Individuals who have difficulty following directions from others or who dislike working within a system will find franchising extremely frustrating. If consistency among franchises is to be maintained, it is critical that all of the franchisees conform to the franchisor’s operations manual. There are areas, such as marketing, where a franchisee can be creative.
Risk is inherent with starting any small business. Because the franchisee owns the business, he or she, to a great extent, determines the actual success of the venture. The franchisor may have a great program and a respected name, but in the final analysis much of the risk depends on the franchisee’s efforts.
Working With the Franchisor
A franchise can be closely compared to entering into a marriage. Both are legally binding relationships that last for a long time. The franchisee’s relationship with the franchisor will be extremely important. Franchisees should get to know the franchisor by visiting corporate headquarters, talking to other franchisees, and learning as much as possible about the franchise.
Some individuals that purchase a franchise expect instant success, perhaps because they see how well other franchisees have done. Those individuals may not adequately consider that accomplishment does not come without great effort. Franchising, like any other business, requires tremendous time, initiative and industry. Prospective franchisees should ask the franchisor to be realistic when explaining what is required of the prospect to operate the business.
Managing the Business
Some individuals are better prepared to effectively manage a business than other individuals. Some individuals may have some business experience and have learned to get along well with people. Other individuals may feel that managing a franchise is a burden. Prospective franchisees must honestly assess their own ability to run a business – rather than being employed. If these individuals find they have little or no experience, they should seek special help from the franchisor in business management. Also, most local communities have access to business mentoring programs, such as local community colleges or the SBA’s SCORE business mentor program.