Advice from those who have been there
Being a first time business buyer is scary, no doubt about it. It’s a big decision and not everybody is cut out for business ownership. Sometimes it helps to hear from those who have been there. They’ve been in your shoes and have dealt with the same fears you have. They know what it’s like to be standing on the edge of the diving board, afraid to jump.
We interviewed some of our consultants who are also franchise owners to get their perspective on fear. They also offer solid tips on how to manage the fear that can keep you from realizing your dream of business ownership.
From Consultant to Franchisee
JA worked as a consultant with franchise candidates for years and spent countless hours helping them get over their fear of buying a franchise. Then JA and her husband bought their own franchise. “I managed to get through the franchise research and purchasing process with a minimum of anxiety,” JA says. “However, now that we are getting close to opening the business, I find I wake up in the middle of the night wondering if I’ve done the right thing.
“With my candidates, I find that fear can occur at any time during the process and I expect it to happen. I will tell my candidates up front that if they don’t feel fear and anxiety at some point, then I will worry about them because fear is normal.
“The number one fear is about money. Most of the people I work with have been in the corporate world for 20 to 30 years. While they’re dissatisfied with their current status quo, they still have a certain comfort level that they are not anxious to give up. They can predict their future in their current position. Owning a franchise however, while potentially more beneficial still falls into the category of the ‘unknown.'”
One solid piece of advice from JA to potential franchise buyers is that when they feel fear, the first thing they need to ask themselves is what information do they need in order to feel comfortable. They then should ask those questions of the franchisor. If the answers are satisfactory, the candidate should accept the fear as something that will go away and move ahead with the purchase.
Calming That Voice In Your Head
There are times when just having the facts are just not enough. What happens when the franchisor has answered all of your questions but you still can’t calm that little voice of doom inside your head?
JS, who has owned several franchise concepts, has two suggestions for anyone looking to buy a franchise. First, he recommends they do a lot of reading about marketing so that they will develop a sense of what it takes to be successful.
“I think a key to moving beyond fear is to project yourself into the franchisee role by thinking about sites, managers, staffing and marketing. If you do your homework and feel confident you can kick start your business, fear will soon be replaced by excitement.”
Second, JS suggests that people make a minimum of ten validation calls to existing franchises. This helps them understand all the possible land mines in the process. It will also allow them to connect with franchisees they may be able to use as role models and mentors.
“Because I’ve purchased franchises myself, I understand how big an issue fear can be. But if an individual does their homework and is willing to put in the time and effort to give the business a great start, the fear will go away. Then the question won’t be, ‘Will I fail?’ but, ‘In what month will this business be successful and what can I do to make this happen sooner?'”
Advice from an Experienced Fear Manager
Experienced fear manager, MS has been buying and selling businesses since 1983 and after dozens of purchases he still has anxiety with each decision.
“I got to the point where I named the little green man sitting on my shoulder ‘Louie’. That way when he started to tell me I was making a terrible mistake, I could remember that it was Louie’s job to question my decisions. I didn’t however, have to listen to him.
“When I talk to people about researching a franchise, I let them know that not only will they feel fear at some point but that it can manifest itself in a number of different ways. One common way people deal with fear is to make no decision at all. By not making a decision, they avoid dealing with the fear but also may lose out on a chance to really make the life change they’ve been wanting.
“Preparing yourself to be ready for fear to rear its head is an important part of the investigation process. Individuals need to ask themselves if they are prepared to make a decision if their logic tells them it is the right decision – even if their ‘Louie’ is telling them to wait and think about it some more.”
Experiencing fear during the process of searching for a franchise is normal and to be expected. We hope this advice from seasoned pros aids you as you look for your perfect business!