Buying Your Way to Entrepreneurialism
By Lindsay Thomsen
Becoming a franchisee is one way to spread those entrepreneurial wings and own a business. While some may say that buying a franchise is just buying a job, others see an opportunity to take a risk with a built-in support network, proven processes, specific training and recognized branding. It’s not fail-safe, however some research shows that owning a franchise has a lower failure rate compared to a startup business.
What are the steps to finding the right franchise opportunity?
Joining a franchise network is like a marriage. Start with the right relationship because the connection between a franchisee and franchisor is foundational to success. Explore franchisors by understanding their culture and views toward franchisees. Know how a franchisor trains, supports and celebrates franchisees. And above all, just because a franchisor wants you doesn’t mean you must choose them. Remember, it’s like dating and it is okay to think, “I’m just not that into you.”
While searching for the right franchise opportunity, seek advice from multiple sources. Entrepreneur.com annually ranks the top 500 franchise opportunities. The infamous Google search can provide insight, though it is important to balance it with insider knowledge from people who actually own a franchise within a network. LinkedIn offers an easy way to search for franchise owners within a certain brand. Also, when speaking with a franchisor, ask for a list of franchisees to speak with about their experiences.
Lastly, after committing to “franchise matrimony,” honor thy relationship. If the commitment is made with a reputable franchisor with a good culture and trusting support system, then remember to keep them as a partner. Recall the research that suggests owning a franchise has a lower failure rate compared to a startup business. Franchisees who act opportunistic rather than part of the larger network team could face similar dilemmas to startups rather than franchisees who stay connected and committed to the repertoire of tools at their disposal for success. The African proverb is paramount here:
“If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.”
Becoming a franchisee is a great way to be entrepreneurial and become a business owner. Just remember that franchisees are part of a larger network, brand and mission; the whole network is greater than the sum of its franchisee parts.