Your first year in business - Setting goals and managing expectations

Your first year as a franchisee is about more than establishing a business and stepping onto a new career path. It involves adopting a specific mindset that will shape the way in which your journey unwinds and help you to achieve success. It is important to remember that although franchising has a considerably higher success rate than equivalent startups, success is ultimately determined by the effort invested by the franchisee.

There are many milestones that you will need to clear in your first year as a franchisee. You will need to raise sufficient capital to buy into your chosen franchise brand, find an appropriate location and stock it, market your new business, attend franchise-specific training and networking events, immerse yourself in your local community, and potentially even take on staff.

Although there is a lot to look forward to, it is important to set yourself achievable goals. Failing to do so could see your mental, emotional and physical health take a hit, as well as your finances and motivation. Setting realistic goals is the most important way of managing your expectations and measuring your achievements.


Setting goals

Goals will help you to remain focused by breaking large milestones into more achievable chunks. By achieving realistic goals and measuring success, you will maintain motivation and retain clarity. Your goals should always be SMART:

  • Specific - Detail the exact outcome you wish to achieve.
  • Measurable - Define your success criteria.
  • Achievable - Don't set yourself up to fail.
  • Realistic - Realistic goals will keep you focused and motivated.
  • Time-bound - Set targets for when your goal will be achieved.


Manage your expectations

Areas in which you must set goals include:

  • Cash flow forecasting - By setting a realistic forecast of income and expenditure, you will keep your business financially afloat and on track for success. Regularly monitor your financial position to identify shortfalls and take action before a problem develops.
  • Marketing - Although your franchisor will have a defined marketing strategy, you must ensure that your actions deliver success. Investing too much money without sufficient return not only impacts your bottom line but can affect your reputation.
  • Time management - Organize your time and prioritize your most important tasks to avoid losing yourself in your business. It is easy to underestimate how much time it takes to become established, so set SMART goals in this area to avoid losing motivation.


The importance of outsourcing

Even though it can be tempting to try to do everything yourself, there are some areas in which a professional will deliver a better result in a shorter time. Consider your areas of expertise, and in aspects where you are unable to fully commit due to time pressures or lack of knowledge, outsource to an appropriate expert. It will be money well spent.

Your first year will be a challenge, so set yourself realistic goals and celebrate your achievements. Be open to adapting your plan or outsourcing challenging areas to achieve the best results. By managing your expectations and monitoring progress, you will be well-placed to emerge stronger at the end of your first year in business.