Franchise Success

Franchise Success

Watch out!

The six mistakes that too many franchisees make and how to avoid them.

By Kyle Zagrodzky

I’ve been in the franchise world for a long time, and I continue to see new generations of franchisees make the same mistakes again and again. Despite the fact that they are smart and talented would-be entrepreneurs, sometimes franchisees repeat mistakes with the same regularity as Bill Murray in Groundhog Day.

No matter how fantastic a franchise is, and no matter how many other people have made money with it, success ultimately depends on each individual franchisee. There are no “sure things” – just systems carefully designed to guide every franchise toward success.

If you’re in the middle of a franchise that isn’t going well, it’s possible one of these six common pitfalls is bringing you down. If you’re thinking of investing in a franchise, hopefully this will give you some extra perspective on whether franchising is ideal for your goals and needs.

Failing to Fully Investigate the Franchise

Most people assume investigating a franchise is all about reviewing the financials and legal information, but one key component to franchise compatibility is often underrated or overlooked: What level of support does the franchise offer its franchisees? Every brand is different, and some offer more hand-holding and guidance than others.

If you haven’t franchised, run your own business or operated in the realm your desired franchise plays in, look for a franchise that provides more detail and field support. Always ask what kind of help is offered and how much contact to expect from field reps and leadership. This will give you insight into the business culture as well as the relationship between unit operators and the larger brand.

Focusing on What Doesn’t Matter

The single biggest obstacle franchisees often face is focusing on micro-details when they should have tunnel vision for landing sales and completing essential objectives. Working toward the ultimate goal, to prospect and sell, is how the majority of the franchisee’s time should be spent, yet many dwindle away the days on details that don’t really matter. Worrying about staffing drama, micromanagement and other minutiae doesn’t drive sales.

When a franchise’s daily, weekly and monthly goals are met, the business succeeds. When franchisees lose sight of the big picture and lose time on things that don’t drive numbers, the unit starts to sink. Don’t get caught up in the details unless they directly relate to sales.

Never Building a Network

No franchisee is an island, or at least they shouldn’t be. Franchisees within a brand have so much in common and share so many similar experiences that it makes sense for them to connect as much as possible.

Some franchises don’t do much to bring their unit owners together, but great brands bridge connections. Regular group calls, regional gatherings, social media groups and an annual convention help franchisees form bonds that make everyone stronger. If a franchisee is a lone wolf, they’re missing out on a big part of the franchise experience.

Deviating from the Manual

If you sign up to be part of a system, but you never use the system, what’s the point? Sometimes franchisees have too many ideas about how things should be done and ignore the playbook they pledged to run the business by.

Every franchise puts together a manual that should include comprehensive information about branding, marketing, point of sale and scripts that are tested and designed to keep franchises on track. If the franchisee never opens the manual or goes rogue, it will likely damage not only their business, but the brand’s cohesiveness. If you want a playbook that helps you run your own business, go with a franchise, but if you want to do everything your way, be an entrepreneur instead.

Understanding What a Franchise Is – and What it Isn’t

There are no guarantees in life, and franchising is no different. Becoming a franchisee isn’t an automatic guarantee of success – it’s an opportunity to learn a system that has worked before and should work again.

Sometimes potential franchisees think they can buy into a concept and sit back while the money rolls in, but being a franchisee means running a business, and no successful business has a boss who just kicks their feet up. It’s important to have realistic expectations of what it really takes to run a franchise and never assume that it’s an easy, surefire way to make money. There is always risk, and hard work is a must.

Refusing to Accept Responsibility

Sometimes franchisees are people who want to own their own businesses but don’t want to deal with the responsibility of coming up with a business plan, marketing plan, operations system, etc. That’s all well and good, but relieving yourself of some of the pressures of small business ownership does not release you from all responsibility. Franchises are designed to succeed, so if something isn’t working and the business is losing money, there is generally a valid reason.

If things aren’t going well, sometimes franchisees assume it’s the franchise’s fault without looking at potential onsite causes. Before blaming the franchise, franchisees should take an honest look at whether they’ve been following the manual and make adjustments accordingly. 

Kyle Zagrodzky is president of OsteoStrong, a health and wellness system with a focus on stronger bones, improved strength and better balance.


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