The One Question Everyone Is Asking

 I know you, better than you know yourself. Underneath that tough exterior, and ever so slightly puffed up ego – there lies a tender underbelly. But no one has seen it.

Not the guys on the basketball court who just like you cover their tender underbellies with full throttle chest slams, butt slaps, towel pops and fist pumps. Not your employees who see you as some kind of wizard who makes things happen from sheer genius and willpower. Not your children in whose eyes you are a combination of super hero and ATM machine. Not even your devoted wife. What?! But she’s seen me naked, you exclaim. No she’s clueless too. How do I know? Because she’s sound asleep and quietly snoring while you’re wide awake asking yourself the same question again and again: do I have what it takes?

You’re not alone. Everyone asks themselves that question. But rarely out loud. Even more rare, is getting an affirmative answer in advance of taking the leap into business ownership. Indeed, many linger for years watching on the sidelines as others with much less ambition or talent crossover from corporate minion to business owner. Oh, I’m not suggesting you are doddling. Besides how would I know that? Nor am I implying you lack confidence, skills or drive. I’m simply suggesting this one question has hindered countless individuals from achieving their dreams.

Granted not everyone has the ‘right stuff’ to be a franchisee but just as often the issue is in regards to ‘right fit’ instead. Two different things and both are important. I’ve spent 23 years in the psychometric assessment business specifically in franchising. I research, design and validate tools to determine if someone has what it takes to be a business owner and if so which franchise would be the right fit. I love neuroscience, data and being able to delineate and predict things. Call me a nerd, but franchisors that truly care about the performance of their franchisees like having me around.

In the past 3 years Zoracle Profiles has assessed 79,935 franchisees and prospective franchisees including 1283 top, 5891 mid and 984 low performing franchisees. That being said, maybe I can shed some light on your tender underbelly and provide an unbiased, science-based answer as to what it takes to be a successful franchisee. Then you can decide. Top performing franchisees exhibited these three traits in spades over their low performing counterparts.


Pop psychology suggests if we are self-aware – understand our emotions, strengths, weaknesses and drives we will be happier and more successful.  I can’t argue the happier part but I can tell you our research shows no such correlation to business success. In fact, low performing franchisees scored higher in self-awareness then top performing franchisees, pointing to negative correlations.

Instead top performers scored higher in self-control. Their ability to manage disruptive emotions and impulses effectively and remaining calm in the face of the unexpected is what lead to success. This in turn confronts another false assumption, that one must understand something to control it. Top performers control their thoughts, feelings, mouth, time and money. Top performers do not bow to their feelings. They take their thoughts captive. They zip it, because gossip, criticism, whining and complaining are destructive acts of pride. Most importantly they are good at delaying gratification. Want to fail? Speak and spend like there’s no tomorrow. Want to succeed? Exert self-control.


Low performing franchisees scored higher in self-confidence whereas top performing franchisees scored higher in initiative. Seems odd right? How is it that someone with strong self-confidence would avoid taking initiative? Let’s look at the difference.  Confidence by definition is courage that comes from certainty about our capabilities and goals. This doesn’t sound very confident or courageous to me. If one must be certain about something before taking action what kind of courage does that take?

Initiative on the other hand, is the power at one’s own discretion to do something before others do. In other words, someone with initiative is not waiting until he is confident in his capabilities. Top performing franchisees take initiative. They cut through the red tape. They mobilize themselves and others even when all the ducks are not in a row. So why does someone with strong self-confidence not take initiative? Because confidence does not mobilize it gloats. Want to fail? Continue to gather competencies and capabilities, take that seminar, read that book, hire a coach and white board your ideas. Want to succeed? Get up. Get dressed. Go do it.


While we are on the topic of self-confidence and gloating let’s look at the roll of humility in business success. Humility is the quality or state of not thinking you are better than other people. Hmmm, sound like anti-gloating to me. Top performers outscored low performing franchisees in the trait of humility. Top performers treat people with respect. They are not easily offended. They don’t take credit for what others have done. They do not need to be right or insist on having their way.

Pride is the enemy of success. We’ve heard ‘pride cometh before the fall’ a thousand different ways, yet we are a culture that is easily offended and applauds arrogance. Want to fail? Pretend you know it all, be easily offended and insist on being right. Want to succeed? Serve others, admit your mistakes and ask for help.   

I trust this quick glimpse into the attributes of successful franchisees answers your question: do I have the right stuff? Want to learn more? Take the Business Builder Profile yourself.

Rebecca Monet is chief scientist and president of Zoracle Profiles. Zoracle is a franchise specific solutions provider offering a suite of customizable psychometric assessments. Zoracle’s SpotOn! meta-analysis provides insight no singular profile, survey, algorithm or assessment can. Our SpotOn! science determines franchisee-franchisor compatibility and predicts performance. Zoracle reduces recruitment and support costs while increasing franchisee validation and performance. 

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