But before we get to that, let’s back up a step and consider this:
What is Franchise Business Ownership?
You may be envisioning hard work and success. And you’ve probably thought about owning your own business at some point in your life…but did you know there’s a way to do it where someone else does most of the work for you? When you buy a franchise, you’re buying into an established business model that includes everything from product branding to purchasing power. In other words, when you join a franchise system, you get access to products and services that have been tested by many others before they came on the market—and proven successful. Your part of the deal is simply operating within the confines of their proven business model and handing over a portion of your profits for the privilege.
Sounds great…but does it really work?
The short answer is yes, but there’s more to it than that: While the typical franchise owner enjoys financial stability and professional success, not everyone should consider buying a franchise no matter what you’ve heard—and there are good reasons why some people should avoid them altogether. But we’re not talking about those people; we’re talking about you —whether you’re considering starting a franchise as a first-time small business owner or as an experienced entrepreneur with another company under his belt already.
Here are four reasons why franchising may not be the best choice for you (and some advice on what to do instead):
Reason #1 – Franchising is a commitment
According to Paul Haarman when you buy a franchise, you’re making a commitment to the franchisor and their system of business. In return, they commit to training and supporting you as you work toward success. This means investing time in learning the ins and outs of the way things work from your franchisor’s perspective, as well as following their lead rather than going with your gut when it comes to business decisions. If this sounds a little too hands-off for you, then maybe starting a franchise isn’t what you’d like to do after all. It takes effort and dedication on both sides, but if it works out right, the result can be amazing: A small business owner with all the support they need to focus on their business while the franchisor takes responsibility for developing and bringing new products to market, expanding into new regions, and attracting more franchisees.
Reason #2 – Franchising isn’t usually an option for consumers
When you hear the word “franchise,” what comes to mind? A fast-food restaurant like McDonald’s or Subway? Or perhaps a gasoline station likes Shell or Chevron. Chances are, your first thought wasn’t “a local car detailing service” or “an in-home care giving agency.” So keep this in mind: When you buy a franchise, you’re buying into an established system of business that works well but may not fit with your goals as an entrepreneur. The focus of most franchises is either mass-producing a product or service, either within the confines of a single location or across multiple regions. If you dream of running your own business but want to focus on creating an original model all your own, then starting a franchise may not be for you.
Reason #3 – Buying into a franchise can cost big bucks
For many people who are just starting out in business—or just hoping to start their businesses soon—buying into a franchise isn’t really an option when it comes down to it. The initial investment required can be steep, especially if you’re buying into one of the big-name franchises like Subway or Dunkin’ Donuts; some new franchises even require liquid assets (read: money in the bank) in excess of $500,000 to cover startup costs. If this sounds a little too steep for your budget, remember that you don’t have to buy into a franchise all on your own—you can always look into buying an existing franchise as a “startup team” and spread the risk among multiple investors instead of going it alone.
Reason #4 – Franchising may not maximize profits
In case you’re new to business altogether, there’s one thing every entrepreneur needs: profits. So when considering whether or not franchising is the right choice for your small business dreams and goals, be sure to ask yourself: Will I make more money starting my own independent business? It’s possible —in fact, many independent businesses do better than their franchised counterparts. It’s all about knowing yourself and the kind of business you want to run: Franchises like Subway and Dunkin’ Donuts work well when they’ve got a large market share in place already, but if your dreams are closer to home-based or service-oriented, then starting out with your own independent business may be the better choice.
Conclusion by Paul Haarman:
Whatever kind of business you’re thinking about starting—from a mom-and-pop general store all the way to an international franchise like Subway or Dunkin’ Donuts—there’s one thing that remains the same: Starting any kind of small business requires both time and effort. Franchising may seem like an easy shortcut, but it isn’t for everyone. If you’re looking to take control of your own future by building your own business empire on your terms, then it might be time to start holding yourself accountable for making things happen instead of handing over the reins to someone else.