‘All about attitude’

Franchisor Nigel Toplis believes 'good franchisees are defined by good attitude'

‘All about attitude’

You may want to own a franchise, and you may want to run your own business, but have you got what it takes. All good franchisors are looking for skilled and intelligent people to become business partners.

But I believe it takes more than being ‘skilled and intelligent’, even though both of these attributes are key ingredients for success.  For me, successful franchisees need to possess a positive attitude too.

So how do you know if you have the ‘correct attitude’ for running a franchise? After almost three decades working in this industry, I have had the pleasure of working with some fabulous franchisees who have built prosperous, fulfilling businesses.

I have also worked with plenty of people who ticked the right boxes, but never managed to get their businesses off the ground. I’ve come to realise that there are five core characteristics that distinguish a great franchisee. And here they are:

Wholehearted commitment

Purchasing a territory is not like starting a new job. There is no ‘9 to 5’ routine. No ‘switching off’ and no ‘leaving it to somebody else’. It requires 100% commitment and is likely to change your whole lifestyle. This needs to be recognised by both the franchisee and their family members.


It’s great to be ambitious, but you also need to be brutally honest with yourself when assessing your skills, work ethic and financial resources. A broad skill base is usually more important than specialist knowledge. It’s also important that you are organised, disciplined, hard-working and personable.

Most importantly, never stretch your finances too far. If you start with a huge debt, it will add so much pressure to your day-to-day life. Never forget that running a business is about playing to your strengths and managing your weaknesses. And to do this you need to recognise your weaknesses.

Enterprising personality

Believe it or not, but franchisors are not searching for entrepreneurs. Franchising is about following a tried and tested system, not inventing a new one. 

Franchisors want people who are energetic and outgoing. If you have a positive disposition, enjoy being active, and can readily solve problems, then the chances are you’ll make a good franchisee.


You need to be a self-starter and a team player. You must be goal-oriented and able to handle responsibility. You’re buying into an existing business idea and model. But it is still your business and you’re the one who must make it work.

If you’re committed, realistic, enterprising and driven then you may have what it takes to be a successful franchisee. But there’s one attribute remaining that trumps all of the others.


This is such an important attribute. Franchisees that recognise the value of working closely with the franchisor will always be more successful than those who ‘plough their own furrow’. The franchisor has created, tested and now runs a successful business model. Perhaps he or she has done this for many years or even decades. Therefore, new business partners need to work with the system and never waste valuable time trying to reinvent the wheel.

Few people possess the full spectrum of attributes and skills listed above. But some things are more important than others. As a franchisor I can work with people who are introverted or shy; I can teach business skills if you lack knowledge in certain areas; and I can give you the tools required to help you build your business. 

A franchisor is similar to your spouse. They care and they want you to be successful. So the trick is for franchisees to take advantage of the franchisor’s experience, knowledge and support. 

However, if you believe that your methods are better, or that the franchisor is simply interfering, this is likely to lead to an early divorce. It will certainly result in a stagnated business. A good franchisor wants you to succeed and will help you to do so. Choose your franchise well, work closely with the franchisor, and get ready to roll your sleeves up.

Nigel Toplis
Nigel Toplis