Are you an enterpriser or entrepreneur?

A critical first step on the road to franchise success is a thorough self assessment to see if you're up to it

Are you an enterpriser or entrepreneur?

My old guv’nor Moshe Gerstenhaber launched Kall Kwik, the business and design franchise, 40 years ago. He always believed each potential franchisee should be an enterpriser -“someone who wants to be employed, is looking for the rewards of enterprise and is willing to take some risks.

But they shouldn’t be an entrepreneur, ready to take on the world with an untried scheme.

Effectively, that means more of a damned good mechanic rather than an Elon Musk because, surprisingly, most entrepreneurs rarely make good franchisees. Why is that?

Franchising relies on teamwork and working to a successful system, whereas entrepreneurs tend to be completely independent and continually try to reinvent the wheel. If you don’t have the self-discipline to work to a system and don’t want to learn a proven method of doing business, then you’re probably better off looking at something other than franchising.

The first step in evaluating whether franchising is for you is a thorough self-assessment, long before giving up the day job. To be a franchisee you must have wholehearted commitment and be prepared for it to change your entire lifestyle. Your passport to success will rest to a large extent on being realistic about yourself – your skills, attributes, work ethic and financial resources.

If you want to become a successful franchisee it really does help if you have an enterprising personality. It certainly is a good thing if you’re outgoing, positive – half-empty glass purveyors need not apply – enjoy problem-solving and have a surfeit of energy. Ideally, you should be a self-starter, goal-orientated and a team player – someone who can be trusted with responsibility and can see things through to a successful conclusion.

Moreover, successful franchisees understand the need to work within the system and not waste time trying to fix things that already work. They recognise the value of working with the franchisor, taking advantage of their experience, knowledge and support and they appreciate that working with fellow franchisees and sharing best practice is good for all. So, be honest with yourself.

If you’re shy then understand that trait but also recognise you’ll have to go calling for potential business prospects, so work with the franchisor to develop strategies to do this. By the same token, if you’re not a people person then choose a franchise that doesn’t rely heavily on interaction with people – there’s a wide range of franchises out there.

Most importantly though, don’t sell yourself short. Most franchisors want you to succeed as much as you do, so you’ll find plenty of encouragement if you’re still unsure about your chances.”

Nigel Toplis
Nigel Toplis