Are You Right for a Franchise?

The idea of buying into a franchise may seem like an easy answer for a new or inexperienced entrepreneur. But it takes careful research before finding the right fit – if franchising is the right way to go at all. 

If you’re interested in being a franchise owner, carefully consider a number of things and not just where your interests lie. It’s more important to know what you do well, and what comes naturally, says Mike Waller, Chicago Coach of consulting firm The Entrepreneur Source (TES).
Give a lot of thought to your: 
  • Motivation – why do you want to start a franchise, and why now?
  • Core skill sets – what do you do well, regardless of industry (such as selling, organizing, networking, etc.)?
  • Interests – what do you enjoy doing?
  • Financial capabilities – can you afford to live without a paycheck until the business is running?
The latter is one of the most important, Waller says. Many people come from corporate America, burned out on from their jobs, and the realization that they won’t receive a paycheck every two weeks is hard to digest. Then there are startup fees – anywhere from $30K to $300K, with an average of about $150K.
Cost and the perceived lack of freedom are what prevent many from buying franchises. There are rules and a framework within the owner must work. Some wanting to open their own business may not want guidelines, but with a franchise also comes a built-in network of other franchisees.
The weak economy has been a boon for the franchising business, Waller says, and more are expanding into Chicago. But it’s not the best way to find employment unless you know it's what you want to do.
“Don’t buy yourself a job,” he says. “It never works.”
The Entrepreneur's Source (TES) is hosting a Midwest Expo on Friday, May 20, 2011 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday, May 21 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Crown Plaza O'Hare Hotel, 5440 North River Road in Rosemont, IL. The expo is free and includes seminars, representatives from franchisees, and business coaching. Go here for more info..
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