The first part of the franchise research process is to conduct a brief self-assessment of your personal strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes and resources. These psycho-social dimensions can guide you through the many decisions you'll face in the franchise evaluation process. Without these personal signposts, it's easy to lose your way.
Here are some questions you might want to ask yourself:
- What types of businesses excite you?
- What's your entrepreneurial fantasy?
- Do you imagine yourself dealing with long lines of retail customers, all waving $1,000 bills?
- Or do you see yourself dealing at the business-to-business level, taking calls from Microsoft and Nordstrom?
- Are you working outside in the fresh air, or is your idea of heaven found in the dusty inner workings of a computer?
- Do you see yourself working at home, near your family?
- Are you working part time, or do you plan on this being a full-time career position?
Check your investment resources. List them on paper. Note liquid resources, your cash on hand, savings and that rainy-day cookie jar of $5 bills you buried in the backyard. What other personal resources can you scare up? If your Aunt Gertrude once offered to help you get started in business, now is the time to talk to her. If your bookworm sister just aced Regis Philbin out of $1 million on national television, maybe now is the time to talk business loan (if she says no, you have the perfect response: "Is that your final answer?"). Do you have equity in your house or other assets that can be pledged for a loan? Write them down. Expect to call on virtually all your personal financial resources when you purchase a franchised business.
Knowing your resources saves you considerable time when narrowing down choices in a franchise investment.