While all the books, blogs, and articles in the world can tell you what to expect, what business franchisors will give you as a business franchisee, only you will be able to make the decision for yourself. It’s a personal decision based on personal questions and self-evaluation. While you might face obstacles based on your personality and what you’re looking for, there’s nothing that says someone can’t overcome their drawbacks when it comes to franchising. You just have to be realistic and honest when entering into the relationship with a franchisor, who you are, and where you want to go. Ask yourself these questions to find out:
You don’t have to know a thing about business management to become a franchisee. That’s one of the perks when it’s placed up against entrepreneur or small business owner. You should expect to go into day one learning. The first thing you’ll learn as a franchisee is that you have a lot to learn. The next thing you’ll learn is all the roles you’ll have to play in your franchise. Roles like:
You will be training your staff every day in new developments. You will also be constantly learning about the industry, products, standards, and even people. You will also be the one setting the golden standard for operation in your store. You will be the person that your employees look at when they have questions about how to act or what to do in certain any situation.
You cannot enter into a franchisee relationship if you are not prepared to learn. In fact, many franchisors will put a clause in your agreement that if a franchisee cannot pass their test, they can terminate the relationship or keep testing the franchisee until they — pass. Many franchisors actually look for an eagerness and willingness to learn when they interview franchisees.
Right, right. There’s that preconceived notion that as a franchisee, you will have the freedom in the world to do what you want and be your own boss. That is wrong. While you will run your store’s day-to-day operation, you will be required to follow the orders of your franchisor for things like displays, advertising, and merchandise.
Successful franchising branches from the idea of following a detailed structure given to you by a franchisor. What you pay for, as a franchisee, is the franchisors knowledge and business skill that made them succeed in the first place. Your role at that point, is to recreate the franchisor’s success by following the written recipe as it is written.
Not sure if you’re happy following orders? Think about:
These are all questions that are necessary to understand yourself better and whether you are ready for franchising or if you should consider owning your own business instead.
Do not worry about becoming a robot and only doing what you’re told because in good franchises, that will never happen. Amazing franchisees take the system that they are given and insert their personality and skills into the guide and rules, making it a combination of their franchisor. They love what they do, they believe in the brand, and it shows. The merit of a great franchise is consistent from location to location, but that doesn’t stop you from adding your personality to a franchise. Just remember that franchising is not inventing or creating, but running what is already made with your passion and devotion to the industry.
Think of the retirement, 401K, medical and dental insurance, stock options, sick days and paid time off, and any other benefit you may have had or have heard of. When you choose to run your own store, you’re choosing to work for yourself and you may not have special benefits anymore.
You will also notice as a franchisee that you don’t have the same team you might have had at the office —that is, you do not have a secretary, payroll clerk, or other filing managers unless you hire them. Those corporate perks may not be affordable when you’re just starting up. They might never be necessary or needed for your store. You will have to get used to running a store or franchise without all the extra personnel devoted to bringing you coffee, preparing your paperwork, and making sure everyone is paid on time. As a franchisee, that will be up to you to either get done or to hire someone who can get it done.
As a business owner or franchisee, it will be your job to kick the doors of your store open every morning at the time—until you can hire someone you trust to be there at opening on the days you can’t be. It can be brutal to get up at the crack of dawn every day, to run through a long list of to-dos, and to prepare your store (and yourself) for the customers of the day. It’s physically and mentally taxing to say the least. Can you handle the stress of it? Can your blood pressure? Especially during the early days as a franchisee, you will find the kick off more stressful than day-to-day practice. You’ll also need to be able to keep a clear-head when crisis shows itself. You’ll have to be flexible, strong, and independent to the point of not needing orders to get your daily tasks done on time.
Franchising is customer service. It might sound silly to ask yourself if you like people, but you may be surprised by the answer you’d receive from the general public. As a franchisee, you will deal with people on their best days and people on their worst. You will deal with people who have had a good experience at your franchise and people have had a terrible time at your franchise whom you may have never met. You have to have patience, good communication skills, a positive attitude, and the ability to sell your product while meeting your customer’s needs.
While franchising can take off some of the initial burden of starting your own business, it is still an expensive purchase. You should assess how much you have before even looking at possible franchisors. The cost for startup can be anywhere from less than $100,000 for startup fees to multi-million dollar costs in well-known, big league franchising. Not to mention that’s just the startup cost. You should aim to have backup money to pay employees with as you start up for minimally the first few months as you get business going. You will probably have to find a few ways to pull funds together in most cases. You’ve probably heard of some business people starting their businesses by maxing out their credit cards, taking out a huge loan, or asking their family and friends for loans.
While most people have to pull out stops in order to get appropriate funding, think carefully before putting yourself in that much financial risk because it does not always pay off well. You will need to exercise good judgment, self-control, and knowledge before you make any decisions.
Starting a franchise is a huge, life changing move. It’s more than a full-time job. In fact, during the startup, your franchise can become your life. It’s always important to check in with your support team of family and friends to find their opinions or just to have them there with you. In fact, having an appropriate support team of even one or two people vs. having none can be the deciding factor of whether you’re able to succeed or not. It’s about your support team’s attitude as much as it’s about yours.
If you’re met with groans or complaints from your family or friends, work out with them exactly what the problem is. Include your family and friend supporters in your decision-making and updates as you travel down the road of franchising. By sharing your franchising adventure with your family, they will catch your enthusiasm and be more likely to support you and your decisions. However, even if they still disapprove, at the end of the day, keep in mind that your feelings and your happiness are number one on the list of important things whether you’re buying a franchise or starting your own store from scratch.