If you’ve made the decision to franchise, which for many people isn’t an easy decision, you need to avoid some of the pitfalls that come with the do-it-yourself model. I’ve done both and I’d rather buy a system that’s proven itself time and time again, than reinvent the wheel.
With thousands of business opportunities to choose from, the hardest question is not, “Where do I start?” but rather, “Which is right for me?” We as entrepreneurs are faced with new business opportunities every day, and not all are the right fit. If you are considering starting a franchise location, here are the questions you should ask yourself:
1. 'What are my conditions of satisfaction?'
I have three conditions of satisfaction. If a business opportunity doesn’t meet at least two of the three, I won’t do it. For me, I need to have fun, to learn and to build wealth. I also need to apply these criteria to picking the right franchise opportunity. Having a clear understanding of your conditions of satisfaction allows you to quickly say yay or nay to any business opportunity that comes your way.
If you’re not going to have fun, what’s the point? And speaking for myself, if it’s not going to make me money, I’m out. With me, it’s "two strikes and you’re out."
2. 'What is my end goal?'
Because my conditions are so defined at the start, I know that with any business opportunity I am going to have fun, learn and build wealth. But I also need to define what my end goals will be. When deciding on guests for my All Business podcast on CBS Radio’s Play.it, I follow the rule that these people have to be interviewees whom I can have fun with and learn from -- and who make my sponsors happy.
When I was deciding to build C-Suite TV, I knew that my end goals were to create quality programming that met the needs of the typical company's c-suite, and that all three of my conditions of satisfaction had to be met.
Is your own end goal to provide for your children? Then accept or turn away any business opportunity based on the answer it provides you to that question.
Are you in it for the fame? Then you need to make business decisions that increase your exposure at, first, a local level, then a regional one, then a national one and so forth. In my book, Think Big, Act Bigger, I mentioned how entrepreneurs need to find a bigger pond to take their businesses to if they'e outgrown the pond they’re currently in.
I had a great measure of success in my home city of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, so the whole state became my "bigger pond." Then I realized I had 49 other states out there in which to get even bigger. That became my end goal, and it should be yours, too. Every business decision you make, from the time you take to select a franchise, to the day you leave it, should be aimed toward obtaining your end goals.
3. 'What will I not do?'
After you’ve determined what your conditions of satisfactions and goals are, the next question is what will you not do? Does the idea of flipping burgers turn your stomach? What about pest control? If there are things you know you won’t do, or won’t enjoy doing, chances are you won’t want to own a business that offers that service (even if it makes really good money!)
At the same time, if you’re a small business owner, or an entrepreneur getting your business off the ground, you may have to do things that you didn’t have to do in your cushy c-suite office. I’ve had to clean my own bathroom, for instance. Did I want to do that? Not particularly, but it still had to get done.
Don’t expect your employees to do the things you want them to do if you’re not willing to do them yourself. Doing the things you normally wouldn’t have to do isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It just gives you a different perspective that will come in handy when your business takes off.
4. 'What are my passions?'
If you thrive off helping people, then your focus on finding the right franchise should include that. If you love animals, consider starting your search with franchises that deal daily with pets. With thousands of options out there, it’s important to keep your list of passions short, sweet and to the point; otherwise you will bombard yourself with information.
Along the way,remember that your “job” should stop being a job. Being passionate will take your franchise far, because you love what you do.
5. 'How involved am I going to be?'
If you’re thinking that owning a franchise is simple, and you can work a few hours here or there, you’re sadly mistaken. Owning a franchise is a lot like having children -- you have to feed it money, time and people. You have to clothe it by maintaining and caring for your property.
You'll have people to manage and bills to pay, too, so to assume that you can buy into and then walk away from your new business is asking for trouble. Yes, there are some opportunities like this that exist, but those are the exception, not the rule. Be truly honest with yourself, because if you’re not, you could be throwing your money down the drain.
With thousands of choices in franchises to get into, your future will thank you if you do your homework. There are plenty of resources available online. Start with Entrepreneur 500 to learn about great opportunities!