Am I a good franchise candidate?
Franchising is a simple but ingenious business model based on a unique partnership. Taking on a franchise can be the answer to an aspiring entrepreneur’s dreams because it allows you to share in the success of an established product or service. It’s a brilliant alternative to the many uncertainties of an ordinary startup.
However, being a franchisee may not work for everyone, despite the many benefits it confers. Some people will find it hard to work within the partnership model, no matter how much autonomy their franchise agreement may afford them. But if that’s the kind of structure in which you thrive, it could be the future for you. Let’s think about the kind of issues you need to consider.
Is the franchisor’s business one you like or admire? Does it fit with your interests, values and personality? If things work out – which they should – this is going to be a long-term commitment, so in that sense, it’s a more important career move than taking a new job. It’s a life change. That’s why you need to be convinced that any franchise you seriously consider is one on which you’d be happy to lavish all your working time and a lot of money. The rewards can be huge, but you need to be able to engage 100%.
These are important questions because behind the initial attractiveness lies a lot of reality. If the franchise is a service or a restaurant, you need to be the kind of person who is happy to work directly with the public. If that’s not you, you are probably more suited to one of the many franchised business-to-business services with a more focused client base. How do you feel about having people work for you? Not everyone is cut out to be an employer, but that doesn’t have to stop you from taking on a franchise because there are plenty of opportunities that will enable you to work on your own.
You probably picture yourself as your own boss, a dream many of us share. Remember that as a franchisee, you will be required to conform in many ways to the franchisor’s model, not just in what you sell and the way you sell it, but in protecting the integrity of the brand and the way you manage and account internally. That’s one of the trade-offs of taking the faster route to success. It’s not your brand and never will be; you’re essentially renting it. Nevertheless, you can view these parameters as safety nets rather than constraints and as guidelines for getting things right, within which you do have a lot of independence.
It's important to have the right support because this is a major venture you're contemplating.
That means financial resources, but also the support of family and friends as well as the personal emotional capital you will have to invest. No one’s suggesting that a franchise should be allowed to take over your life, but building up your franchise is not so different from growing any other business. It’s not a 9-to-5 pursuit – you’ll have to put in whatever hours it takes to make a success of it. Even if you do hire a workforce at some point, in the early days, you’ll find yourself called upon to carry out every job from CEO to janitor. Once you do have employees, you’ll need to demonstrate the knowledge, authority and understanding necessary to encourage performance and loyalty.
Drive and optimism are essential, but leave something in reserve for setbacks.
There are going to be bumps in the road, but if you expect them, even the ones you don’t foresee won’t be insurmountable. Keep a positive eye on the prize, even in tough times. If you really believe in the business, know you’ll enjoy it, welcome the franchise support system and have the resources to back up your efforts, you are a good candidate for franchising.