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Buyer Blunders

The 5 biggest franchisee mistakes that lead to failure--and how to avoid them

Be Your Own Boss, Fall 1999

Virtually all the business media have been guilty of glamorizing the positive side of owning a franchise. Unfortunately, the negative aspects are sometimes either glossed over or simply ignored. As a result, many people go into business with blinders on . . . and end up well on their way to failure before they've even begun.

In my 18-year history of franchise marketing, I've identified the kind of people who do or don't become successful franchisees. I've also identified many common misconceptions that may ultimately lead to business failure.

For starters, most people are used to working an 8-to-5 job, with a "boss" directing them. When you're in business for yourself, you must have the discipline to work independently. You can never say "Gee, I don't have anything scheduled this morning, so I'll sleep in." You must maintain the same work schedule or the same number of hours virtually every day. If you don't have anything scheduled, you should read educational materials to further your business knowledge and capabilities.

In addition, prospective franchisees who come from a corporate background may be used to putting in their eight hours, then putting their work behind them. Many people actually assume that when they own their own business, they'll be able to work less and take more time off for recreation. Unfortunately, the opposite is true. When you run your own business, you usually have to work more hours, not fewer. You have to be willing to put in long hours and, if necessary, work weekends as well. This is especially true in the start-up stage.

Stuart J. Dizak is president of Video Date Services, a 247-unit videotaping service franchise based in Rochester, New York.

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