Longing for the live days of baseball, stadiums filled with the smell of hot dogs, beer and popcorn in the air? For now, we may have to settle for a great movie, just released on Netflix. Our all-American game was beautifully portrayed in the 2011 biographical sports drama  Moneyball. Starring as the Oakland Athletics’ general manager Billy Beane, Brad Pitt gave a moving performance as a beleaguered manager attempting to put together a contending team despite the team’s lack of finances. But what does this story have to do with choosing a franchise?

Beane’s innovative solution to his team’s challenge relied on a new vision.

Stop using the usual subjective reasons for choosing to draft a player, such as “He’s a good player and people like him.” Instead, Beane used objective evidence like how many runs a player will potentially drive home. His new, untried strategy worked and in 2002 the Athletics won 20 consecutive games, an American League record.

Changing our perspective can change the solutions we find for life’s challenges.

Nominated for six Academy Awards including Best Actor and Best Picture, Moneyball offered a plethora of lessons about taking a different approach to baseball, and, well, to life. Some of these lessons would work very well in the field of franchising, where choosing the perfect business to buy can seem as complicated as drafting the perfect team.

Lesson 1, “Your goal shouldn’t be to buy players, your goal should be to buy wins.” Similarly, when looking at franchise opportunities, you goal is not to own a particular type of business but to find a business that will take you where you want to go in life. This goal may be financial stability, freedom to take vacations, or to have something of value to leave your children. Don’t get stuck in the mindset of wanting a particular “flavor of the week” franchise. Your first criterion is whether the business can give you the wins you are seeking.

Lesson 2, “Hey, anything worth doing is hard. And we’re gonna teach you.” So what if you’ve never worked in a service industry or managed a team of employees? The franchisor will train you in the business and help you to get started. What matters is that you have fire in your belly to succeed and are willing to try something new. Yes, it will require hard work on your part but success usually takes that kind of dedication. The key is to choose a business where you can make the most of what you have to offer.

Lesson 3, “He passed the eye candy test. He’s got the looks; he’s great at playing the part.” There are many, many franchise businesses out there but some that really look like a great business –aren’t. How do you tell the difference? You need to dig much deeper than the surface until you really know what the business offers and how hard they’ll work to help you be successful. Are the franchisors experienced in franchising? Do they keep their franchisees happy? Is the business making money? Like Beane learned, you have to do more than swing at the ball; you have to drive in the runs.

Lesson 4, “It’s day one of the first week. You can’t judge just yet.” When starting a new venture, it pays to be patient. Some franchisees will turn a profit in six months and others take longer. Knowing what to expect ahead of time will help you budget for the early days. But the main lesson here is that you really need to trust in yourself and the hard work you’ve put into building your business.

The final lesson from Moneyball that can be applied to franchising is that it can be beneficial to get help. In Beane’s case, he meets Peter Brand, a Yale economics graduate who has some new, untried ideas about how to assess a player’s value. Brand proposed looking not at what a player has done but at what he will be able to do. It

If you are interested in business ownership, you, too, can benefit from some inside advice. As a franchise consultant, I can help you evaluate your needs in business ownership and then apply that to a number of franchise opportunities to determine if they will give you the “wins.” Some franchise businesses are singles and some are home runs. Let’s talk about what you’re swinging for! You can reach me at 925-673-0412 or dpleuss@franchoice.com.

About Diane Pleuss

Diane Pleuss is a franchise expert and educator. Through her FranChoice consulting practice, she’s helped hundreds of people determine if a franchised business is right for them. Many times, she presents options they don’t know about and almost always helps them from making a serious, “rookie” mistake! Best of all her services are completely free.

 With over 20 years in franchising and 16 years as a franchise business consultant, she coaches and guides people through the investigation and due diligence process so they can make a sound business decision.

 The FranChoice process is like a Disneyland Fast Pass – it gets candidates to the places they want to go, efficiently and easily!

 Diane possesses an MBA, is a past Toastmasters Distinguished District Director who oversaw 150 clubs with 2500+ members and is past president of advertising associations in Oakland, CA and Green Bay, WI.

She finds her work to be enormously rewarding and I think you’ll be able to tell she has a real passion for helping people.

Diane can be reached at 925-673-0412 (office) or dpleuss@franchoice.com.