Very few colleges and universities offer their students subject majors in franchise ownership. Students can study business and learn the skills that will help them become great employees. Some universities even offer a selection of courses on entrepreneurship. However, I’ve observed that many colleges don’t have a single course on franchise ownership.
The argument can be made that students need to gain professional experience before opening a franchise, so their focus should be on beginning their career by working for an employer and moving up the corporate ladder.
That approach has been successful for many people. However, there are others who want to take a different path and explore opening their own business. In my role as a franchise coach, I work with many people who are beginning this exploratory process. Making a career transition can be challenging. I know because I have been there. It involves personal introspection, focus, drive, capital and, most importantly, work. If you don’t know what you’re doing, the exploratory process can be overwhelming and intimidating, but one that is invaluable in determining if someone has what it takes to own a business.
Before speaking to franchisors, reviewing a franchise disclosure document (or FDD) or attending a discovery day, there are several important steps that need to be taken to help determine if you’re a good fit for franchising. This starting process serves as the foundation for future success, regardless of your final path.
Assessing Your Skills And Building Your Box
To find the right franchise, you must first define what you want and clearly outline the characteristics of the ideal business. You start this process by determining your core skill sets. People often mistake core skill sets for industry knowledge, but they’re not the same. It’s important that you have strong core skills that match the primary requirements of the business model. However, in most cases, industry knowledge is not essential, as the franchisor will teach you what you need to know about the industry.
To identify your skills, think about your personal strengths related to a job. For example, if you’re an engineer, you’re probably organized, a good critical thinker, a problem solver, and you might have experience managing employees and projects. However, you might not have business-to-business sales skills. As an owner, your job is to manage and grow your business. Your employees will do the work. Therefore, opening a marketing-driven business where you can use your core organizational and management skills will give you a higher chance of success than opening an engineering business where you’re required to spend all day knocking on doors trying to sell engineering services.
In addition to having a skill set match, the business needs to fit your lifestyle, location and financial requirements and a preferred timeframe to do so. Ask yourself several questions, including:
- How much free time do I need each day?
- How far do I want to travel and how often?
- How much can I invest and how much do I need to make?
- When do I need the business open?
The key is to clearly outline who you are, what you want and what you bring to the table. In many ways, you’re building a job description for the role that suits you best.
Corporations all create job descriptions. The goal of a job description is to clearly define the characteristics of the person most likely to be successful in the role. By creating a job description and hiring the person who best fits that model, the corporation is maximizing their potential for success. In many ways, we’re doing the same thing. We start by asking, “What does an owner of this business have to do every day?” We then ask, “Would I hire myself to run this business?” Just as someone can gauge whether they’re a qualified candidate for a job based on its description, they can assess their own aptitudes and how they fit with the franchise opportunities they’re contemplating.
We hear the phrase “think outside the box” quite frequently. In this case, it’s important for people to think inside the box to accurately assess their strengths and find a business that will give them the highest chance for success.
Creating A Vision
When determining if franchising would be a good option, it’s also important for you to have directional clarity and to create a vision of what you want your future to look like. What are your goals, how do you see yourself in the future and how do you get there?
You’ve likely heard the phrase, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.” While this is true, I’ve found it to be a bad strategy when it comes to choosing a direction in life. Often, people focus on the business as the destination, but for many of us, the business is simply the vehicle.
The vision is a concise, written description of the destination. Every company has a vision statement. They allow employees to maintain a common direction as they steer the company. It’s critical that you have your own personal and family vision statement. Clarity at this level will allow you to know if the path you’re considering will move you toward or away from your desired destination. Without directional clarity, any road will get you there.
When it comes to considering franchising, there is no perfect time, and there is no perfect franchise. There never will be. As with all choices, business ownership involves some risk and will be challenging.
However, when approached correctly, assessing your abilities to determine the right career fit, establishing a vision for your future and being dedicated to taking control of your destiny can be an exciting process that can offer a deep sense of personal and professional fulfilment. Whether the process outlined above leads you toward or away from business ownership is unknown. What we do know is that, when followed closely, this approach always leads to better decisions.
Source: Forbes – www.forbes.com