In Franchising, Your Life is the Key!

Usually franchise writers stress steps you should follow in choosing a franchise business. These are important.

However, I think we're missing one very important ingredient. Before you choose your new franchise business, the ingredient to consider is YOU!

Yes, it's essential that you should choose a successful franchise system (old or new). Secondly, you should make sure you're comfortable with the personality of the franchisor. Is the franchisor Rigid? Demanding? Confrontational or Supportive? Open and Understanding? You're buying a franchisor's experience, personality and system. These are key ingredients to fuel your success. But there is a factor that is equally and - in many ways - even more important for your success.


Your Career

Of special value to your franchisor is your work background. It shows the following:

  • Your stability - How long you worked for your present employer? It will also reflect your growth in your job, e.g. promotions, etc.
  • Your job scope - Have you worked with others? Have you had the responsibility of supervising others? How many? What functions?
  • Your ability to assume responsibility (work independently) - Have you had to make decisions on your own or are you a follower?
  • Your job stress - What hours have you typically worked? How many days a week? Do your decisions and actions impact on your income?
  • Your rewards - What salary and bonuses have you enjoyed? What holidays have you received?

Your Family

An important area to be considered -

  • Support - If you are married or have a significant other, does your partner support this step and decision? They should be aware it must be the "number one" focus in your life for at least the first while so you can build a successful business.
  • If you have dependents (children/brothers/sisters/parents
  • /in-laws), do they understand and agree with the strong business commitment you must now make?
  • Is their support grudging or enthusiastic?

Your Hobbies

All work makes for a very narrow lifestyle with little life balance! However, outside interests and activities such as coaching, chauffeuring, cheering, volunteering, tutoring, etc. will have to be cut back as you start your business.

Your Lifestyle

Do a financial spreadsheet of your current living costs for you and your family. Your new business will probably not be able to initially provide the same income you currently enjoy. Make sure you have some way of replacing income or plan to cut back on expenses. Maybe it's having a nest egg to get you through start up months (provide for up to one year).

Some expenses such as rent/mortgage payments, utilities, taxes, food, etc., are fixed. Include others such as car and insurance expenses and all other indirect costs in your personal cash flow analysis.

Some expenses are variable – eating out, travel, holidays, entertainment, etc. These can be postponed (if your "gang" agrees).

Your Personality Pattern

  • Do you like to work on your own?
  • Do you like your privacy?
  • Do you like to work as part of a team?
  • Do you like to chair or lead the group?

Your Ego

  • Are you one of the smartest people you know?
  • Are you an astute investor?
  • Can you listen and absorb advice or suggestions?
  • Do you need the spotlight?
  • Can you share the road to success?
  • Do others enjoy working for/with you?

Your Personal Situation

  • What age are you?
  • Are you young and ramping up?
  • Are you at your midpoint? You’ve built up assets and gained experience.
  • Are you close to coasting? Good assets (RRSP’s maxed, 401K topped up). You’ve got years of experience.

Your Enjoyment of Challenges?

  • Do you plan your day in advance and want to follow it?
  • Is your routine boring and you welcome changes?
  • Is contact with new people a pleasure or a pain?
  • Have you always worked in the same industry and even with the same company?
  • Have you changed jobs for positive reasons?

Your Health

  • Can you stand or survive the "hills and valleys" both emotionally and physically of a new business?
  • What will it require of you physically?
  • If you’ve never been self-employed, can you switch to the uncertainty of running a business? Keep in mind that you have to pay staff even if you can’t take a pay cheque personally.


With the above questions and answers, in our franchise consulting business we’d create a checklist or a balance sheet for you.

Above all else you need to understand not only the possible rewards and opportunities of your new franchise business but also what it will demand from you and your world.

All the way through this article, we have focused on you. You’re the key for yourself but also for the franchisor.

With a good franchise system (training, support, system) you can go into a new world – if you bring your tools to the equation.

Time after time in franchising we see:

A Good System - A Good Location - A Poor Franchisee
= Little Success or even a Problem

On the other hand:

A Good System - A Poor Location - A Good Franchisee
= Good Success

Yes – YOU are probably the biggest factor on how successful your new franchise business can be.

Take your time, choose what you’ll enjoy and be proud as its operator. Your results will be amazing, both financially and emotionally.

From the franchisor’s side, they will have refined and tested their system and products and learned how to best select operating locations. To them – you’re the unknown quantity.

From your side, do your due diligence on the franchisor, take off your rose coloured glasses about the concept and be objective about your long term enjoyment of the system. Above all else, look inwardly at yourself. Like any marriage, both parties have to give and cooperate to make it work. You’re choosing a franchise business because it brings you support, experience and strength. Make sure you’re going to add to and cooperate with the system. You’ll be rewarded by great results.

If you’ve always been an employee, it’s a big step to go into business. Do your homework, choose a system you can benefit from and enjoy then give it your time, attention and enthusiasm and you’ll be the winner!

Written by C. John Woodburn

John can be contacted at:

Woodburn & Associates
4034 Mainway Drive – Suite 202
Burlington, ON
L7M 4B9
Telephone: 1-877-322-2153
Fax: (905) 335-4649