5 Keys to Franchise Success

As candidates call us looking for franchises their first questions, quite understandably, revolve around what makes a good franchise opportunity. 

What we try to learn as we work with them is if they have the characteristics that make for a successful franchisee.  The combination of a great franchise opportunity and the right candidate can be powerful!

The field of potential franchise owners has changed since I got into the franchise business over 20 years ago.  Back then the bulk of the inquiries we saw were often people in the twilight of their careers looking for a small mom and pop type of operation to keep them busy and provide a little semi-retirement income.

Today with the evaporation of the “contract” between employee and employer in corporate America where employees committed long hours and top productivity to employers that would provide long term secure income opportunities has led to a migration of the best and brightest in Corporate America to the world of franchise ownership.  Were we used to see people in the twilight of their careers looking for small opportunities we now see professionals in their prime looking to build huge portfolios.  They are looking to build what past generations saw in Corporate America but to do it on their own and without the threat of downsizing or caps on their income.

In short, they have so much confidence in their abilities that they are willing to hire themselves.

But is confidence in the skills from your job enough to make you successful as a business owner?

There will have to be a few more pieces to that puzzle that fall into place to be successful in franchising.  It is important to remember that business owners tend to be generalists where employees are often educated and trained to be specialists.  There is a way to bridge the gap and get specialists into a system where they have the support and resources they will require to pursue success.

We build models of both our candidates and franchise brands so that we can find the places where candidates can fit into systems built for their specific skill sets.  Even though we will be looking for complimentary systems for each candidate to drop into there are still some characteristics we will need to see in each candidate.

Desire – looking for a 10 out of 10:

This is a big change that our candidates are considering they have to really want the outcome they are pursuing.  What we are looking for is more than the decision to float a resume and try for a slight pay increase.  I want to see passion in candidates as they talk about their goals and why they want to pursue them.  In many cases what we hear is that their jobs have been unfulfilling and they worry about getting downsized.  Those kinds of worries can create a real desire for a better solution.

Drive – looking for a 10 out of 10:

Owning a business takes some work, of course how much varies by the amount of money you leverage to employ people to do the work for you.  It is safe to say that even semi-absentee franchise opportunities will require some work to build out and get staff settled into.  We want to see that candidates are willing to dive in and do the required amount of work when it needs to be done.  Without a commitment to doing the work a business venture is a risky pursuit.

Decision Making – looking for a 7-10 out of 10:

Whether you are the primary service provider or a hands-off semi-absentee owner we will need to see that our candidates are comfortable making business decisions.  It surprises us time and time again how many people are fearful of making key business decisions.  To some extent this may be a trait of being afraid of making a bad decision and getting downsized in their past jobs.  In considering a business they will own we need to see that they are comfortable driving their own future.  Those decisions will include ramp-up, hiring, marketing and much more.

Following a System – Need to see a 8-10 out of 10:

The franchising model is becoming a part of a proven system that you employ for your benefit.  If you are not able or willing to follow a particular system then you should not buy into that brand.  If you cannot follow anyone else’s system then franchising is not for you.  Franchise brands vary in how much flexibility is in their model.  For the most part franchisees deliver the same products across the board, in the same way and with the same branding.  Where flexibility is sometimes more noticeable is in how you grow your business.

Franchisees are all part of the family and a good franchise system engages them for input on how to grow the model, but the system will generally move as one as opposed to all going their own directions.  From a consumer point of view this is often a reason franchises are desirable places to shop and eat since they can drop into any location and have a consistent experience.

Management and/or sales skills – Need to see 8-10 out of 10 in one or a combination:

Depending on what kind of franchise we go look at with our candidates they may have to employ management or sales skills in that role.  The most common desired skill is management since growing a business will often include employees.  Sales can come into play a little more where the owner will sell the product or service themselves.

While there is more we look for, these characteristics should give you some idea of the basics.  With the right desire, drive and other key criteria matched you will be off to a good start.

Looking at franchise ownership can be a fun activity, hopefully you do the work to make sure that you are finding great franchises and are that they are a perfect fit for you.

Mr. Knauf is a highly sought after, trusted advisor to many companies; Public, Independent and Franchised, of all sizes and in many markets. His 20 plus years of experience in both startup and mature business operations makes him uniquely qualified to advise individuals that have dreamed of going into business for themselves in order to gain more control, independence, time flexibility and to be able to earn in proportion to their real contribution.

Contact the Franchising USA Expert George’s Hotline 703-424-2980


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