If you have self-doubts or question your ability to succeed in franchising, listen to your inner voice. I don’t believe the idea espoused in many business books that one should “feel the fear but do it anyway.” I believe in listening to your fears and making a judgment about whether your fears are real or imagined. Yes, sometimes we let negativity and what self-help guru Tony Robbins calls “limiting beliefs” get in the way of what we can achieve. But at other times, fear is what keeps us alive. So go ahead, be afraid. Then examine your fears and decide whether you can fully get over them and then move ahead. Then, and only then, should you proceed into entrepreneurship.
Assessing Your Fears: An Exercise
Here’s a self-reflection exercise you can use to understand your fears about starting a franchise business. Answer these questions after thinking about them for at least 30 minutes.
- What is the worst that could happen if I fail in my business?
- What is the probability that the worst will happen?
- How would failure in business affect my family members and my relationships?
- What are my alternatives to starting a business?
- What is the probability that I will be successful through one of those alternatives?
- Am I likely to be more or less successful with one of the alternatives to starting my own business? Why?
This is the time and place where you have the freedom to ask and answer the big questions. After you have written the checks, signed the lease, and bought the inventory, the train has already left the station. So really think about the scenarios.
What is the worst that could happen if you fail? For some people, the worst is they’ll pick up the pieces and move on, even if they have to repay debts for years. Others may envision their family falling apart and being homeless.
Some people will envision four or five solutions to their current dissatisfaction other than starting a business, and wonder why they haven’t seriously considered those alternatives. One reason might be that they are harder, in the short run, than just throwing money at the problem (if you have money to throw). But what if, after reflection, you see that the problem can be corrected and you can have a satisfying new career that does not involve the risk and sacrifice of business ownership? Shouldn’t you give that serious consideration?
However, if after shining some light on your initial fears, you have come to conclusion that franchising might be a risk you are brave enough to take, you are ready for some deeper self-analysis. Read Make Sure You’re Truly Ready to Buy a Franchise and take my “Running Away vs. Running Toward” quiz to help assess what is driving you before you commit to buying a business.
Mitchell York is a Professional Certified Coach, small business entrepreneur, and author of Franchise: Freedom or Fantasy? How to Know If a Franchise Is Right for You After Your Corporate Career. He can be reached at email@example.com and information about his book is available at www.franchisefreedomorfantasy.com. Mitch also blogs at www.e2ecoaching.com.