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Advice: How To Choose an Escape Room Franchise or License

So you finally are at a point where you want to own your own business. Let’s say you’ve already evaluated the basics like your financial capacity to start a business, you’ve researched the type of industry you would like to be a part of and you have an idea of a location you would like to open in. But then you ask yourself… “Now what”?

Regardless of the industry you want to get into, make sure you do your research. Here is a checklist of commonly missed research evaluations as you are doing your due diligence.

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Pick a Franchise to Guide You

1 Identify a Company: Find a brand that matches your same philosophy on how you want to do business. At the Situation Room we want to work with entrepreneurs who share a similar thought process to ours. We believe in quality over quantity. We also do not try to force anything as that behavior is a way to make mistakes and you should keep this approach when choosing who you do business with.

2 Online Presence: It’s ok to spy on a company that you are thinking about getting into business with. Taking a magnifying glass to the company's online presence is very important and may provide you with extra knowledge you need to know.

Social Media: Look at the company's facebook, Linked-in, Instagram, Twitter account. See if they promote the image you want for your company. Also, make sure there is frequent and constant updating on some of these profiles as it is important to be part of a company that is looking at the future and not stuck in the past. Remember all of their posts will either directly or indirectly funnel down to their franchisee or licensee.

When it comes to social media marketing and presence, not all companies use all platforms by design so they can focus on ones that affect their marketing goals. An example would be a business that does fashion will want to be on instagram because a picture speaks to their customers. However, a business which sells a service to other businesses will want to be on the linked-in platform and will not have the same use for instagram as the fashion company does. Sometimes finding out a company is considering this angle demonstrates marketing strength and a blanket social media presence could be a sign of weakness with a lack of forethought in their marketing (“Jack of all trades = master of none”). When this happens Jack falls down and then will break his crown.

Website & Search Engine Optimization (SEO): This is how people find a company when they go to a search engine like google. A very important practice I would suggest is to go to www.woorank.com (it’s free and very accurate) then put in the website of the company you are researching and their franchisee websites to evaluate what their website presence and marketing efforts are. You will see a score ranked 0-100 and the higher the number the better. As a rule of thumb, more than 70 is a good score for national ranking. This is important because it tells you what the company is using to convert online customers, increase presence for their locations, and how they implement technology into their business. You want a business that operates in 2020’s not in 2010’s. A good example is if their website has stock photos of model perfect professionals shaking hands across a board table (2010's) or if their photos reflect their real staff, real customers, culture and personality. Google knows the difference between high quality websites that will display original photos and give the best results to the researcher. Google will reward originality with better SEO rankings. Ultimately, as you look to launch a business you want to make sure it will get off the ground the fastest way possible. This appearance of company online will tell you a lot about emotional connections their customers make with the brand as well. At Situation Room we believe making last and meaningful memories for our customers is exactly why we are in business.

Read the Company Blog: Like this one. A great way to get to know the personality and culture of the company. You can also use this as a metric to see where future growth may be heading toward. Look for posts about how they do things in their company and how they treat their employees as well.

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Giving Back = Important

3 Community Service: What is the parent company doing in their communities and how does that trickle down to other locations. I would simply recommend using this as a measurement to see who you are getting into business with. A company that is doing well enough to offer a successful franchise or licensing plan should also be a positive role in their community. It is a very useful tool to see what extra motivations may exist behind the curtain (ex: greed). As an example our company at Situation Room has done a lot to give back between revitalizing our local parks, hosting a free Shakespeare in the Park event, working with our local university and high school students volunteering time toward mentorship (including educational internships that gave university students class credit). I say this not to brag but I am very proud of what our company has done and how we have stepped up and answered the call for our Macon Georgia community (virtual tour here). You should also feel a sense of pride toward your future working partner.

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Get to Know the People

4 Interview the Franchisor: Do this with the intensity you would use to make the most important decision you’ve ever made. You will have a chance to talk to people in the company and evaluate a franchise disclosure agreement. Keep in mind that franchise disclosure agreements are not applicable when purchasing a business licensing agreement from a company so you will want to make sure you get all of the information in your interview with the company. If you are making a licensing agreement it is ok to ask to see “the numbers” and evaluate profitability and a company should not have any problem being transparent with this. Keep in mind they may ask you to sign a non-disclosure agreement prior to opening their books for you.

Ultimately, you want to enter this pivotal decision cool, calm and collected. Did you know that NASA has done a lot of research on astronauts' heart rates while they are in space? Turns out when things go wrong the astronaut’s heart rate does not usually elevate because they prepare and have rehearsed all the scenarios so much prior to their mission they can make rational and collected decisions. You should feel the same way about a company you want to get into bed with. You want to make sure it is the right company to fit your personal goals, personality and the lifestyle you want for your family.

Situation Room is an escape room franchise located out of Macon GA. Please check out our SITE for opportunities to own your own business.