By Jim Judy
There is no one skill set that means certain success or failure, but a handful of work experiences give franchisees a leg up.
Franchising is designed to help people make the jump from traditional employment to entrepreneurship. From proven models of success to unmatched support systems, franchise businesses can turn aspiring entrepreneurs into successful business owners.
However, there are certain professional backgrounds that have an advantage when it comes to the franchise business. I’m not talking about industry or sector experience. That’s often irrelevant. However, there are specific skills acquired through decades of work in certain careers that give certain candidates an edge.
Though there are more than 3,000 franchise brands available today, they all look for a similar set of developed skills from candidates before awarding them a franchise unit. Skills such as sales ability, employee relations, financial intelligence and ability to follow and execute a plan are all in high demand among franchisors.
Whereas there are many different professions that allow a candidate to develop those skills, here are five that stand out.
Whether they realize it or not, most salespeople are already small-business owners. That’s because sales is more about selling yourself than selling a product, so they learn early in their careers that their personal brand is important. Not only that, but huge percentages of their income are determined by their sales output, so they are already familiar with the concept of being paid for production, not just for their time.
Sales executives aren’t likely to cower when times get difficult because they already have experience working difficult jobs. They are good at planning their days in order to maximize their sales success and are comfortable working with a fluctuating income caused by the uneven nature of small business.
Most of all, they relish the idea of unlimited earning potential and have already experienced the thrill of earning piles of money from their efforts while their colleagues in non-sales roles settled for merit raises and salary caps.
Team leaders and managers.
Sure, there are franchise concepts that don’t involve managing staff, but most brands will require owners to hire one or more employees in order to successfully run the business. People who have never managed others before will quickly learn that it’s one of the most challenging aspects of running a business. Advertising for positions, reviewing applications, interviews, background checks, drug screenings, referral interviews, training and maintaining employees are just a few of the jobs that come with a franchise business and much of that responsibility is up to the franchisee.
People with management skills are used to dealing with employee churn, managing different personalities and stepping in when staff is short. They excel at creating hierarchy, assigning responsibilities, identifying and cultivating talent so that favored employees will remain with their company, rise through the ranks and benefit the business. These skills are especially important for candidates who wish to own multiple franchise units, often run with the help of regional managers.
Good accountants are well-organized, and a franchise business has a lot of different departments to manage. Duties including advertising, human resources, ordering, community engagement, business networking, and yes, accounting. Knowing how to manage their time and prioritize tasks is critical to their success.
Accountants thrive when solving problems, and though franchise businesses do a great deal to offer solutions to problems that have already arisen, new problems, or problems unique to an area, will require new solutions. Obviously, their financial intelligence will benefit the business because they can manage the books themselves and decrease the risk of an outside bean-counter acting in a way that isn’t consistent with how they’d like their business finances handled.
No, it’s not just Peyton Manning or the other high-profile athletes who thrive as franchisees. Athletes, in general, do very well in franchising for several reasons. They are competitive by nature and know what it takes to perform at a high level. They are used to working very hard to achieve their goals, as anyone who has survived the rigor of a professional sports season can confirm.
Moreover, they often have a high net worth and need to diversify their assets, but aren’t necessarily interested in spending a lot of their time running a business. Franchise concepts like the semi-absentee model allow them to spend a limited amount of time working on their business while others work in their business.
Finally, they are good at following a system. Professional athletes are used to lots of structure during their seasons, so following a franchise system successfully is second nature to them.
It’s true that what often leads aspiring entrepreneurs to start their own business is the excitement of complete freedom to do their own thing. For various reasons, many find after some time on their own that they’re better suited owning a franchise business. Business ownership has myriad challenges, so having some help along the way is appealing.
It could be to mitigate risk, to have a better-established brand or a stronger support system in place to help them reach their goals. Assuming they can assimilate into a franchise system’s way of doing things, they have a strong advantage over other candidates because they’ve already experienced many of the ups and downs of business ownership and are comfortable dealing with them. They have good community ties and professional networks built up over the years, know those in the area who may make good employees or partners, and have some infrastructure in place to handle things like advertising, legal and financial services.
This isn’t to say that candidates lacking professional experience in any of these categories shouldn’t explore franchising. However, for those who feature one or more of these professions on their resume and are looking for a change, a franchise business could be a perfect fit.