It's not easy to be the new person in anything, and...
A Self Assessment
Before you spend a lot of time reviewing various franchise concepts to find the one that is right for you, you need to ask yourself if you are right for franchising. Without the necessary qualities, no franchise or business opportunity will be the right fit. Good franchisors will spend a considerable amount of time interviewing to determine if you have what it takes. Some franchisors have a very structured selection process. Some may even have you fill out personality profiles. Still other franchisors may go by a gut feel. Whatever the process the franchisor wants to ensure that you have the characteristics that make for a good franchisee. They want to have confidence that you will be successful. It is their name and brand that is at stake.
What are the qualities that the franchisor is looking for? It will vary from franchise to franchise. Not all franchises are alike. Each concept will have certain specific needs unique to their concept, but there is a core group of traits that all franchisors seek in a strong candidate. Not everyone is perfect, but these core characteristics, if they exist will increase the probability of success, no matter what franchise you select.
The following are the core values and competencies that many franchisors look for in a candidate. Each is followed with some questions to ask yourself as part of your self-evaluation.
Attainment. The need or preference for accomplishing something of value, working hard, solving difficult problems and being successful. Goal oriented setting and achieving goals, ideally written. The need or preference for completing tasks once begun, persistence and wrapping up loose ends. Despite obstacles, the ideal candidate does not give up.
Are you able to organize your time and set priorities? When you reach a major stumbling block do you think it through and find solutions? Do you enjoy challenges of become frustrated by obstacles.
Interdependence. Someone who is creative, but needs to work in a system. The candidate cannot be too entrepreneurial for they will start trying to change the system. There should be a need or preference for forming close relationships and being a member of a group or organization.
Do you need to make all the decisions yourself? Are you prepared to work within a proven operating system? At the same time are you able to work without day-to-day supervision and a support staff? When faced with challenges do you seek help from others? Are you willing to learn?
Introspection. The need or preferences for analyzing one’s own behavior and the behavior of others. The ability to look within and to one’s self constructively for improvements, rather than blaming others or circumstances. Will assume personal responsibility for negative events and learn from them. Takes responsibility for one’s own success and failures.
Do you look for solutions or look for problems? Do you blame others or look within yourself? Do you learn from past experiences? Do you know your personal strengths and weaknesses?
Leadership. The need or preference for directing group activities, functioning as a leader or being seen as a leader. Evidenced by an ability to motivate and direct people towards achieving a goal. Effective leaders communicate the big picture and inspire others towards a common vision.
Do you have management and coaching experience? What have you done in the past to get results through other people? Are you able to handle the day-to-day operation of a franchise business? How much operational detail are you comfortable with, i.e. administration, advertising, payroll?
Attitude Towards Employees. Sees employees as a valuable asset to the business rather than as an expense. Will have a more participate style of management. Communicates to employees “what’s in it for them” in order to have employees go the extra mile. Shown when candidate treats employees as individuals and call each by name. Treat people with respect and trust.
Are you comfortable getting results through other people? Do you enjoy coaching employees to succeed? Have you hired, trained and fired staff in the past?
Sales and Marketing Oriented. Needs to feel comfortable selling and marketing products or services. Evidenced by someone who enjoys talking about their business and the products or services they sell to strangers in their normal day-to-day life, both inside and outside their business. Needs to feel comfortable seeking out new ways to market the business. Evidenced by the fact that they enjoy people and constant interaction.
How do you feel about sales? Are you comfortable performing the sales function? Do you enjoy interacting with strangers?
Responsiveness to Customers. Cares and respects the customer. Has a high desire to provide exceptional service to the customer. Understands the importance of building relationships with customers and repeat business.
What is your attitude towards customer service? Do you enjoy dealing with the public? Have you dealt with customers and the general public before? Do you have strong people skills?
Drive for Success. Candidate has high energy and strong work ethic. Is prepared to work the long work hours required to make a business successful. How strong is your motivation and drive to succeed? Do you give up easily if things don’t go as planned? Are you able to work long hours to make the business succeed?
Positive Attitude. Individual believes that things will work out for them and have a positive attitude towards life, success and business. Persistently looking for ways to make things work. Are you a positive person most of the time? Is your spouse positive and supportive of you starting a business?
Financial Ability. A business requires financial resources. One does not want to go into business undercapitalized. This is possibly the biggest reasons why franchisee’s do not succeed. The specific financial need will vary from franchise concept to franchise concept. Be sure to find a concept that is within your financial budget.
Do you have sufficient capital (through personal funds and loans) to get through the start-up phase of a business? Are you mentally prepared to take on the financial risk? How much are you prepared to invest?
Most successful business owners will have a variation of these ten qualities and character traits. It is what has made them successful. How do you compare? Getting into business for oneself is not for everyone. Doing it through a franchise allows one to minimize the risks of getting into business. Once you have identifies your personal strengths and weaknesses, and still desire to proceed you can search for a franchise opportunity which will allow you to capitalize on your strengths and possibly offset your weaknesses.
If you have all of these qualities, there is nothing stopping you from succeeding. It is then a matter of taking the leap of faith. Having faith in yourself and your abilities. I have over the years seen many qualified individuals freeze when it came time to move forward. It is extremely difficult if you have worked as an employee all your life to cross over to becoming a business owner. There is a sense of security of staying with what is comfortable and known. But rest assured, the rewards are there for those who rise to the challenge. Just as it is difficult for one who has always been an employee to cross over and become a business owner, the reverse is also true. Once one has owned and run their own business, it is rare that you see them go back to being an employee. Ask any business owner or franchisee. They will tell you that it is rewarding and provides great long term security. These is a great sense of accomplishment in building a successful business.
Wayne Maillet is President of Franchise Specialists, a
franchise consulting firm based out of Vancouver. He has over 14
years experience in franchising. He can be reached at:
Suite 410- 2551 Parkview Lane, Port Coquitlam, British Columbia V3C 6J8