If you consider yourself an entrepreneur, you’re familiar with the overwhelming drive that it takes to succeed. But how do you harness this energy and ambition to turn this motivation into a legitimate, thriving business? The reality of being an entrepreneur is that success may not happen on the first attempt (or even second or third).
Taking your ideas from concept to reality can be a challenging process that requires much introspection and planning, and it can be very overwhelming to think about launching a business from the ground up. Here are four tips on channeling your entrepreneurial spirit to build a thriving franchise:
1. Choose the right partner
Choosing a business partner is a huge decision that can have disastrous consequences if taken lightly. It’s important to select the right person that understands your business goals and complements your management style – and don’t underestimate the importance of a partner who supports your professional areas of expertise, and adds value to your business. Your partner should also have the same goals and work ethic that you do. At The Camp Transformation Center, when we first approached our now-business partner Sam, we weren’t worried about the intricacies of running a business because my husband and I have a business background, since we previously ran a sales company. Instead, we wanted someone who had experience in the fitness industry who could then share their knowledge with us. By combining my husband Luis and my business expertise with Sam’s industry insight, we felt much more comfortable launching the concept.
Although we did take a chance on Sam, we trusted our gut that our same entrepreneurial spirit was reflected in him. When he said he was going to do something, he acted on it, which is the same go-getter attitude that we have as entrepreneurs. Make sure that you get a sense of if your work ethic aligns with whomever you go into business with before making the partnership final.
2. Don’t get discouraged
My husband and I were directly affected by the 2009 recession – we had a sales business that really struggled during that time. An event like this can be devastating and discouraging. The thing to remember is that this event – an economic recession – was out of our control. A great characteristic to have as an entrepreneur is gradual perseverance. The saying “when one door opens another door closes” is a cliché, but true. When you’re an entrepreneur, you have to accept that things may not work out on the first try, and that’s okay. In fact, according to the Small Business Administration, only about half of new businesses survive five years or longer. What will make you succeed is continuing to harness that drive to keep going, even if the first time doesn’t work.
3. Create an inspiring mission
You can’t start a business without first establishing a clear vision and mission. Once this happens, the next step is to make sure to select franchisees, employees and staff that align with the vision of the company. When your employees and franchisees believe in the business concept, this helps the business to thrive long-term. Being in a fitness industry like ours where we focus on transforming both bodies and minds is fulfilling for everyone involved at all levels of the organization – from the corporate team to staff. When clients tell us how joining The Camp changed their life and health, it feels like a no-brainer that you want to be involved in something so special.
4. Make your business stand out from the competition
Anyone can have a great idea. The challenging part is turning the idea into a franchise that can survive the test of time. To build a solid franchise system, you’ll need to have a concept that is different from what’s already available. For example, anyone can start a fitness concept. However, we created a unique business concept that people can grasp onto and adapt for themselves. When we first started The Camp, our original plan did not include franchising, but our idea was unique and our clients felt such a connection to how we were different that they wanted to do this for themselves and started approaching us about opening their own locations. In fact, all of our non corporate-owned locations so far are owned by past clients that wanted to play a part in transforming other’s lives.
Ultimately, to start a business that has the possibility of becoming a franchise, you need to believe in the business you are building. Starting a business takes an immense amount of time, work and most importantly, drive. If you eventually want to franchise the business, then you’ll have to convert your ideas into something that people can envision themselves getting involved in. That idea needs to become a concept that is replicable and relevant in other markets.
Alejandra Font is the Co-Founder of Southern California-based The Camp Transformation Center, a fitness center franchise that aims at transforming the lives of its members through its six-week Challenge.