Your success in owning a franchise, or for that matter in anything you do in life, depends to a large degree on whether you are suited to the environment. It is fundamentally important that you clearly understand your strengths, desires, and challenges, and that you match your strengths and desires to the opportunity you are considering.
Just because a franchise has a wonderful reputation and has produced many successful franchisees does NOT mean it is the right opportunity for you. You may be a highly creative person and a rigidly structured environment might drive you crazy. Understanding your personality profile is the single most important step you must take before deciding to invest your hard-earned savings.
One way you can see whether you’re the right fit is to take a personality test.
I suggest you (and your partner if you are going to have one) take a personality test, such as the Kolbe test or the DISC test. These tests can reveal personality traits and action modes that you might not be otherwise able to articulate, which in turn can help you eliminate unsuitable opportunities and focus on those franchises that closely match your personal strengths. Or the tests may reveal that franchises are not suited to you at all. I especially recommend the Kolbe test.
Next, apply the results of your personality test very carefully to the franchise opportunities you are considering. Although franchises are offered in more than 60 different categories, approximately 75 percent of the franchises owned today are restaurants.
Many franchisees appreciate this structure. If you are creative, though, it might drive you crazy. For me, it did! We had a store in the middle of possibly the most sophisticated “foodie” city in the country, and we could not offer anything innovative to our customers. The local competition was running circles around us!
Once you’ve taken a few personality tests, score each opportunity you are considering on a scale between 1 and 10 as to how well it matches your personality profile.
While you are profiling yourself, it’s also important to profile the franchisor you are considering. Is it well established with many successful franchise locations? Is the franchisor growing rapidly, leveling out, or shrinking in size? By the way, there is no right answer to that question.
Is the franchisor publicly held, part of a private-equity portfolio, or privately owned? What is the philosophy of the franchisor, especially with respect to franchisee relations? Is the franchisor constantly innovating, improving systems, and expanding the brand? Who is the CEO? How long has he/she been CEO, and what is their vision for the franchise? What are this person’s strengths? As you answer these questions, compare the answers to your personality profile.
On a scale of 1-10, how well does the franchisor profile match up with your personality profile?
Having been a franchisee for many years, I learned a number of things that a franchisor might not tell you upfront. These secrets that I am sharing with you might just be the secret to your success!
Secret #1: A rapidly growing franchise might mean that the franchisor is sacrificing store profitability by putting locations too close together.
Secret #2: To be a successful restaurant franchisee, you need to “follow the recipe.” You cannot innovate, create new menu items, revise the décor, and most likely not even dictate the hours the restaurant is open for business. If you envision a franchise that reflects your personality, then this might not be the business for you.
Mark Leonard is a franchise expert and former franchise owner who offers prospective franchisees an inside look at this unique business opportunity. He is the author of 7 Surefire Steps to Buying a Profit-Making Franchise. Mark is no longer affiliated with any franchise, and neither seeks nor receives any financial consideration from any franchisor. Visit Mark online at www.YourFranchiseMentor.com.