By Kyle Zagrodzky, president of OsteoStrong
Certain personality styles tend to gravitate toward specific career paths, and franchising is no different. However, running a franchise isn’t like owning any other kind of business, and people interested in opening a franchise often struggle with how to choose the best franchise for them.
Franchisees are simultaneously entrepreneurs, investors, small business owners, general managers, and crucial members of large companies. That’s a lot of hats to wear, and managing a franchise well is about looking and feeling great in all of them.
There are generally five main types of franchisees, and each is ideally suited to success in a particular type of business. It all depends what kind of person you are, how involved you want to be, how much money and time you are willing to invest, and how much guidance you need.
The multi-unit hero.
Entrepreneurs are often attracted to the franchise business model because they can be part of something bigger while owning their own business, but also because franchises offer incredible growth potential. Type A entrepreneurs who aren’t happy unless they’re busy often find success with their first unit and soon want to expand to two or three more.
As much as we love them, sometimes these overachievers can bite off more than they bargained to chew. It’s easy to underestimate the allure of economies of scale from additional units are not paired with the demand in terms of hours, investment, and ultimately delegation, which some Type A personalities struggle with. If an entrepreneur’s financial stability, passion, honed organizational and team management skills are hitting on all cylinders, they can absolutely find success with more than one unit within a brand. They might just need reminders to take things slow, or demonstrate a history of success prior to opening multiple locations.
The hands-off investor.
Some people have lots of money and want to make plenty more, but they don’t want to dig in to the daily minutiae of business operations and personnel management. Though it’s possible to have a successful franchise in an investor-only role, the balance is harder to strike because this setup requires tremendous trust in the managers who will run the business. The more service-oriented a franchise is, the tougher the arrangement is to pull off. High service franchises tend to shy away from people who want to throw money at a venture but not involve themselves in the daily fray. The relationships tend to get too complicated, and in the end no one is happy.
The cautious risk taker.
Lots of people dream of having their own business, but the realities of entrepreneurship are too daunting. Franchising can offer the best of both worlds to people who want to run their own ventures as well as benefit from the additional security of working with a known brand that’s more likely to deliver results. For people who long to be their own boss but are know too well the demands of building something from nothing, franchising can offer a perfect blend of an established concept, coupled with the freedom of ownership.
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The person who didn’t do enough homework.
Sometimes, franchisees sign up to be part of a brand, but they underestimate how much work will be involved and require a little more handholding. If people are interested in franchising but have never owned or operated a business and will require more intensive attention and support, they should thoroughly investigate the level of support they can expect from franchise leadership. Franchisees are expected to be independent business owners, so those who require higher levels of support should do their research to ensure they join with a brand that can offer exactly what they’re looking for. Talking to other franchise owners will help complete the picture for many seeking this type of support.
The micro-detail specialist.
Franchise owners are a franchisor’s frontline to customer interactions. As a result, they may find themselves getting hung up on small details that end up draining them of time and energy. It’s easy for some to obsess about things like the exact shade of paint to put on the wall, or a nominal issue with an employee, but successful franchisees know how to step back and focus on the bigger picture. The little things can drive anyone nuts if we lend them all our attention, but lead generation, marketing, sales, and operations are more productive topics to concentrate on.
One of the great challenges of building a major franchise from the ground up is making big decisions about how the franchise will operate — not only on a daily level when it comes to the practicality of selecting point of sale systems, but defining how much support, leeway, freedom, and guidance the brand will offer franchisees. Some companies leave franchises largely to their own devices, and others have processes so refined and intricate that they feel almost like law.
Different franchisees will be happier with certain types of franchises over others. The secret to a franchisee’s success isn’t just about the numbers, but about how well matched they are with the brand’s operational style.
Kyle Zagrodzky is president of OsteoStrong, the health and wellness system that boosts bone and muscle strength in less than 10 minutes a week using scientifically proven osteogenic loading concepts. OsteoStrong introduced a new era in modern fitness and aging prevention three years ago and has since helped thousands of clients between ages eight and 92 improve strength, balance, endurance, and bone density. In 2014, the brand signed commitments with 14 regional developers to launch 700 new locations across America.