By Kirk McJunkin & Chris Atkinson, P3 Cost Analysts Franchisees
The franchise business model is a driving force in the American economy. By some estimates, there were more than 750,000 franchise establishments in the U.S. in 2020, employing millions upon millions of workers. For many aspiring business owners, a franchise offers valuable benefits that aren’t available when starting a company from scratch, including recognizable brand names, desirable products and established business processes. However, franchise ownership isn’t a shortcut to success. In reality, these businesses succeed largely due to the skills owners bring to the table.
While everyone has unique strengths that will help carry them on their entrepreneurial journey, there are a few skills every aspiring business owner should hone to give them the best chance at success.
As a franchise owner, the buck stops with you. There is no boss to fall back on or coworkers to blame when something goes wrong. As a result, successful franchise owners must have the self-discipline to do what’s necessary every day and have an internal desire to push for better results, consistently. That means franchise owners must set their own benchmarks for success and hold themselves accountable for meeting or exceeding them.
Being a self-disciplined franchise owner also requires taking additional steps to ensure they’re as prepared as possible for every opportunity because there often are no second chances.
For some, this means taking time every Sunday night to review the week ahead and make plans for success. As a franchise owner, setting the tone for hard work, quality and service rests with you and you alone because nobody else will do it for you.
It’s going to take more than an ad in the yellow pages to bring business in the front door. That’s why successful franchise owners must search for opportunities to build connections within their local community. Some already have networks of friends and family members or a client base built from previous business activities. While those connections can help them get a jump start, they’ll still need to create a larger community and find new opportunities to meet people.
Other owners begin their franchise journey from square one without an existing network. In these instances, they’ll need to work especially hard establishing connections through various groups, such as: rotary clubs, local chambers of commerce, faith-based organizations, parent teacher organizations, athletic coaching and more. Either way, a franchise owner’s ability to create a community that feeds and supports their business will be critical to finding long-term success.
Over the last couple of years, businesses have had to adjust to previously unimaginable conditions. As a result, organizations that were better able to adapt have found more success than those that couldn’t. The critical lesson franchise owners should take into their day-to-day lives is, don’t be so rigid that you can’t change to meet new circumstances. This approach is true for business operations where owners may need to rethink what customers they’re targeting and how they’re selling their products or services. It’s also true for dealing with people, especially in a sales environment. If an owner takes the same approach time and again, they’ll be much less effective than when they tailor their interactions based on the individual.
Staying adaptive is also about understanding that there’s always something new to learn. When franchise owners approach their business knowing they don’t know it all, they’ll be better prepared to change their approach when it becomes necessary.
There’s never a straight line to success. More often, business owners meet recurring challenges they must overcome. That’s why, along with adaptability, franchise owners must have the resilience it takes to continue pursuing their objectives, even in the face of great adversity. These challenges could come from repeated rejections or long periods of stagnation. But whatever form the headwinds take, successful franchise owners need to keep their eyes on the goal and continue moving forward.
Perhaps most importantly, successful franchise owners must trust the systems they’ve bought into. The beauty of the franchise model is that it reproduces a successful business approach over and over again. Part of that process involves lots of trial and error. Successful franchises have faced repeated challenges, found ways to overcome them and created systems to mitigate those problems in the future. When entrepreneurs start a business from scratch, they have to survive that same trial and error process, with few external resources to help.
Sometimes it’s difficult for driven entrepreneurs to trust anyone but themselves. However, successful franchise owners understand the power and resources available at their fingertips. As a result, they don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Instead, they bring their unique skills and combine them with everything the franchise offers. Those two elements together, create a powerful force for success.
The entrepreneurial dream is still alive and well in the U.S., and there’s no better evidence of that than the three quarters of a million franchise establishments currently operating in the country. Those numbers continue to grow as more and more people join the ranks of business owners every year, hoping to find success on their own terms.
While choosing the right franchise opportunity is critical, the passion and skills these people bring to their work everyday will ultimately make the difference. The most successful owners will remain humble, continue learning and cultivate the most critical skills. When they do, they’ll find a level of success most could never imagine.