Business View Magazine - March 2016

54 Business View Magazine - April 2016 Business View Magazine - April 2016 55 Franchise Business Review Driving better results The International Franchise Association estimates that, in 2015, there were over 780,000 independently owned and operated franchises in the United States, generating some $889 billion worth of economic out- put. However, while many brands and franchisees have achieved noteworthy accomplishments, not all franchise systems, or their franchisees, are ultimately successful. Franchise Business Review is a company that provides independent surveys and reports about today’s fran- chise opportunities, based exclusively on the ratings and reviews from thousands of franchise owners. It is a credible source of information for potential franchi- sees to help them determine if franchising is right for them and which franchises may best meet their needs and objectives. Eric Stites is the company’s founder and CEO. The fol- lowing is from a recent conversation between Stites and Business View Magazine. Can you start with a little bit of historical back- ground about your company? What niche were you trying to fill and what made it seem like the right time? “We started the company in 2005, so we’ve been in business almost eleven years. I had been working in the franchise industry for a number of years, prior, and one of my last positions was with a company that was basically a franchise information website - a di- rectory of franchise companies, online. We provided information to people who were looking to get into franchising and generated inquiries to various fran- chise companies on an advertising basis. “During that process, we spoke with hundreds of thou- sands of perspective franchisees over the years, and I realized how hard it was to get any kind of real infor- mation about franchise companies, out there – what the best ones were. At that time, we were working with three or four hundred franchisor clients and I knew who spent the most money advertising their franchise opportunities, but I didn’t really know if they were any good or not. “So, I just started thinking about that more and more and, at the same time, I was working on a side project with Dunkin’ brands. They were having development issues in that they were having trouble getting new candidates into their system as quickly as they wanted to, because their franchisees weren’t validating the brand very well. They were happy, but they weren’t re- turning phone calls from candidates and helping them understand what the opportunity was all about. That was the light bulb moment when I thought, ‘everybody wants to know the same thing: – Is the training good? Is the support good? Are you making any money? Are you happy?’ And there wasn’t any resource out there that was specific to the experience of the actual fran- chisees within all these different brands. So that, es- sentially, is what I set out to create. In a nutshell, we’re like the Consumer Reports of the franchise world. “We survey tens of thousands of franchise owners each year from brands all across the industry and make that information available to candidates looking to get into franchising; to understand which ones have the most satisfied franchisees. It started as a tool to help those candidates and where we’ve really grown in the last ten years is in helping franchisors get better at what they do. So now, probably two thirds of the work that we do is more operational-focused to help franchisors that don’t have great satisfaction with their franchise owners understand where their issues are. Are you saying you act as a consultant? “In a sense. We do a little bit of consulting directly with a client, but primarily we’re providing the insights in the areas where they’re having challenges and we do provide best practices, and, for a select group of cli- ents, we do some direct consulting as well. And that’s an area where we’re going to be expanding our busi- ness going forward.” Outside of consulting, where does your revenue AT A GLANCE WHO: Franchise Business Review WHAT: Source of independent franchise informa- tion, highlighting today’s top franchise opportuni- ties WHERE: Portsmouth, New Hampshire WEBSITE :