Publisher: Greenleaf Book Group Press. 284 Pages

Book Review by Sonu Chandiram

Many an owner of a traditional (non-franchised) business often wonders if he or she should not have bought a franchise business instead.

For many such owners (except a lucky few),all the years of learning, investing time, money and effort, the outcome may not be as satisfactory as they hoped to be.

The non-franchise business owner may find many things wanting in his business, such as insufficient sales; a constant struggle toward marketing the products and services and developing predictable demand for them; a constant, uphill path to getting more customers and retaining existing ones; an unpredictable stream of cash flow, getting good sales people who are not only consistent producers but also fast learners, and much else..

All these difficulties become real obstacles in a recessionary period such as now, when potential and actual customers are hesitant to spend. They are hesitant to spend because they see no clear direction ahead; they instead see a national government that’s led by a person who has no vision, lacks experience and has no clue what to do next.

Studies have shown that franchise businesses have better chances of success and better financial outcomes. The two main obstacles to buying a well-known and successful franchise is the high purchase cost as well as the low net profit after all costs and expenses are paid.

What Shelly Sun tries to shows you is not only how to build a good business, but one that can be easily franchisable, so that you can make much more money from multiple locations than from just one location. She says: “Essentially, to be a franchisee is to be in business for yourself by not by yourself.

She suggests the steps to a successful launch of a franchise: evaluating the opportunity, developing a franchise disclosure statement, documenting processes and planning a team, evaluating external supplier relationships, developing a sales process, executing the franchisor model and setting a goal for the sale of the first franchise.

Shelly and her husband started a home healthcare business in 2002. Over the years they had been thinking of franchising it, or offering it to people who wanted their own business in this field. They started developing the idea, writing the business plan and getting the legal documents to make that dream a reality. By December 2005 they sold their first franchise and it took physical form in March 2006.

Today, they have 175 franchisees and about 250 locations. The ability to accomplish this is ample qualification for Shelly to write this book. So what you are going to read in Grow Smart, Risk Less is based on a solid record of practical success in the real world, and not just academic knowledge. I highly recommend you buy and read this book, not only if you plan on buying a franchise business but if you are planning on franchising a business you created on your own.