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COULD YOU BE A FRANCHISEE?

by Margaret Wyn,
last updated 23/07/2009

Would you make a good franchisee? Margaret Wyn helps you answer the question for yourself

Although most people have dreamed at one time or another of owning their own business, very few actually do it. Most people are put off by the risk - the fear of leaving behind the regular pay cheque for the uncertainty of self-employment.

Franchising brings the dream closer for many. Investing in a proven system with the comfort and support of a larger and more experienced company behind you takes away some of that fear. And yet just having the money in the bank and the desire to run a franchise won't necessarily make you successful. You'll need the aptitude and attitude not only to run your chosen business, but to benefit from being part of a franchise system.

Not everyone is suited to being a franchisee. A franchisee doesn't expect to be told what to do all the time - they get on and do it. A franchisee needs the drive and entrepreneurial skills to make the most of each opportunity and make quick and good decisions. At the same time, they need to be able to work within the framework and disciplines of their franchise, to be able to take advice and accept decisions. That can be a difficult balance for some.

The questions below have been prepared for Franchise New Zealand by Wyn & Associates to help you evaluate whether franchising could be the correct option for you. It has been developed following extensive research by their consultants into characteristics of successful franchisees. Work through the questionnaire. See how you rate, using the results as a guide to help you explore whether franchising might be the right thing for you.

Instructions

You have two choices for each number. Circle the response which best describes you. Answer the questions honestly and make a choice for each number. You should take approximately 5 minutes to complete the questionnaire.

  1. A I want to have a job that challenges my abilities.
    B I prefer to have a job that doesn't demand a lot from me.
  2. A I dislike major changes in my life.
    B I take calculated risks.
  3. A I like to be involved in every aspect of a business.
    B I prefer to stick to what I know I am good at.
  4. A I like to have several things on the go at once.
    B I like to take my time over each task and work at my own pace.
  5. A I prefer not to have to worry about things.
    B I like to have challenges and problems to solve.
  6. A I prefer that nobody watches over my shoulder.
    B I prefer to have someone I can rely on if need be.
  7. A I see setbacks as a challenge to work through.
    B When things get difficult I give it my best shot.
  8. A I am able to totally switch off from work when I'm at home.
    B I find myself constantly thinking about work problems at home.
  9. A I want an immediate return on my investment.
    B I prefer to build my business gradually.
  10. A I prefer to be rewarded for my performance and effort.
    B I need a regular salary that I can count on.
  11. A I want to keep my hours of work within normal office hours.
    B I will put in the required hours to ensure the job is done.
  12. A I want to be my own boss with a free hand.
    B I want to have a strong network to support me.
  13. A I like to know well in advance what needs to be done.
    B I like to be free to do things on the spur of the moment.
  14. A I prefer to know clearly what is expected of me.
    B I prefer to work in a very loose environment where I make my own way.
  15. A I prefer not to have to work long hours.
    B I want to determine when and how hard I work.
  16. A I enjoy trying out new ideas and approaches.
    B I prefer to work with well tried methods.
  17. A I make a logical decision after weighing up all of the information.
    B I would rather leave major decisions to others.
  18. A I anticipate situations before they arise and plan for them.
    B I like to play things by ear and handle situations as they arise.
  19. A I prefer to work to well thought out plans.
    B I prefer to design plans but not necessarily be the one to carry them out.
  20. A I leave completing projects until the last minute.
    B I schedule my work so that I achieve my deadlines.
  21. A I like to work quietly and thoughtfully alone.
    B I like to work energetically and actively with people.
  22. A I prefer to handle everything myself to ensure things get done.
    B I consult with my staff and delegate where possible.
  23. A I prefer not to have to deal with customers.
    B I enjoy interacting with customers.
  24. A I will go along with the group decision even though I might not agree.
    B I will speak up even if my views are unpopular.
  25. A I analyse my own financial statements.
    B I dislike being involved with the financial details.
  26. A Customers are only one part of a franchise's success.
    B Customers are the key to a franchise's success.
  27. A I enjoy keeping up to date with the latest business developments.
    B I am satisfied with my current level of business knowledge.
  28. A I dislike repetitive work and get bored by detail.
    B I am methodical and detail conscious.
  29. A I have very specific goals.
    B I am unsure about where I want to be.
  30. A My family is sceptical about my running a business.
    B I have the support of my family/people close to me.
  31. A I have checked my financial situation and I would have to put everything on the line for this.
    B I have a comfortable degree of financial reserves.
  32. A I have a lot of interests outside work and this may interfere.
    B My focus is on work at the moment and everything else comes second.

Scoring Add up the number of points you have scored using the answer key below

1 A 2 B 1 9 A 1 B 2 17 A 2 B 1 25 A 2 B 1
2 A 1 B 2 10 A 2 B 1 18 A 2 B 1 26 A 1 B 2
3 A 2 B 1 11 A 1 B 2 19 A 2 B 1 27 A 2 B 1
4 A 2 B 1 12 A 1 B 2 20 A 1 B 2 28 A 1 B 2
5 A 1 B 2 13 A 2 B 1 21 A 1 B 2 29 A 2 B 1
6 A 1 B 2 14 A 2 B 1 22 A 1 B 2 30 A 1 B 2
7 A 2 B 1 15 A 1 B 2 23 A 2 B 1 31 A 1 B 2
8 A 2 B 1 16 A 1 B 2 24 A 2 B 1 32 A 1 B 2

What your score reveals

32-37 Franchising is unlikely to be right for you - there are probably other lines of work that may be more suitable.

38-48 Franchising is a possibility. You need to put a lot more thought into whether it is really what you want and whether you could make a go of it. Read up on the concept of franchising and find out more about what it involves. Remember, there is a risk element in any business venture.

49-58 Franchising is a distinct possibility for you. It would be worth exploring the issues further if you are serious about getting started. Talk to people in franchising - people you know who are franchisees, advisors, professionals and franchisors.

59-64 You are likely to be very well suited to franchising. If there's an opportunity which interests you, talk now to the professionals and see if it really could become a possibility.

More questions you should ask yourself

The answers you get from the above questionnaire are not absolute, and obviously different franchises will require different skills and personalities. However, the questionnaire may help you become clearer about your own motivation and abilities before taking the big step into self-employment.

In addition, there are some fundamental practical questions you should ask yourself before proceeding. Some of these are:

  • Am I prepared to put in the hours and level of commitment this business is likely to demand?
  • Do I have the total support of my spouse/partner in my proposed venture, and will they accept the amount of time and effort I spend on it?
  • Will this business provide me with the lifestyle I require?
  • In buying this franchise am I looking for job satisfaction, a higher income, or long-term capital gain? Will the business provide what I require?
  • Do I possess sufficient financial resources to enable me to start the business and survive while it is becoming established?
  • Am I comfortable with my level of borrowings? What is the worst that would happen if the business failed? Could I live with that?
  • Will my age and health permit me to run the business for long enough to recover my investment?
  • Am I mature enough to cope with the responsibility of running this business and employing and managing staff?
  • Does this business really suit the abilities and strengths which I know I have?
  • Do I actually like this business?
  • What do I want to achieve in life? How will buying this business help me achieve my long-term goals?

Most franchisors will question you closely on the above issues to find out whether you really are suitable to take up one of their franchises. However, it is also important that you also subject yourself and your attitudes to close scrutiny, and that you are totally honest with yourself. Only you will really know your strengths and weaknesses, and only you can tell whether you have the confidence to carry yourself through.

Enjoy It

When evaluating a specific franchise opportunity, you should also be careful to relate your abilities to that particular business. After all, if you are going to invest several years of your life in this venture, it is important that you are good at it - and, most of all, that you enjoy it.

Remember, few businesses are purely commercial ventures. They are about personal fulfillment, being with people, choosing a lifestyle and having fun. If you're going to be successful, look for a franchise which offers you all these rewards. Then enjoy it.

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