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Do You Think Franchising is Easy? Think Again

Copyshop franchise - in fragments

Copyshop franchise - in fragments

I like browsing for small business-related news, partly because I have interest in the topic, and partly because I run and manage two small business-related blogs – Noobpreneur.com and FranchiseNote.com.

While browsing for franchising news, two articles have caught my attention – The Boston Globe‘s and The Tennessean‘s.

Actually, those two articles have caught my attention because there are some issues bugged me reading those two, leading to one question: Do people really think franchising is as easy as 1-2-3?

I was in franchising as a franchisee since 4 years ago, back in 2005. From my experience, buying a franchise with a mindset that is ‘choked’ with something like “franchising is easy” and “just follow the guides, and you’ll be fine” leading me into a miserable out of business that took more faith and courage than money to overcome.

People could say that I’m bitter, but I’m not – I’m so confident that I’m not because today I’m looking for the right franchise opportunities for me to buy – to start all over again in franchising arena.

Franchising is not easy…

Now let’s go back to the articles I mentioned.

I like reading the interviews and reports from the articles, but with all due respect to the article writers, I have to say I don’t like the whole idea of the articles (especially the titles.)

I can’t understand why people write articles with these article titles: “Buying into a franchise can take uncertainty out of getting started” (The Boston Globe) and “Franchises’ easy path to ownership has costs” (The Tennessean.)

First of all, buying a franchise does NOT take uncertainty out of getting started. Sure, with all the procedures and policies in place for you to take benefit from, you have a better chance to succeed, provided you are the right person for franchising. People could be misled reading the article, thinking that all a franchisee candidate’s need to succeed is to buy a franchise and follow the system.

Secondly, thinking franchising as throwing big bucks for a franchise and everything would be easy doesn’t feel right. Franchisors are not miracle makers – “If you invest $x, you will get $y in return easily” is not franchising. Franchise ownership is, indeed, business ownership, and business ownership involves a certain degree of risks – And yes, making a startup (franchise or non-franchise) succeed is challenging (that’s why most businesses fail within the first year of operation.)

…but franchising works wonder for the right people with the right knowledge

With franchise ownership, the risks may be reduced by the presence of the proven franchise systems, but still – no guarantee. Taking a closer look into my experience in franchising, you need to consider these 3 factors before you decide to buy any franchises:

  • The readiness to closely follow the franchisor’s guidance, not only in store operation, but also in marketing campaign – whether you like it or not.
  • The ability for the franchisee to troubleshoot his/her location-specific problems, including staff management and local customers’ spending characteristics and habits.
  • The ability to fund the franchise unit along the way, because franchise units do behave like other type of businesses – good times and bad times; high season and low season.

I failed in 2 out of 3 (the last two) and I would like to ensure you that in franchising, you need to ace all of those three factors in order to succeed.

Franchising is not easy, but for the right people with the right franchise opportunity, franchising can be very rewarding personally and monetarily.

Again, equip yourself with the right information, and if you are still in doubt whether you ready or not for franchising, you’d better postponing your intention in buying a franchise and consider looking for a trusted franchise consultant to help you consider your options.

Ivan Widjaya
Franchising is challenging, but rewarding
Image by superflexnet.

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