WAXHAW – In 2007, just before Christmas, Sue Bennett and her husband, Rob, were downsized. But in the face of a struggling economy, she decided to persevere, push forward and use her unfortunate experience to help others.
Having owned a business, Bennett knew how finding a franchise and launching a business could be overwhelming. So taking what she’d learned and using it to give back to others felt natural.
In May 2008, Bennett launched FranFinders, a company dedicated to connecting prospective business owners with the right franchise and helping them navigate the murky waters of the ins and outs of these business opportunities.
“People ask me all the time if my name is Fran,” Bennett joked. “FranFinders is actually short for ‘franchise,’ because that’s what we do. We help place people with the right franchise for the right business opportunities.”
Since FranFinders was established, the company has helped more than 250 people connect with an appropriate franchise and launch a business. Bennett said, even in this economy, it’s still possible to successfully own a business, which she said people are sometimes surprised to discover.
FranFinders has connections with hundreds of different franchises. Clients are encouraged to peruse the website, www.franfinders.com, and see what interests them. When clients come closer to settling on a franchise, FranFinders will help them stay within their budget or, if possible, remain a little below budget.
“We don’t charge customers anything for our services,” Bennett said. “We walk them through the entire process hand in hand, almost like a partnership so they’re protected.”
Because FranFinders is a web-based company, Bennett can help clients nationwide. The company has helped clients in continental U.S., Canada and Hawaii, Bennett said, and FranFinders recently connected a client with the Charleston-based Manny’s Neighborhood Grille. Bennett said the client is expected to open a Manny’s location in Indian Land, S.C., within the next few months.
Bennett, who runs the company with her husband, said word of mouth and chamber-related networking opportunities have helped grow FranFinders, and it helps that the company appears pretty high up the list on Google searches. She also credits the comprehensive 10-step franchise buying process for her success.
To help customers cover all aspects of franchise buying, Bennett uses a step-by-step method to guide clients along the journey.
The steps cover the initial call, matching clients with a franchise, an online meeting presentation to discuss opportunities in greater detail, an introduction call with the franchisor, a review of the franchise disclosure document, calls with existing franchisees to validate their positive experience with the franchise, “discovery day” – a visit to the franchisor’s headquarters, the franchise agreement, the actual purchase and a grand opening.
“You don’t want to miss any part,” Bennett said. “Sometimes the candidate is so excited that they want to move quickly, but you have to remind them there’s a process to follow.”
But perhaps the greatest quality of FranFinders, Bennett said, is the relationship clients experience with the company. She said that while other companies like hers also typically don’t charge clients for the services – they’re paid by the franchisors – few of those companies walk hand in hand with their clients as extensively as FranFinders. And if a client truly isn’t ready to launch a business, Bennett said she’s honest with them.
“It’s so imperative that the customer picks the right franchise,” she said. “We help them get through this process so fear doesn’t overcome them. We provide that guidance and hand holding throughout the process.”
Bennett said being a woman hasn’t presented any challenges or obstacles when it comes to being a business owner. If anything, she said, it’s helped her succeed.
“It’s actually been an advantage not being a male because most women are intuitive … very caring and nurturing, and that’s how (our company is) with our clients,” she said.
The biggest personal advantage of owning FranFinders, Bennett said, is getting to spend time with her husband and children, ages 11 and 14, who attend the Cuthbertson schools. She also enjoys giving back to the community, particularly through helping the homeless.
“I make sure the profit I take from my business is used in ministries to help people far less fortunate than I am,” Bennett said. “It’s about helping people and making myself available.”
For more information, contact Bennett at 1-866-288-9404 or firstname.lastname@example.org.