In 2022, International Franchise Association representatives estimated that 792,014 franchise establishments were responsible for almost 8.5 million jobs and $788 billion in output. Roxanne Rapske, a local franchise specialist at FranNet, combines her 20 years of experience in Corporate America and the knowledge of starting a business of her own, to help individuals find the right business that will maximize the odds for success. Here, she shares what it's like.
What has your career path been to become a franchise expert?
I spent 20 years as a mortgage banker. When the recession hit in 2007, I lost my income overnight, and I found myself wondering what was next. I threw myself into research and at the end of 2007, I became an independent franchise consultant. In 2013, I joined FranNet as a franchise specialist. I believe having walked a mile in my clients’ shoes, I’m uniquely positioned to help others navigate the same type of career transition and outcome.
What is your role as a franchise expert?
I'm a matchmaker. I have a portfolio of approximately 200 vetted franchises. I get to know my clients via an entrepreneur profile and by helping them build a business model. Once I understand their skill sets, interests, experience, finances and goals, I then match them to franchises I feel are a good fit on both sides. Franchises are not purchased; they are awarded. A franchise company will be just as selective on its end. We usually start with four different franchises, and 10 to 15 hours per week we'll engage and learn more about each franchise. I make sure the client is getting all their questions answered. From these discussions, we use a process of elimination. I coach my clients to gather enough information to be able to make informed decisions. It's a very in-depth process that typically takes 30 to 90 days. This needs to be a head-heart-and-gut decision, not one based on pure emotion.
What opportunities are there in franchising?
There are three main types of franchises. First, you have brick and mortar. These may be things like retail, restaurants, hotels or car service shops. Investments range from approximately $300,000 to over $1 million. Next, you have a service-based franchise, such as a roofing or housecleaning company. Most of these are not brick-and-mortar. Investments tend to be much less, ranging from approximately $100,000 to $300,000. Lastly, there are business-to-business franchises, such as a signage or a direct mail company. Many of these franchises start as home-based businesses, allowing for a smaller initial investment.
Who are your clients and how has franchising evolved over the last few years?
I have a diverse group of clients. I work with transitioning or laid-off executives, the underemployed and those unhappy with their corporate environment. I'm seeing more teachers who are looking for a change. I specialize in helping military veterans looking to transition from the service to being their own boss. Many clients come to me seeking an exit strategy from their previous career paths or looking to diversify their income. I'm working with more people nearing retirement who want to have something they can do after they retire from their current careers. I'm seeing spouses who gave up their careers who are looking for something to do or to bring in some extra money. Whether it’s an existing business owner, investor or someone currently employed, I can help them find a franchising solution. I've seen the franchising industry evolve, especially since the pandemic. I'm working with more women and seeing a wider range of ages. Multigenerational families are becoming more popular. Franchising is a perfect way to leave a legacy.
What information is important for readers thinking about franchise opportunities?
Franchising is often the most misunderstood and overlooked type of entrepreneurship. FranNet has national lending partners who help clients find their best funding options. There's no cost to clients for my services. The franchises pay me to help them find the right fit for their concept. Franchise success is built upon utilizing a proven business model to give clients the best chance to succeed as business owners. I believe everyone is in charge of their own destiny, and love nothing more than consulting with people who want to start a franchise – and take charge of their own lives.
Podcast/YouTube: FranNet of Dallas, Ft. Worth, OK
I'm a matchmaker. I have a portfolio of approximately 200 vetted franchises. I get to know my clients via an entrepreneur profile and by helping them build a business model.