The important thing to know about franchising is that it requires the same attributes needed to run any successful business: leadership, passion and the willingness to do whatever it takes to succeed. Your franchise may come with a proven model, but you still have to run it, market it and manage it—and that takes work.
“The harsh reality is that most businesses won’t make it past their five-year anniversary,” said Mike Haynie, Air Force veteran, founder of Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans & Military Families (IVMF) and an expert in entrepreneurial decision-making and strategy. “A franchise has a recognized brand, established supply channels and standardized operating procedures, but the personal qualities, skills and attitudes that a franchisee must have are the same for all entrepreneurs.”
VETS HAVE THE SKILLS
As a veteran you are a step ahead of other potential business owners in this area.
“Veterans historically have been in great demand in franchising because of their character qualities,” said John Hayes, franchise author and speaker. “They can follow orders—so they can follow a system.”
A PREPACKAGED PLAN
Franchises usually come with a proven method of business, which is a primary difference from a non-franchised business.
On the other hand, depending on how much control you want, franchising may not be for you.
“You will also be required to adhere to the rules and requirements imposed by the parent company,” Haynie said. “For example, you probably will not have the discretion to add items to your menu, or change packaging, and in some cases even your hours of operation may be dictated by your franchise agreement. An individual considering franchising as an alternative to starting a business on their own should be aware of these important differences.”
Make sure you can afford it, too. Many veterans use their pensions to fund a franchise until it breaks even.
WHEN TO TAKE THE PLUNGE
If you know you have the business qualities and specific skills for the franchise you’re considering, have done your research on the franchise and are financially prepared, it’s time to act.
“The more you can prepare those close to you for these realities, the more likely you can successfully navigate the ups and downs of launching a new venture,” Haynie said.
IS FRANCHISING RIGHT FOR YOU?
Use this checklist to determine if you are cut out to buy and operate a franchise:
√ You can follow a system.
√ You are willing to work long hours.
√ You’ve done your research on the business.
√ You know the market for your business.
√ Your skills match the franchise need.
√ You can afford to buy and operate the business.
√ You are prepared to manage people, often younger workers.
√ You’re passionate!