Do you have enough business acumen to be a franchisee?
by Matthew Levington (Founder) Dec 14 2017
It's a question that comes up time and again: how do I know if I have enough business acumen to run a franchise? And it's a pertinent question. As a franchisee you will be supported by a head office that knows its business inside out. You will be trained in the optimum methods to make a success of your venture. And you will build relationships with other franchisees who can offer the kind of peer support and first hand experience that really makes a difference. But what about you? How do you know if you're bringing enough commercial kudos to the table?
I always say to potential franchisees that having a strong desire to run your own business over a long period of time is as good starting point as any. Some people just know that they are not cut out to be employees forever and that their ultimate aim is to be their own boss.
You might have reached a place where you are absolutely fed up of working for someone else, towing the line, having your ideas ignored and constantly playing politics.
People with business nous often find themselves looking at other people's businesses with a critical eye. When they go out for a meal they start the kinds of conversations that go 'How many covers do you have? What's the average spend per head? What do you do during your quiet times?' They are inquisitive about how people make money.
They may have a history of questioning the way their employer operates and putting forward alternatives.
They might even have run a series of cottage businesses on the side whilst they were employed - often referred to as side-hustles. They could be an eBay seller, or maybe they mowed lawns or cleaned windows for cash when they were younger. That entrepreneurial spirit has always been close to the surface and will be pushed down no longer.
To run your own business you need to be comfortable with dealing with conflict: this could come from employees, suppliers or customers. You need to be able to work both in a team and independently. You need the ability to engage with people and to get them to want to buy from you.
Another appealing attribute in a potential franchisee is a thirst for learning and an appreciate of their own weaknesses and gaps in their knowledge. If someone thinks they already know it all, then buying a franchise is not going to work for them.
Someone who has been able to demonstrate first class people skills in an employed role will be very appealing to a franchisor.
If a potential franchisee has a interest in business, a desire to make money and emotional intelligence, a franchisor knows that they can teach them the practical nuts and bolts of running a business - it's the people bit that is much harder to train.
Above all, a potential franchisee must have the resilience and self-motivation to carry on when things don't go according to plan. For me, a really strong indicator of a great franchisee is someone who takes responsibility when things go wrong; someone who makes it their problem and takes positive steps to put things right, rather than blaming it on external circumstances like a difficult customer or bad patch of weather.
If someone has the kind of 'why does bad stuff always happen to me' attitude, my alarm bells start ringing.
Matt Levington - Founder