The idea’s been percolating—the one about leaving the corporate rat race, investing in your own future, taking control of your professional destiny and steering a new path. You don’t want to keep clinging to the corporate ladder because it’s unfulfilling, insecure, and maybe even sucking the life out of you. You don’t want to go the start-up route because it’s complicated and far too risky.
Investing in a franchise seems like the perfect compromise—the opportunity to work for yourself without being in it by yourself.
With an eye toward making this bold move, what’s next? We think it is time to find yourself a franchise consultant. Consultants have helped hundreds of candidates move forward from where you are now, walking them through the steps from big dream to business owner. The guidance of a knowledgeable franchise consultant is invaluable in the process, but even before you make that first phone call it helps to understand what’s ahead.
In a nutshell, you can divide the preliminary steps into two primary categories: What You Want, and What You Have to Offer. If you can get a handle on those two big concepts, you’ll be ready to dig into specifics and start making choices, analyzing opportunities, and finally letting that big idea of entrepreneurship take shape into something real.
Listen to nat and pete talk about your steps to becoming a franchisee on the hire yourself podcast episode below
Step One: What Do You Want?
Today’s franchising options are a world away from previous generations’ fast food-centric choices. In 2020, the franchising business model touches nearly every industry, everything from food (yes, that still works) and travel to fitness and fun activities, caregiving and consulting to home and business services, auto care and education to salons and retail. Pick an industry. Chances are, one of the more than 3000 franchising business opportunities is there.
The wealth of choices means would-be franchisees can find operations that match not only their investment criteria, but also their preferences for business structure, time commitment, and operation size. Many even find businesses that tie into their personal passions and values.
Opportunity abounds, and in order to make the most of it you should come at this early exploration phase with an open mind and an interest in learning. Consider this list of factors:
How engaged in your business do you want to be, up front and long term? Are you going to be a daily worker? Manage from a distance? Work up to the latter?
Are you building a bridge out of the corporate world or into retirement? And if so, how long do you want to keep your “day job”?
Do you want to scale the business over time? Do you see this investment as a one and only, or the first of many?
How much income do you need to create? For how long? Are you replacing a corporate salary or planning to supplement a retirement? In addition to the salary you pay yourself, do you expect your investment to become an asset you can someday sell or transition to family members?
Where in the world do you want to be—now and in the long term? This can play a big role in which options are available to you.
How important is the status of the business to you? Are there fields you want to avoid? Fields you’d like to learn more about?
How do the needs and wants of the people you love fit into your vision? How much are they going to be a part of this new professional endeavor and what’s that going to look like if it’s your first time working together?
What are your goals in terms of work hours and days? Are you willing to put in long hours while you’re getting your business off the ground? If so, do you see yourself scaling back your time on the job in a year? 5 years? 10?
Do you want to make a difference in others' lives, develop and grow employees, and/or provide a beneficial product or service to customers? How important is it to you to feel like you’re making a worthwhile contribution?
How do you plan to capitalize? Are you willing to leverage personal assets like home equity or a 401k to back your plan? Are you willing to personally secure loans and leases?
How long do you want to own the business? Do you have an exit plan?
Step Two: What Do You Have?
The perfect match between franchisor and franchisee is a true partnership, and it’s important to remember in this process that franchisors are assessing you even as you’re assessing them. What are they looking for? These essentials:
Do you “get” business numbers? Understand sales and marketing? Grasp the essentials of how a business is run? If yes, you’ll be an asset to any franchisor who works with you.
This shows itself in a lot of different ways, but if you’ve got a strong work history and a track record of success, you’ve got the goods.
Franchisors are looking for a partner they can trust. Are you a person of your word? Does your professional past reflect that in solid, mutually respectful relationships?
Franchisees run their own show, and having leadership skills is an essential piece of any opportunity—especially concepts that involve employees.
Some people are bulls and others are sheep. The ideal franchise candidate falls somewhere in between—independent minded enough to take control of an operation and drive it to success, but also able to work within the proven system the franchisor provides. Sometimes it’s simply not necessary to reinvent the wheel or blaze your own trail. Will you be okay with that?
Every new franchisee has to have skin in the game. The thresholds for getting in the door vary widely, but if you don’t have a positive net worth and some assets you can draw on, chances are you’re not ready for this investment yet.
Walking through these questions and considering your goals and assets is a great way to familiarize yourself with the early steps of franchise selection. Once you’ve got a sense of what you want to accomplish, you can start sifting through your options (ideally with the guidance of a reputable franchise consultant) to narrow those 3000 business options down to The One that’s right for you.
Ready to start on your way? Ready to take your first steps? Schedule a free consultation today!