly. Many of these young entrepreneurs are tech-savvy and are looking for a higher degree of interaction with their customers. “The challenge for us is being sure that we have the right concepts for that changing demographic of the clients that we’re being introduced to daily,” Bailey says.

To help the next generation of franchisees, FranNet has continued to evolve. For example, the company recently purchased FranchiseWorks.com, adding its capabilities to the company’s own. Bailey says the company has brought in tools such as a portal site for leads as a result of that acquisition. FranNet also recently launched a franchise development company called Pinnacle that is focused on helping companies launch their franchising initiatives the right way.

No matter what shape FranNet takes in the future, Bailey says anything it does will be done with the goal of helping franchises and franchisees form relationships that are mutually beneficial. “We’re going to continue to look for what makes sense,” Bailey says.

 

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