Before buying a franchise, one of the most important questions to ask yourself is: “Do I have the right personality to be a franchisee?”
People are all different, but so are franchise opportunities. No two franchise opportunities are exactly the same. How franchisees succeed in one franchise opportunity is different from how they succeed in another.
Franchising is the safest way to develop a business; there’s no doubt about that. But franchising is not for everyone, and every franchise opportunity has different expectations of its franchisees. Whether you are buying Subway or McDonald’s, Fastsigns or Signarama, Pizza Inn or Pizza Hut, it’s important to know if you’re a good fit for franchising in general, but it’s equally important to know that your personality is a good fit for the specific franchise opportunity you want to own and operate.
Avoid this common mistake
One of the worst mistakes you can make is to buy a franchise that’s a mismatch for your personality. Just because you’re cut out for franchising in general, or just because a franchisor is interested in signing you as a franchisee, doesn’t mean the franchise opportunity is compatible with your personality, or your skills and values.
Sadly, many franchisees make the mistake of buying before they understand what is required by a specific franchise opportunity. The result may mean outright failure – because the franchisee and the business are not compatible, the franchisee can never develop a satisfying and profitable business. Or it may mean the franchisee can build a business, but not one that’s satisfying or profitable enough. Consequently, the franchisee is disgruntled or at least unfulfilled.
These scenarios do not serve franchisees or franchisors, and yet they occur all the time.
Are you a good fit for franchising?
But how do you find out if you’re a good fit for franchising, and then a good fit for a specific franchise opportunity? How do you do this before buying the franchise
Here are four steps that you can take to protect your interests:
1.) Match up desires with reality
Are you a leader or a follower? This is a tricky question. Most franchise prospects see themselves as leaders, and franchisors say they want their franchisees to be leaders. But the reality is that top franchisees recognize the value of following, and they are capable of following the franchisor’s guidelines and rules and regulations. Look, franchising is successful because a franchisor has already developed a system for operating a business. Franchisees are successful when they follow the franchisor’s system. If you’re all leader and you can’t follow, or you don’t want to follow, franchising probably isn’t a good fit for you.
But then you also need to look at the requirements of the specific franchise opportunity. For example, you may want to work five days a week, but the franchisor requires you to operate the business seven days a week. Is that a problem? Probably. You may be a fit for franchising, but not for this specific franchise opportunity. You want to work from home, but the franchisor requires a location in an office building. You want to work alone, but the franchise business requires multiple employees.
It’s important to know what will work for you and what is acceptable to the franchisor.
Many franchisees regret that they didn’t think more about their personal desires and lifestyles before investing in a business. Once you sign a franchise agreement, you lose flexibility. Your reality becomes the franchisor’s requirements.
2.) Participate in the franchisor’s discovery day
Most franchisors want to be certain they are selling to people who fit their business requirements and expectations, and that’s one of the reasons that franchisors offer discovery days. This event is an opportunity for you to visit the franchisor’s home office for a day or two, and meet members of the corporate team, as well as (in many cases) franchisees.
Not all franchisors offer discovery days, but not all franchisors are interested in selling to people who are a good fit for their business. Unfortunately, not all franchisors are created equal. Some are better than others. You must constantly look out for yourself and make certain that while the franchisor is eager to sell a franchise, the franchisor is also diligent about selecting prospects who have what it takes to succeed in the business.
Sometimes prospective franchisees say they don’t want to spend the time or money to attend a discovery day. That’s a mistake. You’re going to spend a considerable chunk of money to buy a franchise and commit yourself to it for possibly 10, 20 or more years. You don’t want to spend $1,000 (maybe less) to visit the franchisor and learn about the business? If that’s the case, I’d wonder if you’re a fit for franchising.
Some franchisors – good franchisors – will not award a franchise to anyone who doesn’t attend a discovery day. And in certain instances, prospects are required to bring their spouse and/or partner/s to discovery day as well.
Discovery day is a great protection for both the franchisor and you! Hang out with the franchisor’s representatives for a day or two and you’re more likely to determine if the business is a good fit for you.
Of course, you need to ask good questions when you attend the discovery day, and one of the questions you should ask is: “How do you know that I’m a good fit for the franchise?”
3.) Play franchisee for a day
After you’ve identified a franchise you’d like to buy, find an existing franchisee within the network and ask to “shadow” him for a day, or ideally a week.
By experiencing what a franchisee does on a daily basis, and seeing the challenges the franchisee faces, you’ll know if you are compatible with the business.
You didn’t know you had to be an accountant to succeed in this business? It’s better to find out before you buy.
You didn’t know that the top franchisees in the network are sales and marketing people? Or they are customer service driven? These are the fine points that you need to realize before you invest your money.
Not all existing franchisees will agree to let you shadow them for any length of time, but be persistent. Offer to work in the franchise on weekends for free. Or work part-time for a month.
Many good franchisors will, in fact, require you to spend time in a franchisee’s location before they will sell you a franchise. These franchisors will also ask their franchisees to evaluate you as a potential member of the network. Don’t resist these requirements – these are opportunities to help you match your desires with reality.
4.) Insist on a personality profile.
Franchisors should know the personalities of their franchisees, but it’s surprising how many franchisors do not. Yet, it’s so easy for a franchisor to get this information, and the information is valuable in the franchise sales process.
Before you buy a franchise, ask the franchisor, “Tell me about the personalities of your top performers. What are they like? Are they extroverts or introverts? What are their skills? What do they value?”
Don’t be surprised if a franchisor cannot definitively answer your questions. And don’t be fooled by the answers. Ask for proof. “Can you show me a report that lists the personality profiles of your franchisees?” Many franchisors not only list the personalities of their franchisees, but they also match up the personalities to revenue generated per franchisee!
In other words, not all franchisees are created equal. Some produce more revenue than others, and a franchisor is interested in knowing who’s who. Franchisors recognize that some franchisees are top performers – they generate the highest royalty revenues for the franchisor – while other franchisees are bottom feeders. Smart franchisors understand that personality differences separate top performers from bottom feeders and they take extra measures to identify prospective top performers.
To get at this information, franchisors use various assessments to determine personality profiles. Ask the franchisor of your choice to assess your personality. Then be sure that your personality matches the profiles of the top performers.
Many franchisors use Franchise Navigator as their assessment tool. You can use the Navigator as well to help you discover if you’re a good fit for franchising, and even which type of franchise makes sense for you. Click here and take a few moments to complete the Navigator survey. Readers of my blog and books, and listeners of my podcast, can complete the survey for free, and get a valuable report that explains your franchise compatibility.
Franchising has helped countless thousands of individuals reach levels of personal satisfaction and financial gain worldwide.
Whether or not you’ll achieve the same satisfaction and success depends on many factors, and none is more important than your compatibility with franchising and with a specific franchise business. Don’t jeopardize your investment – know for certain that you’re a good fit before you buy a franchise.
Want proof that you’re a good fit for franchising? Spend a few moments completing the Navigator Survey. You’ll get a valuable report that explains your personality and matches your interests to the types of franchises that make sense for you. Readers of this blog can utilize the Navigator Survey free.
Tags: best franchises, Buy a Franchise, entrepreneur, franchise opportunity, how to buy a franchise, john p hayes, Own a franchise
This post was written by John Hayes