Not everyone is franchise material.
6 min read
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The following is an excerpt from Franchise Bible: How to Buy a Franchise or Franchise Your Own Business, Ninth Edition, out now through Entrepreneur Press. Pre-order now via Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Bookshop.
Not everyone is franchise material. This is no less true in franchising than it is in medicine, teaching or gardening. Thus, to help you make this determination, you must ask yourself some questions:
- What do I really enjoy doing? This does not have to be the work that you are doing at the moment. Instead it could be a hobby that you are passionate about. Indeed, one of the most important factors that may determine your success or failure is the level of enjoyment and satisfaction you can hope to experience in operating the franchise from day to day. You must be involved with the daily operation of your business at some level regardless of the model you choose. So it is critical for you to “inventory yourself” to make sure you are indeed a good franchise candidate.
- Do I like working with the public? If the answer is no, there may still be “business-to-business” franchise opportunities that require you to work with other business people, but the truth is that you are still working with the public.
- Do I like the idea of being the boss? It was President Truman who said, “The buck stops here,” and the burden of being the boss cannot be more succinctly stated. You are responsible for the daily grind that is business: bookkeeping, employment issues, inventory control and the like. Though you may delegate these duties to an employee, ultimately it will be your job to ensure that it is all done in the manner that the franchisor requires.
- Am I willing to have employees? Though it is not exactly working with the public, the ability to work with employees in a positive manner is no less important than your ability to work with your customers. If hiring, directing and firing employees is not your thing, then you may look for a business that does not require employees.
- Am I willing to take the direction of the franchisor when setting up and then operating the business? As strange as it may sound, entrepreneurs are not the best franchisees! A franchisor does not want someone who will learn the system and then take off on tangents that are not within the confines of system. Time and again it has been confirmed that it is the franchisee who can follow the system who is successful. Deviating from it is counterproductive, in violation of your franchise contract and, more often than not, results in a failed franchise.
- Is my family enthusiastic about the idea of buying a franchise? Will you enjoy working with them if they are going to work in the business?
- Do I have the necessary capital resources? Can you make the financial sacrifices?
- Am I emotionally prepared for working the hours required to succeed? Don’t be afraid to ask friends and acquaintances for their opinions on your abilities along these lines. Don’t rely on just one opinion; get several. It is true that franchising gives you a greater chance to succeed in business. It is incumbent on the authors, however, to dispel the most persistent myth about franchising: that the franchisee can make a lot of money from the franchised business with a minimum of effort. This has never been the case, and is a serious misconception. As is true in most things in life, the franchisee who works the hardest profits the most from a franchise business. Initially at least, you must be able to make sacrifices, such as:
- Be prepared to put in long hours of hard work. It is not unusual for the boss to be the first one to arrive in the morning and the last one to leave at night.
- Be prepared to understand and be able to carry out all of the jobs required to operate the business from janitor, to cook, to CEO. If an employee fails to show up for work, at least in the beginning, it is often the owner that must fill in the gap. Understand that you will occasionally be disappointed by an employee’s performance, which will require you to fire him or her. This is never an easy task, but is one that comes with the territory. •
- Be prepared to be the most organized person in the business. Everyone in the business will look to you to organize the operations be it those necessary to run the day-to-day operations, or be it those necessary to close out the business year’s books and records. •
- Be financially and emotionally prepared for setbacks. Every business that has ever existed has had to overcome difficulties. Business cycle ups and downs, difficulty with inventory control, the hardship of finding competent help are par for the course. Having the franchisor in your corner will certainly give you a great resource to help with these issues, but in the end, it is you that must resolve them.
Related: The Franchisor’s 10 Commandments
Make sure that you have family support. Growing a successful business takes a lot of commitment and it is critical that you have the support of your closest family members. Once you have completed the above, you must select a particular field of business you like or better, that you have a passion for (like working with cars, or working with numbers) and then decide whether or not that endeavor is suitable given your past experience and talents. If you have a background in mechanical engineering and enjoy working with equipment, then a vehicle-based franchise opportunity may be the franchise sector you should consider. Has your experience always been in bookkeeping? Then looking into accounting-based franchises may be the way to go.
On the other hand, if you are an individual that loves working with food, then looking into the restaurant industry may be an interesting exercise. Although finding a line of work that you can enjoy is important, you want to make sure that the business is a solid model with an existing market of potential customers. Choose the business in which you can excel, so you can have the freedom to enjoy the fun things in life.