True Confessions

Team Player

Are there some people who just effortlessly fit into the franchising formula, while others don't? Experts say you can bet on it. "Some problems occur when people who buy franchises have previously been in high management positions," says Don Foltz, senior consultant for The Franchise Centre, an Englewood, Colorado, franchise consulting business. "All of a sudden, it dawns on them that they have to follow a system and everything has to be done by the book."

Franchisees who have a penchant for breaking the rules or doing things their own way often have problems with their franchisors. These franchisees frequently complain about lack of control over management decisions and policy changes.

While a natural instinct to think on your own can be to any entrepreneur's advantage, it's still necessary to work as a team player, say franchise experts. After all, the reason you buy a franchise is to take advantage of the franchisor's years of expertise and tried-and-true systems.

Haskell says the best franchisees are those he likes to refer to as 'intrapreneurs.' These people are driven by an entrepreneurial desire to be profitable, yet also have the ability to work within a franchise system. "The ideal is for people to be able to work within a structured environment," says Haskell. "People who are too entrepreneurial just won't follow systems."

Do you have what it takes to be a successful franchisee? Do you think you're ready to take the franchise plunge? Despite the inevitable hard work and long hours, many franchisees say the hassles are well worth it. Because for them, becoming a franchisee has been the fulfillment of a lifelong dream.

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This article was originally published in the January 1996 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: True Confessions.

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