People are often drawn to franchising thanks to a proven track record, an established brand and the added advantage of ongoing training and support. But the question often on their mind is: “Will I make a good franchisee?”
If you are looking to invest in a franchise the best thing you can do is research. And as part of the research you need to look at yourself, your characteristics and your skills. So what attributes make an exceptional franchisee?
One trait that many franchisors look for is passion. Franchisees need to be driven and passionate about the product or service they are looking to invest in. Starting a franchise business from scratch is no mean feat, there will be long hours and hard work to get the business up and running so good franchisors want to know their franchisees share their passion to drive the business forward even in the toughest of times.
They will also be looking for people that are system-orientated with a partnership mentality. Franchisors will have spent a lot of time and money developing, refining and testing their brand and business systems and will not be looking for people to come on board and reinvent the wheel. However, a good franchisor will have a process in place to deal with ideas coming from the network. After all, franchising is about the franchisor and franchisee working together for the good of the brand.
While it may sound strange, a good franchisee understands franchising! That is, they know they are part of something bigger than just themselves. Alongside a head office there are usually other franchisees in the business. Some will be more established, some will be newer. Good franchisees take advice off more experienced peers and share knowhow and ideas freely with each other. The support network, and responsibility that goes with that, extends further than just to the franchisor.
In most franchise businesses good people and communication skills are important. It may seem obvious but as a franchisee you may need to manage staff, build trust and motivate your team to get the very best from them.
Then there are your customers. Creating customer confidence and loyalty is important to ensure repeat business and customer referrals.
In any business, franchising or not, there is also a need for some element of sales skill. You do not need to be a natural born salesperson but you do need to be comfortable with selling you and your brand to the end user. The good news is that this is an area that franchisors will usually offer you plenty of support on.
Finally, one of the most important traits of a good franchisee is attitude. There is no avoiding hard work if you want to be successful. You need the willingness to put in the long hours and go that extra mile, especially in the early days because despite having the back up and support of a franchisor it is your business and you need drive it to make it successful. A franchisor once said to me, ‘The only place success come before work is in the dictionary.’
The right attitude extends to setbacks too. Things may not always run smoothly. If business ownership was easy, everyone would be doing it! So make sure you have a ‘won’t quit’ mindset when it comes to making your business a success. It will serve you well.
Not all franchisees have all of these traits but the joy of franchising is that you are ‘in business for yourself, not by yourself’. You can look to learn from both your franchisor and the other franchisees within your network to coach you in any areas that you are not completely confident in. Many franchisors encourage mentoring between franchisees and will have dedicated support staff to help you be successful.
Pip Wilkins is head of operations for the British Franchise Association.
Further reading on franchising