Everyone has his or her own ideas about giving orders--and taking them. If you bristle at the thought of being told how to set up your merchandise, how to display the advertising banners or having to report your sales and expenses every month, you should think about how you'll feel when you are expected to follow an entire system every day. That's day in and day out-year after year.

Successful franchising is based on the principle that following a detailed structure is your best guarantee of success. As a franchisee, part of what you buy is the franchisor's system and knowledge. Your role is to follow the formula the franchisor has developed and to look for ways to improve your operation within the system. That means following the rules, working within the system and running your business according to the agreed-upon plan.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Can you follow somebody else's rules, even when you think you have a better way? If not, independent business ownership may be a better fit for you.
  • Do you think you can change the franchisor's system after you are on board? If so, independent business ownership may be a better fit for you.
  • Do you think that your local market is different from all others in the system and that the franchisor will modify the system just to suit your needs? They may, but if you're counting on it, independent business ownership may be a better fit for you.
  • Can you trust (with some honest skepticism) that your franchisor is working for the benefit of the entire system-even when his or her decisions do not necessarily go your way? If so, franchising may be your ticket.
  • Are you willing to share financial information and provide required reports each month? Are you prepared to accept coaching and advice on business from your franchisor's field staff? If so, franchising may be your ticket.
  • Do you have the personal drive to be a great operator? If so, franchising may be your ticket.

From Franchising for Dummies� by Dave Thomas and Michael Seid. Copyright� 2000 Hungry Minds Inc. All rights reserved. Produced here by permission of the publisher. ...For Dummies is a registered trademark of Hungry Minds Inc.