Written by The Business Journal Staff
Cari Lyn Vinci, Owner
FranNet, Central California territory
What we do: We partner with aspiring entrepreneurs to help determine the best franchise opportunities to match their goals, skill set and lifestyle.
Education: Degree in business
Family: Husband passed away
How do you help people discover the franchise business for them?
We really get to know our clients and what their skills are through a very sophisticated assessment tool that we use. We build for them what’s called a business model, which is what they’re looking for in a business — what their skill set is, what transferrable skills they have, if they’re interested in a business where they’re the manager or if they want to have a manager in place, the number of employees they want, if they gravitate more toward a retail business or something that would be in an industrial park or mobile business. So we look at all the business characteristics of what they’re looking for and their skill set and what they can afford, and then we put together a business model. From the business model, we then look into the businesses that we work with. We’ve already gone through the due diligence and we know that they’re pretty solid businesses. Then we make recommendations.
How do you help them after that, Cari?
Actually, the process could be two months. It could be four months. We’re with them on a weekly basis through the whole thing because they’re always going to have questions. The people that we work with, most of the time they have never been a business owner before and there’s so many things you have to find out to determine if it’s the right business. We help them with what questions to ask and then help them decipher the answers that they get. We give them guidelines on how to put together a pro forma and what questions to ask the existing franchisees. We have a whole process that we take them through.
What do potential business owners look for in a franchise, Cari?
People that we work with, a lot of them have been in corporate America for a long time and they’re tired of being jerked around. A lot of them have been laid off more than once and they are looking for an ability to control their own destiny. That comes through. They want to be the one that’s in charge of their financial future. A lot of them are looking for a business where they can see some potential for growth — the more they put into it the more they’ll get out of it. People like that are looking for what’s referred to as multiple units. They’ll buy one business and then open it in several different locations. That’s the beauty of a franchise. You can cookie cutter the same business in different locations. I had a client say to me once that he wanted the flexibility to take time off in the afternoon because his kids were growing up. He wanted to coach their soccer team. Others are looking for a business where they don’t have to travel because they spend so much time away from their family. They want to be able to stay home. There’s some common threads, like the financial independence, the calling their own shots, making their own bones. Those come through frequently.
What are the more common industries or services for franchises, Cari?
The things I’m looking for now are businesses that, regardless of the economy, are going to continue to do well. It’s kind of like the dull, normal business that regardless of what’s going on, they’re going to do well, like painting franchises, mobile storage franchises or property restoration — everybody has disasters, so those always do well. Building maintenance and staffing has done extremely well. And then there are the consumer services. Senior care is doing well right now, tutoring, the home services for the baby boomers, the cleaning, the handyman services. All of those have a tendency of doing well, regardless of what’s going on in the economy.
How does Frannet decide topics for your online seminars to businesses, Cari?
They’re all different. We have some that are general webinars and then we have some that are specific to a target market. We do them for veterans. We do some for baby boomers, some people who are interested in multi units. There are some that are just geared toward service business because not everyone wants to have a facility, so we try to mix them up. Every month we try to have one that is general that is specific to a particular franchise.
How far does your franchise’s territory extend, Cari?
The territory that I bought from Frannet goes down from Visalia and goes up to Reno. The way that it works in Frannet is that there are territories and what we have the option of doing is we can find an associate in the different parts of our territory we’re not able to get to.
What do you like to do in your spare time, Cari?
I like to play golf. I like to travel. I love the summer concerts that we have here. We’re really close to wine tasting. I love the theater. I do yoga. I do Pilates. My dog and I belong to a group called Little Scoops where we have dog activities. That pretty much keeps me busy.