Ford Motor Company founder Henry Ford once said, “The whole secret of a successful life is to find out what is one’s destiny to do, and then do it.” Ford’s own destiny was one that would have a profound impact for generations to come. He brought cars to businesses and families, and in doing so made the world a little more accessible for everyone.
Not everyone can be among the most impactful entrepreneurs of an age, but we live in a time of unprecedented opportunities for individuals to become business owners—even without the extreme risks that invariably come with startup creation.
Franchising offers the possibility of participating in what the HIRE YOURSELF consultants call Entrepreneurship Lite. These are scenarios where you don’t have to come up with the big idea, you don’t have to test it, and you don’t have to create the processes that will make it work. Instead, you sign on to invest and partner with a team that’s already done the ground work and proven through early successes that the concept is a winner.
How do you know if you have what it takes to become a part of this business model sea change that touches virtually every industry? With two decades of combined experience, the HIRE YOURSELF team has met, vetted and advised countless candidates as they weigh their franchise options. They’ve also been honest with would-be candidates for whom franchising was not the best path at a particular time.
Through it all, the top traits of promising candidates have become apparent. These people come from all walks of life, but there are a few things most have in common. Consider these 6 traits, broken down with quotes from Mr. Ford himself:
Characteristic #1: Positive Attitude
Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right. --Henry Ford
The first thing a strong franchising candidate brings to the table is a sense of can-do optimism. These are people who understand their own power, who know they can be change-agents, and who are not afraid to take calculated risks. It takes determination and steady effort to get a new franchise up and running. Without an underlying sense of positivity, it can be a long and seemingly interminable slog. With it, establishing and growing the business is a mission and a challenge—something you’re always striving to accomplish, and something to celebrate each step of the way.
Characteristic #2: An Open Mind
If I’d asked people what they wanted, they would have said ‘faster horses’.” –Henry Ford
Becoming a franchisee takes some of the pressure off the investor to be a visionary and dream up some product or service the world can’t live without, but it doesn’t relieve the candidate of the obligation to come at the entire process with an open and interested mind. So often candidates who know nothing of their options come at this certain there’s only one right business model for them.
In fact, franchising is ever-changing and evolving in terms of what’s available and what is possible. The ideal candidate approaches the selection and discovery process looking to explore and to learn. If you’re zeroed in on finding today’s version of a faster horse, you might just miss out on the next much bigger thing. A franchise consultant can help you sift through the thousands of options available to find the business that’s the right fit for you.
Characteristic #3: Experience
Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently. --Henry Ford
One of the most common misconceptions about business investment is that it’s best done by the young. This just isn’t true, and research has shown that the best age to start a business is around 50. Why? In all likelihood it’s because mature adults have made their mistakes and learned from them on all sorts of fields of play: relationships, teamwork, leadership, investments, work practices, and so much more.
By the time they reach middle age and are ready for a change, great candidates are a wealth of knowledge about “what not to do,” much of it picked up from the School of Live and Learn.
Characteristic #4: Resources
Old men are always advising young men to save money. That is bad advice. Don’t save every nickel. Invest in yourself. –Henry Ford
Here’s one of the things any successful franchisee will tell you up front: It takes economic resources to make a solid start. This doesn’t mean you have to have your full investment sitting around in cash—the vast majority of franchisees do not. It means you need to have a positive net worth, a nest egg you can draw on for investment and collateral, and a credit history that will make you a good risk for lenders.
There are many ways to leverage non-cash assets to help with your franchise investment, and there are plenty of lenders who specialize in backing franchise transactions. If you aren’t on solid financial footing at the outset, though, wait a while. A certain amount of risk tolerance is a necessary trait in almost any business investor, but no one should jump into franchise investment unless he or she is on solid financial footing from the start.
Characteristic #5: Business Acumen
Stopping advertising to save money is like stopping your watch to save time. --Henry Ford
An ideal candidate comes to franchising with a wide range of experience in things like marketing, project planning, finance, leadership, and generally getting along with others. If you know how to write a business plan and the basics of real estate transactions, all the better. You don’t have to have all these things, but a track record of success in business is one of the most valuable assets of any future franchisee.
Characteristic #6: Commitment to Service
Employers only handle the money. It’s the customer who pays the wages. --Henry Ford
There are franchising opportunities available in every industry, but almost all have a shared characteristic at their core—one way or another, they serve at the pleasure of the customer. It really doesn’t matter if the business is retail, food service, caregiving, consulting, hospitality, business-to-business or direct-to-client.
In every equation, it’s the people on the consumer side of the transaction who ultimately pay the bills. Solid candidates recognize this and keep it in mind in every phase of the franchising process—from choosing a business they recognize as a win/win for both owner and buyer, to being deeply committed to providing an excellent product or service.
The HIRE YOURSELF consultants are experts in the process of helping candidates understand their investment and financing options. Interested in learning more? Schedule a free consultation.