When you become a franchisee, are you truly an entrepreneur? According to Merriam-Webster, an entrepreneur is one who organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise. At a basic level, as a franchisee, you will meet this definition. However, working in economic development for six years, I learned that entrepreneurship has a range — from complete start-up where you tackle building and growing the model on your own to embracing a more established business model while still taking on the financial risk of making a new business take flight. It is the latter part of the range that a franchisee falls in, but there are some great benefits to being this type of entrepreneur, including a partnership in investment and risk with your franchisor.
While franchising gives you the excitement of starting and building a business, you will not be alone in building your venture. Your franchisor, if they are worth the fee and time, will have established systems (including at least some IT), processes, marketing and sales tactics, and best practices, thereby taking some of the guesswork out of starting and growing the enterprise. Typically, the longer a franchisor has been around, the more formulaic some of these aspects of running their branded business may become. But even with younger franchisors, they still have enough figured out to have packaged their opportunity in some form, again taking out some of the mystery of a new business. Whether young or more established, if you decide to go down this route of entrepreneurship, make sure your franchisor has a track record of updating processes and practices to keep up with the times, and they truly view the relationship with their franchisees as a partnership. So what does partnership mean?
Partners work together to make things happen. In the case of TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®, we work together to satisfy customers and maintain our high referral rate. Franchisees are not our customers, but we re-invest in the system to form a partnership in satisfying customers. And while we seriously consider the franchisee input daily in refreshing and upgrading the system, at the end of the day our partners are agreeing to use the system and not go off on their own taking some risk on behalf of the brand and the rest of the system. Are you an entrepreneur that is willing to be this type of partner and participate in a system? Or, are you more independent than this? These are probably the two most important questions you will answer as you embark upon some form of entrepreneurship. So where do you go from here as your dreams of entrepreneurship loom?
I would recommend if you had any ambivalence about the questions just asked, that you start by seriously considering the pros and cons of going independent versus taking on a franchise opportunity. You probably want to narrow your list of franchise opportunities before going through the pros versus cons exercise. The brands you’re looking at, if you open yourself up to talking to the Franchise Development team, can be an asset in the process of narrowing your opportunities down. If you think of them as potential long-term partners, then those you connect with on a fundamental relationship level might be your best options if you like the system performance you are being given as well. If after this process, you still feel confident in being independent in your pursuit of entrepreneurship, then you may have to rule out franchising.
At TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®, we are completely okay when a prospect makes this decision. If you want to go the franchise route after all, make sure you have found the right partner and that you click with the Franchise Development team, the executives, and the support teams of the brand. Your entrepreneurship experience will be so much more rewarding as a result.