blocked road

In my 12 years as a Franchise Consultant, I have had the privilege of helping many people become highly successful franchise business owners. They have come from a variety of backgrounds with many different goals for their business.

Despite their differences, there is one thing that is predictable. No matter how excited they are in the beginning or how determined they are to do a stellar investigation, they will hit obstacles that they just aren’t prepared for. These are not speed bumps; these are boulders. How can these obstacles be so big? They’re so big because they sneak up on you. They’re unexpected. They seem rational, but they’re just your protective self saying, don’t do this.

There are five main obstacles that will try and block your path. Be forewarned. You must be strong to get past them. Let’s address these one by one:

Lack of confidence

You have dreamed of being your own boss. You have been successful in your current job or business. While a new business opportunity sounded refreshing and you are ready for a new challenge, now you’re not so sure. Self-doubts are creeping in. What happens if you just don’t “get it” in training? Will their support people really help you or will you be left to flounder?

Maybe you have gotten cushy in your previous position and you haven’t kept up with technology. Will people laugh at you? What if you told people you were downsized, but you were actually fired. That can shake you to the bone, but it doesn’t mean you can’t be successful again.

We all can point at things in ourselves that need improvement. The wonderful thing about a franchise is they have a vested interest in your success. Good franchise companies will help you till you “get it.” They are used to teaching adults and communicating info in a variety of ways. Because they’re showing you step-by-step how to do things, you’ll learn and your confidence will come back. They will not award you a franchise if they don’t believe in you!

Fear of failure

This is the big one. You know it hits you when just about anything else looks good to do except continuing your franchise investigation. Let’s see, should I cut the lawn or make a validation call? I think I’ll cut the lawn! You don’t want to fail. It would be costly and embarrassing. If all these other people have gone ahead of you and have been successful, do you think you could also follow that same program and reap similar results?

Recognize that we all need a certain amount of fear to get us going in the morning, or else we would all be sitting on the sofa eating bonbons! What is important is to channel that fear and make it productive. Ask those additional questions.  Re-read your notes. Do that self- analysis. Understand your financial projections. Does this business match your skills, your goals, your investment parameters and would you enjoy it? Stay focused on your goals. In Toastmasters, we have a saying that we all have butterflies when we speak in public. Their program teaches us how to make the butterflies fly in formation! The same is true with a franchise.

There are two acronyms for FEAR…franchise owners pick the second one:
–  Forget Everything and Run
–  Face Everything and Rise

Spousal ambush

You didn’t check with your spouse or other family members to see if they would support you. You just hoped they would, and now they’ve got a million questions and don’t want you writing out a big check. The anecdote for this is to involve your spouse or your partner early in the process. Even if they’re not going to have any involvement in the business, it’s important they understand what you’re going to be doing and support your decision. Plus, they know you probably better than anyone and can be your sounding board. They can add another dimension and new insights. You want to make this decision with your spouse or partner and not to them!

Unfamiliarity with a new industry

This is a little counter-intuitive. In a job, the company wants you to have certain skills, certifications, years of experience, etc. But in a business that you’re going to manage and run, they want those soft skills. They are more interested in your people skills, your business acumen and your management ability. If the franchise company says they will help you hire the technician, verify it with the current franchisees and then believe them! You might be surprised to learn the top performers have no direct experience in the industry. They don’t know how to change a transmission, give the latest hair cut or conduct a kickboxing class. But they excel at hiring, managing, motivating and running a good business. This is truly the difference between working “in” your business versus working “on” your business.

The time is not right

Guess what? The time is never right! That only happens in the movies. Maybe you should save more money, wait until the kids are older, wait until the economy improves, etc.  Have you always waited ’til the perfect time to do something? As Sheryl Sandberg says, “lean in.” And as Mark Twain said, “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” What are you waiting for? When I talk with successful franchise owners, they usually express two regrets. One is they wish they had started sooner and the other is they wish they had acquired more units or territory.

Will these obstacles stop you? I hope not! I hope you will do a complete investigation so you can make a sound business decision in the end, either a yes or a no. Don’t shortchange yourself and stop short. Finish what you started. Will these obstacles make you take a harder look at yourself and the potential business? Good, they should. Will they give you some restless nights? Yes, probably. Will they make you stronger and more self-assured? I hope so. The new business you are about to embark on will have obstacles, too.

Fortunately you don’t have to handle the obstacles alone and they’re probably going to be smaller and easier to handle because the franchise company has bulldozed the path and removed them. Time to put on your hard hat and get moving! I am here to help keep you on course. Let’s talk.