You’re ready to start a new chapter in your career and take on a franchise business. Congratulations – every new franchise owner will face thrilling and often very rewarding opportunities throughout their initial startup, but not without challenges.
To face those challenges head on, entrepreneurs can learn from fellow business owners who’ve walked the path ahead of them. Get this roundup of top tips from other business pros who know what it takes to make your new franchise a success.
You may get nervous, but stay excited
“The entire franchise discovery and research process will probably take two to three months to complete. Eventually, you’ll have to make a yes or no decision. You’ll probably be a little nervous. After all, it’s not like your starting a new job. If you buy a franchise, you’re going to have real skin in the game, and it’s a game that you’re expecting to win. You can win, if you focus on choosing an opportunity that’s really right for you, that you’ve done terrific research on, and that easily fits into your budget.” – Joel Libava for CNBC
Contribute to the system
“The best franchisors realize that their franchisees are a treasure-trove of good ideas. One of the key benefits of belonging to a franchise system is the mindshare effect. In 1962, a franchisee in a popular restaurant chain had an idea to add to the franchisor’s menu. The franchisee was able to get permission to do a test run with his sandwich. When his restaurant sold 350 of these sandwiches in the first month, the franchisor decided to roll it out system-wide. You now know the history of the Filet-O-Fish® sandwich at McDonalds®!” – From How and Why to Franchise Your Business By Michael A. Peterson
Practice makes perfect
“Put in the time. Take advantage of every training opportunity. That investment in learning the franchise system – including a company’s best practices – can pay huge dividends in the form of happy customers.
“Practice, practice, practice. Execute the franchisor’s systems as precisely as possible. Then, review and evaluate your performance regularly to ensure those best practices become the standard.” – Jeff Elgin, Entrepreneur
Get out and get connected
“Successful owners don’t stay locked up in their offices; they are actively involved in the day-to-day operations of their business and enjoy getting to know their customers. Most importantly, they make sure to put in a little extra time and effort, even if it’s not required, to make sure every client receives the best possible service.” – Deb Muoio, ARCH Profile
Don’t discount the unknown
“Don’t limit yourself! You don’t have to be an expert, so don’t discourage yourself from looking into all types of franchising options. Keep in mind you’ll be a business owner, and you’ll be managing the business. Think outside the box and don’t discount the unknown. The most important thing to keep in mind is whether or not the Franchisor offers the support you’ll need for success.” – Chip Baranowski, Vice-President of Franchise Development, Honest-1 Auto Care
Find a mentor
“It’s rare that a new franchisee doesn’t need a shoulder to lean on. Mentors are key. They answer questions and teach franchisees what they need to know about business ownership. More importantly, they can help manage the worries that inevitably creep into any new business owner’s mind. “Why did I do this?” “Can I succeed?” “Did I make a mistake?” SCORE is a resource that has helped thousands of new business owners with its network of more than 13,000 volunteers. It provides free and confidential counseling, mentoring, and advice for small business owners.” – Martha O’Gorman, IFA
Be careful with your new franchise cash flow
“The number one reason that businesses fail is a lack of cash flow. With that in mind, you need to be mindful of the amount of cash you have on hand at all times. Overhead can grow very quickly. The cost of your workspace, equipment, supplies, technology, employees, and so on are necessary, but they can drain your funds if you’re not careful.
“Watch your expenses extremely carefully and avoid overspending. Until you can cover your expenses with a nice profit left over, every effort possible should be made to reduce costs.” – Susan Gunelius
Hard work makes all the difference
“It’s a mistake to think that owning a franchise is a soft option. It’s not, nor is it quite like working for a business or in a corporate office. You may start with the advantage of knowing that your franchise is based on a proven business idea, but you still have to make your particular franchise work in your area. You should receive some training, but not all your problems will be solved for you. If you’re not prepared to put in the hard yards, particularly in the first years, your business could fail … You therefore need the same drive and persistence and a willingness to overcome challenges that anyone starting a small business requires.” – ANZ Biz Hub
Ask for help whenever needed
“Be willing to listen and not be afraid to reach out for advice and support. A franchisor’s relevant industry business experience is one of the greatest assets they can offer a franchisee. You are never in this alone. ‘When in doubt, ask’ is a key to success. Choosing a franchise that offers a solid operations and marketing support foundation is critical to your long-term growth, so do not be afraid to tap into their vast knowledge base.” – Meli Lussier