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Are You a Good Franchise Candidate?

The questions and tips provided will help you evaluate your skills and personality to determine if you're a good fit for being a franchisee.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The following excerpt is from Rick Grossman’s book Franchise Bible. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | IndieBound
Franchising isn’t for everyone. But this is no less true of franchising than it is of medicine, teaching or gardening. Thus, to help you make this determination, you must ask yourself some questions:

Sam Edwards

What do you really enjoy doing? This doesn’t have to be the that you’re doing at the moment. Instead, it could be a hobby that you’re passionate about. Indeed, one of the most important factors that may determine your success or failure is the level of enjoyment and satisfaction you can hope to experience in operating the franchise from day to day. You must be involved with the daily operation of your at some level regardless of the model you choose. So it’s critical for you to “inventory yourself” to make sure you are indeed a good franchise candidate.

Do you like working with the public? If the answer is no, there may still be B2B (business-to-business) franchise opportunities that require you to work with other business people, but the truth is that you’re still working with the public.

Do you like the idea of being the boss? It was President Truman who said, “The buck stops here,” and the burden of being the boss can’t be more succinctly stated. You’re responsible for the daily grind that is business: bookkeeping, issues, inventory control and the like. Though you may delegate these duties to an employee, ultimately, it will be your job to ensure that it’s all done in the manner that the franchisor requires.

Are you willing to have employees? Though it’s not exactly working with the public, the ability to work with employees in a positive manner is no less important than your ability to work with your customers. If hiring, directing and firing employees isn’t your thing, then you may look for a business that doesn’t require employees.

Are you willing to take direction from the franchisor when setting up and operating the business? As strange as it may sound, entrepreneurs aren’t the best franchisees! A franchisor doesn’t want someone who will learn the system and then take off on tangents that aren’t within the confines of system. Time and again, it’s been confirmed that it’s the franchisee who can follow the system that is successful. Deviating from it is counterproductive, in violation of your franchise contract, and, more often than not, results in a failed franchise.

Is your family enthusiastic about the idea of buying a franchise? Will you enjoy working with them if they’re going to work in the business?

Do you have the necessary capital resources? Can you make the financial sacrifices?

Are you emotionally prepared for working the hours required to succeed? Succeeding in franchising requires and sometimes long hours.

Don’t be afraid to ask friends and acquaintances for their opinions on your abilities along these lines. And don’t rely on just one opinion -- get several.

It’s true that franchising gives you a greater chance to succeed in business than going on your own. However, we want to dispense with the most persistent myth about franchising: that the franchisee can make a lot of money from the franchised business with a minimum of effort. This has never been the case, and it’s a serious misconception. As is true in most things in life, the franchisee who works the hardest profits the most from a franchise business.

Initially at least, you must be able to make sacrifices:

  • Be prepared to put in long hours of hard work. It’s not unusual for the boss to be the first one to arrive in the morning and the last one to leave at night.
  • Be prepared to understand and be able to carry out all the jobs required to operate the business. This might include anything from janitor to cook to CEO. If an employee fails to show up for work, at least in the beginning, it’s often the owner who must fill in the gap.
  • Be prepared to be disappointed. Understand that you’ll occasionally be disappointed by an employee’s performance, which may require you to discipline or even fire them. This is never an easy task, but it’s one that comes with the territory.
  • Be prepared to be the most organized person in the business. Everyone in the business will look to you to organize the operations -- be it those necessary to run the day-to-day operations or close out the business year’s books and records.
  • Be financially and emotionally prepared for setbacks. Every business that has ever existed has had to overcome difficulties. Businesses cycle through ups and downs, have difficulty with inventory control and suffer the hardship of finding competent help. These are par for the course. Having the franchisor in your corner will certainly give you a great resource to help with these issues, but in the end, it’s you who must resolve them.

You must select a particular field of business you like -- or better, that you have a passion for (like working with cars, say, or working with numbers) -- and then decide whether that endeavor is suitable given your past experience and talents. If you have a background in mechanical engineering and enjoy working with equipment, then a vehicle-based franchise opportunity may be the franchise sector you should consider. Has your experience always been in bookkeeping? Looking into accounting-based franchises may be the way to go. On the other hand, if you’re an individual who loves working with food, then looking into the restaurant industry may be an interesting exercise.

Although finding a line of work that you can enjoy is important, you want to make sure that the business is a solid model with an existing market of potential customers. Choose the business in which you can excel so you can have the freedom to enjoy the fun things in life. 

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