The image of the cargo ship, Ever Given, can be used as a metaphor for fear. By the time you are reading this, you will know that the ship that was grounded due to bad weather and a sandstorm is finally free after being stuck in the Suez Canal for six days.
The imagery of this enormous entity and the seemingly microscopic machinery working to free it from the muck can be applied to candidates considering business ownership. So often, candidates want to flee from corporate shackles or they want to change professions, but fear gets in the way.
Fear can be the factor that halts the franchise process. Although it’s natural to experience some level of fear, when we let it take over, it can be paralyzing. It can immobilize us from moving forward and disable us from achieving our goals.
The trick to moving forward is to face our fears head on. By recognizing our fears and making moves to get past them, we are in control. Let’s explore some common areas that exacerbate fear.
Fear of the unknown
If you are contemplating franchise ownership for the first time, there is so much that you may not know. It takes time and dedication to pursue it properly. Just like you would research companies when you are considering employment, you will need to invest a lot of time and energy to familiarize yourself with franchising. It is critical to follow the process and meet with the franchisors you are considering, familiarize yourself with the Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD), and go through validation and plan on talking to 5-10 franchise owners. Speaking with an attorney who is an expert in franchise law will also give you an added level of comfort. Knowledge truly is power!
Fear of finances
Franchises tend to have requirements for liquid capital as well as net worth. The thought of taking money from a retirement account can stop people in their tracks. Most of us have contributed to our retirement funds for years and watched it grow. Think of this option as a further diversification of your portfolio. You are investing in yourself and in your new business. There are other great options if you do not want to borrow from your retirement savings, such as lending through the Small Business Association (SBA) or utilizing a home equity line or personal credit. There are terrific lending companies that are specifically proficient in the franchising space and will guide you to the best option.
Fear of risk
Many people focus on the statistics about new business ownership failure rates, but there are so many success stories. Look around and think of all of the locally-owned businesses that surround your community. How long have they been there? How many do you personally support? They are a part of your everyday landscape and routine, and each one has a story of risk and entrepreneurship.
Everything in life involves some degree of risk. Falling in love, having a family, and buying a home are all risky, but the reward usually outweighs the risk. Even when risky pursuits end badly – a bad marriage for example, you gain memories and experiences from it that continue to shape and define you.
Managing risk in a franchise investment
Franchisors will point to weak members and note that they are not following the system. The franchising system is in place in order to mitigate risk. That means it’s in a franchise owner’s best interests to take all of the training, support and recommendations that are given and execute them accordingly. After all, that’s why you’re investing in a franchise in the first place!
As a franchise owner, you will need to put in what you expect to get out of the business. Working hard and smart will shore up your business and make it that much more likely to succeed. Buying into a franchise is in essence leasing a business for an extended amount of time. Someone else put forth their blood, sweat and tears to create this concept that you can replicate.
The grounded cargo ship caused the loss of billions of dollars as ships piled up on both ends of the waterway. Do not allow this to happen to you. Keep moving forward. Do your research. Talk with trusted advisors. In the end, if you decide that owning a franchise is not for you at this time, at least it’s a decision made based on knowledge, and not one that passed you by because you were stuck!
“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” —Dale Carnegie