Franchising may seem like the ideal way of getting into business on your own, but before you put down your hard-earned savings, capital or retirement funds on an outlet, you should think about whether the business you are considering matches your personality.
Simone Cooper, Head of Franchising and Enterprise Development at Standard Bank says there are hundreds of franchise opportunities available in South Africa, but their requirements vary considerably. Make the wrong decision and select a business that is not right for your personality and you may face serious consequences.
“Franchising and self-employment may sound enticing, but all franchise outlets require three things to be successful: hard work, dedication and passion,” explains Ms Cooper. “If one, or all, of these three factors is missing in a franchisee, the chances are that you will not last long.”
The old saying a ‘square peg in a round hole’ says it all nicely. If you are someone who thrives on contact with others, enjoys talking and playing the host, then it is important that you consider business opportunities that allow you to be true to this personality type.
“If you select a business that demands you to spend hours on your own poring over balance sheets, you will be unhappy. This quickly translates into resentment at having to do the job. You will eventually divert energy into other tasks and lose business opportunities because you have no passion for what you do.”
So, be careful about the franchise you choose for your future, or opt for a franchisor who has many years of experience in the industry who offers psychometric testing for all potential franchisees. It is better to do a simple test and find out that you are not suited for an occupation, rather than to find this out after making what could be the biggest mistake of your life.
“In South Africa, where many people enter franchising with money gathered from years of saving or from invested pension fund money, it is even more important that you are certain about what you want to do,” says Ms Cooper, adding that people considering choosing a franchise that matches their personalities should consider these factors:
- Do your research properly. The more time you spend examining options, talking to people who already own franchised outlets and examining their work lives and tasks, makes you less likely to make a bad decision about your future.
- Take a long, honest look at yourself. If necessary, write down what your ideal job would involve and list what you do not want in a job. Then apply the list you have to the possibilities you are investigating.
- Ask yourself these questions:
- Am I good at managing people?
- Am I a people’s person who enjoys networking, meeting others and developing business relationships?
- Does the idea of contacting a stranger and trying to ‘cold-sell’ a service intimidate me?
- Do I have a tendency to micro-manage or do I want to control everything?
- Will I work well and identify with the type of people who typically work in the franchise?
- Decide exactly why you want a franchise of your own. If it is just money that you are chasing, a long-term commitment to a franchise may not be for you.
“It is common for people to have misconceptions about what is involved in running a particular kind of franchise,” shares Ms Cooper. “Speaking to someone who already has experience and arranging to spend some time in the franchise will soon alert you to whether your expectations were realistic or not, and whether you can relate with the people involved.
“It is also common for people buying into a franchise not to have had any previous management experience. However, this does not mean you should not consider a franchise. You can learn a lot from training and support that the franchisor offers. Short management courses could also be used to fill the knowledge gap.”
Reality also dictates that entering a franchise just to make money may not be achieved in the short-term.
“All businesses have to establish themselves. In the case of a franchise with a respected brand name, this is easier to achieve than starting a business from scratch. Being in a franchise requires that you lead from the front, set an example for others and work the hours required. That is why passion is the essential ingredient required for becoming a franchisee.
“The good news is that regardless of whether you want to work in a detail-orientated business like manufacturing or hairdressing, or prefer being a jovial host, there is sure to be a franchise that suits your personality type,” concludes Ms Cooper.
Press release by Magna-Carta.