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Becoming a franchisee is a personal decision. There are many factors that you’ll want to take into consideration when evaluating whether or not a franchise is the right choice for you.

A franchise has a lot to offer the right person. This includes a proven system of running your business that will stay with you for as long as you own your franchise. While this has proven to be a successful method of starting a business venture, it isn’t always the right method for everyone.

Perhaps you are just exploring the idea of purchasing a franchise, or you’ve seen a franchise opportunity that you think is right for you and now you’re wondering if you’re cut out of the right cloth to be a franchise owner. Before taking the next step in this important process, you’ll want to carefully evaluate yourself, your resources, and your interests.

Evaluating Yourself
  • Owning your own business requires a tremendous investment of personal time and energy. The average workweek is not Monday through Friday 8-5—rather, it is a responsibility that requires you to be in charge of your business every moment. The norm for franchise owners—especially in the first few years of operation when you’re building your business—is 60-70 hours a week. It takes a lot of hard work to start and run a successful business, even with the support of a franchise network behind you. On the other hand, the rewards of operating your own venture are very high. While considering whether this is the right opportunity for you, ask yourself if you are willing to invest this amount of time into running your business.
  • A new business takes time to establish and grow. While the franchisor has developed the processes required for running your business, you are still responsible for the day-to-day success of your operation. There will be a lot to learn. Even if you have run a business before (and perhaps even particularly if you have), this is a new operation. You can count on things not to always go exactly as you expected, and that there will be deadlines and personnel issues and other daily emergencies that go along with running any business. Do you handle stress well? Do you thrive on constantly changing and learning new things? Think carefully about your health—both mental and physical—and whether you have the stamina to pursue the start-up of your own business.
  • If you’ve thought hard about yourself and you think you are up for the challenge, that you have the stamina and the desire to run your own business, you now have to consider your personality. Are you the kind of person who wants to create that one-of-a-kind recipe? Do you go about rearranging other people’s furniture in your head when you visit new homes or do you admire what they’ve done with their place but think of few things you might do to make it more welcoming? If you’re the creative genius type, it may make you crazy to take direction day after day and year after year. The most successful franchisees are comfortable working within the operational boundaries of the franchisor while still putting their personal touches into the day-to-day running of their franchise. They can make people feel at home, pay attention to the unique needs of their location and turn those into opportunities, yet still follow the system set out by the franchisor. If you think you can successfully manage under operational guidelines without chaffing at the bit and would enjoy managing the day-to-day business of your franchise, then franchising may be the right opportunity for you.

What are your Resources?

The most important resources a prospective franchisee needs are financial resources and family support.
  • Money doesn’t grow on trees, but if you don’t have the right amount of capital and financial resources in place before you buy your franchise, you’ll soon wish it did grow on trees -- and that you had a whole orchard. Understanding the financing required to start your venture is paramount to your success. Most new businesses don’t break even, let alone become profitable, in the first year. Along with your franchise fee and the amount of money recommended as available capital to get started, you should plan on enough to cover your family’s needs for a year. If you have a spouse who continues to work at another job you may have another resource for these needs, but you should be prepared to not count on profits from your new franchise in the first year and have that capital set aside before you begin your franchise.
  • People. You already love working with people, which is of course why you’re considering running your own business—can’t get enough of ‘em. If you are considering purchasing a franchise you want to be sure that your family and friends realize that they will not, in fact, get much of you. It takes a lot of time and devotion to start a business and you will work long hours, especially in the beginning. If your family is not willing to give you the support you’ll need to work those long hours, miss some of those family functions or days out with your friends, then this is not the right time for you to begin a franchise. If you already work a corporate job at which you are putting in 70 or 80 hours a week, this may not be a consideration (as long as you don’t expect that to change). Make sure your family understands what to expect and that they will support you as you put in all the energy and drive required to get your business up and running and then to manage it successfully in the years to come.

  • Consider what your interests are before making the decision to become a franchisee. If you are looking only at what is profitable you will not be as successful as you could be. Remember, you’ll run this business for many years—possibly until you retire. You’ll put in 70 or 80 hour workweeks and you will be teacher, mentor, fire-putter-outter, supply-line specialists and community spokesman for your business, among many other things. Successful businesses are run by people who like what they do. Make sure you look for something that you will like doing and you will have the greatest chance of being successful doing it.
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