Top 3 Myths About Franchising

Myth #1: You can just “Set It and Forget It”.

Not really. Even McDonald’s stores have been razed and the event failed to make your newsfeed. Franchise operation involves people who provide some kind of service to, or act for, other people. Keeping all of that on the up-and-up so that your franchise business continues to grow or constantly generates recurring customers does require consistent attention and management. For some business owners, that means being there all the time (by their choice), and for others it means leveraging a great system and/or a solid location and then developing reliable employee partners to manage results in your absence. Whether it’s a McDonald’s, a Chick-Fil-A, or a lawn care or painting franchise, someone must be accountable for outcomes, and that someone will be either you or an employee or executive you’ve empowered.

Myth #2: Every good franchise requires hundreds of thousands of dollars to start.

Not so fast! A few franchises in entertainment, hotels/motels, childcare and a smattering of others do require a wealthy person’s savings to cover all opening and start-up costs. However, of the nearly 4,000 different franchises on the market, those requiring so much money are few and far between. Today, if the fit is right, a driven person can use as little as $17,000 of their own to become fully invested into any number of strong, nationally-known franchise systems with proof of success throughout the USA. In 2016, I placed a family man who had very little savings or access to cash into a franchise requiring $150,000 via a loan I helped him find, and he became his system’s Franchisee of the Year for 2017. In 2008, I placed a man who’d lost everything through a series of unfortunate events; he became a Top 20 producer in a 3500-unit franchise system, added more territory, and even started 2 additional businesses within his still-growing company. In 1999, I placed two young 20-somethings into a no-name franchise system in the Midwest, using some money they borrowed from their parents. Today, they operate a $25,000,000 annual enterprise covering at least 10 communities in 6 states. You don’t need tons of money to start, however you do need to think BIG, and you need to tire of finding “safety and satisfaction” under the wings of employers who will dispense of you often by surprise.

Myth #3: Success in franchising is all about finding your passion.

No. No, it’s not. Let’s test it… What’s your passion? Go ahead… if you could start any business you wanted, what would it be? Got your answer? Good. Why aren’t you doing that right now? Why didn’t you start that business yesterday? Why are you reading this instead? There are only 4 possible answers to this query:

  1. The start-up costs are too much, and they likely always will be. Thus, you’ve placidly accepted your fate of always being an employee and helping someone else to fulfill their dreams. Maybe… someday. When you no longer have the energy or you’re out of touch, but you do have the money, you’ll blow it all on that passion business you couldn’t afford to start during your prime, or
  2. You have the money to start, and you’ve calculated your start up and likelihood of success, but you already realize that the rewards will never pay your bills, so your passion business is really just a hobby, or
  3. You’re scared to “go it alone”. You don’t want to be “first”. The possibility of failure embarrasses you, and you’d rather entice someone else to fail with you versus succeeding on your own (ALERT: most partnerships fail), or
  4. The timing isn’t right: I have too little experience. Have young kids. Too busy. Just got a divorce. Kids are going to college. Saving for retirement. Saving energy for grandkids. About to retire. Recovering from hip replacement. Never got around to it and now I’m dead! The timing will NEVER be right. If you think the timing is right, you won’t be able to confirm that until looking back many years after the fact. Unless you have a crystal ball, timing is always a poor excuse behind which hiding seems appropriate to some.

Success in franchising is NOT about finding your passion. Success in franchising is about leveraging an existing franchise model with a measurement of proof of concept, and executing a business that looks great on a spreadsheet while also playing a role you can enjoy (e.g. the thrill of making sales, the reward of developing others via your management skills, the joy in being valuable to kids or to the elderly, the love of being around dogs, or just enjoying the natural aspects of business and growth and creating your own environment, etc). Wonderfully successful people in business don’t want to create their own competition and make it seem simple by telling the truth (it’s work, planning, and consistent execution… all of it is stuff you do right now), and they also don’t want to seem like total jerks by saying they’re just way smarter than you, so instead they say something safe, non-judgemental and accessible to all: “Follow your passion.” It’s BS. If you were willing and able to follow your passion, you’d have done it already.

Working with a competent franchise consultant expands your understanding of franchise possibilities by exposing you to fitting options you can afford, with proof of concept that looks great on a spreadsheet, in an environment where you’re not alone but rather fully engaged with others who share your cause, enjoying training, support and direction from the franchisor, and continual support, ever-improving best practices and comradery from other franchisees who walk in your shoes already. As for timing, franchisors don’t hold territories and they don’t schedule training sessions with your mythical “right time” in mind; for whatever it is you should do, the best time is NOW.