Do you dream of becoming an entrepreneur? Are you at that point in your life where owning a business now seems possible? Have you considered owning a franchise?
Despite what you may have heard, owning a franchise can be a financially rewarding and personally satisfying entrepreneurial option. Unfortunately, there are a lot of misconceptions about franchise ownership.
The following are a few common myths associated with franchise ownership.
Myth 1: I must find the right business to be successful
Many of us equate “the right business” with what we are especially talented at doing. Don’t limit yourself. Think about the skills that you have developed in other areas of your life, whether that was working in Corporate America or managing a household. Many of these skills, such as delegation, people management and marketing, are transferable to other areas of your life.
Myth 2: I can only be successful doing something I love
Businesses based on an owner’s experience or background have the highest failure rate. If you limit your choices to what you are familiar with or good at, you are putting yourself at a disadvantage. Don’t ignore the huge number of possibilities that fall outside of your realm of past business experience
Myth 3: I’ll know the right opportunity when I see it
Many people want to fall in love at first sight with their businesses. That’s an emotional decision, not a career choice. Take the time to learn about the details and nuances of the opportunity. That is the only way that you will fully understand its potential.
Myth 4: I can’t be in a business that I know nothing about
It’s natural to want to stay in your comfort zone. However, as a franchise owner, your role is to run and grow your business. Not only do you have transferable skills, but you also have the ability to hire people who have specific skills and expertise that you may lack. Surround yourself with people whose skill sets complement yours and the needs of your business.
Myth 5: I won’t have the freedom to run my franchise as I see fit
This is one of the most pervasive beliefs about franchise ownership. In fact, the opposite is true; franchise owners have a good amount of freedom to run their franchises as they see fit, without interference from “corporate.” The corporate office dictates only one thing: that franchise owners adhere to the basic business concept or framework on which the franchise was founded.
The business model has already been proven to be successful, so why not use it. Beyond that, you’re in charge; you manage your business. You decide whom to hire and fire, how to market your location and how to promote it. The franchisor wants you to succeed, because if you don’t, it doesn’t.
Anna and Jim O’Berto founded the Chicago-area based franchise Jimano’s Pizzeria. Anna says, “There is a misconception of the franchise model that a franchisor/franchisee relationship mirrors a parent/child relationship. In our system, at least, we value the input of our franchisees and treat the relationship as a partnership, creating a win-win relationship.”
Myth 6: Franchises stifle creativity
Yes, you may be asked to follow the franchisor’s policies regarding signage, uniforms, formulas and protocol because they already have proven to generate money and strengthen the franchise’s brand. However, you have the freedom to flex your creative muscles in many other areas of the business. In fact, most franchise parent companies encourage suggestions and ideas from their franchise owners—it’s where they get many of their best ideas. Take McDonald’s, for example—the concept of the Egg McMuffin was developed by a franchisee.
Myth 7: I can’t afford a franchise
The start-up cost for most franchises is well under $100,000, and in some cases, as little as $12,000. You are required to pay the parent company a one-time franchise fee and either weekly or monthly royalties, which are usually determined on a case-by-case basis. Beyond that, your out-of-pocket expenses—salaries, advertising, etc.—are the same as they would be for any other business. The difference is that you have the support and training of the franchisor network, which will help you ramp up to full speed far more quickly than you could on your own.
Myth 8: I can’t raise children and own a business
Another common myth is that parenting and business ownership don’t mix. Terri Hubbard, the Chicago area developer for the FasTracKids franchise says, “A lot of people believe that you can’t run a business and raise kids at the same time. While my kids are grown, I have several moms in my system who manage to be successful at both.”
Now that I have debunked some of the common myths surrounding franchise ownership, I must be honest with you; some franchises do fail. But the majority of these failures are due to the owner’s deviation from the system that has a successful track record, use of inferior materials or unproven formulas.
The key to owning a successful franchise is consistency. Take advantage of the framework built-in by the franchisor; it is in place because it works. And don’t forget to add your own skills and creativity to the mix. This is the recipe for franchise success.