Whether your are a prospective franchisee yourself, or a franchisor searching for the right franchisees, it is important to know what makes a franchisee successful. Because in actuality there are always top, average and poor performers in EVERY franchise. Franchisors will see a wide-spectrum of results. This blog post examines 5 traits I have noticed about successful franchisees.

  1. If it is to be, it is up to me. If you read my blog posts on franchising with any regularity you will see many references to this mantra. Unfortunately, all too often I see franchisees who expect they will be successful JUST BECAUSE they bought a franchise. This is sometimes the case even when the franchise has no name recognition in the particular city or state where the franchisee is opening the location. The reality is success is up to the franchisee. There is no guarantee that a franchisor has a great marketing plan. The notion that a franchise is less likely to fail than a non-franchised business is absolutely false. So be sure to learn about your customers. Make sure your customers have great experiences and that your employees deliver superior customer service. Your operations will likely make a bigger difference than the brand recognition of the franchise, or your location. In fact, if you don’t deliver the experience franchise customers have come to expect from other locations, your location is very likely to suffer.
  2. Work ON your business, not IN your business. I am a big fan of Michael Gerber who wrote the E-Myth Revisited which I reference in one of my pillar franchise posts. Top performers  develop leaders, and put the necessary infrastructure in place to ensure they don’t have to do it all themselves. A franchisee who owns 70 locations has no more hours in the day than someone with just one. If you can get the right people in place, and train them with excellent systems, your work yields more results. This is one of the great attributes of a franchise. It allows you to use the franchisor systems instead of coming up with new systems of your own.
  3. Stick to the System. Lots of franchisees think they are smarter than the franchisor. One of the more significant franchise failures I have seen involved a very experienced, and intelligent business person. But unfortunately this person thought they knew it all. They ignored the franchisor’s advice. Don’t be one of those people. Another highly successful franchisee I know with over 50 locations believes he is successful because of his willingness to follow the franchise systems. His theory is that if he can follow the system to build one location, he can continue to replicate it to build multiple locations and grow beyond what he could do on his own. If you find the right franchise model you will want to trust the system in order to be successful.
  4. Be willing to learn. Believe it or not, many of the most successful franchisees often have no business experience in the industry they select. But what these people do possess is a willingness to learn. Education is also not necessarily a predictor of success. I have seen highly educated individuals who failed. And of course there are legendary stories such as Dave Thomas who developed the Wendy’s franchise without being college educated, and did not even get his GED until age 61! Learning on the job is critical for success as a franchise owner.
  5. Be passionate about the work, not necessarily the product. Many people become interested in a franchise because they love the product. For example, maybe you have eaten at franchise restaurant out of the state and think to yourself, “I should bring this franchise to my area!” This happens frequently. But eating and loving the food at a franchise restaurant is much different than actually owning one. I don’t care if the food is great, you won’t be successful unless you are willing to do what it takes to be successful in the restaurant industry.  Running a franchise is tough. You will need to be passionate about the work and the steps that will help you build your business.