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Start-up Advice

6 Franchise Coach Myths, Debunked

Quality coaches are good listeners, and they don’t prey on your emotions.

Rick Bisio

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It’s no secret that some franchise coaches are better than others. While many offer an honest and valuable service, many myths still persist in the business world about what franchise coaches do – or don’t do. Here, I’m revealing the six most common myths about franchise coaches.

Don’t let these misperceptions steer you away from engaging a franchise coach. Rather, let these debunked myths guide you to the right coach who can help you with your franchise exploration. Now, those myths:

Related: What it Takes to Make it in Franchising

1. Franchise coaches believe all franchises are good

An experienced franchise coach understands that some franchises are good and others are not. You can’t generalise because franchising is not an industry; it’s a way of doing business.

It is the franchise coach’s job to make sure you are looking only at high-quality franchise systems. It is your responsibility to make sure you do your due diligence and determine good from bad. A franchise coach can help you in that process.

2. A franchise coach will prey on your emotions

Emotions can cloud your vision, making you vulnerable to seeing what you want to see – or what someone else wants you to see. When you are emotionally attached to an idea, you tend to listen to the information that supports your idea, and dismiss the information that does not support it.

An experienced franchise coach will convince you to look at the facts and gather information for a sound business decision. Above all, good franchise coaches understand that emotion should not come into play until you have laid a foundation built on facts.

3. Franchise coaches will always tell you to “Do what you love”

We’ve all heard the advice, “Do what you love.” But an experienced coach will help you sort out vocation versus avocation. He or she will help you decide if your love of golf will translate into a successful business or not.

Related:  How Much Money Can I Make in Franchising?

You’ll be advised to carefully analyse your options, to ensure a good match between your interests/lifestyle goals and your skills/abilities.

4. Franchise coaches always claim to be experts

It is probably true that franchise coaches will tell you that they are experts in franchising and business ownership in general. However, an honest consultant will tell you if he or she can provide relevant advice and consult based on your particular needs. Regardless, it is your responsibility to make sure you work with a proven coach. Want to be sure you’re getting an expert? Follow this three-part litmus test:

  • Is the franchise coach truly an expert in his or her area of self-proclaimed expertise? A minimum of ten years in the world of franchising is necessary. Ideally this will include experience on both the franchisor and franchisee side of the equation. Additional experience owning nonfranchised businesses would be helpful, as well.
  • Does the franchise coach add value to your process? Franchising is about systems. Does the franchise coach have a system to help you make a better decision?  Does the system make sense to you and will it help you make a better decision?
  • Does the franchise coach have your best interests in mind? The coach should always focus on making sure that you feel protected and safe. You should never feel pressured during any part of the process.

5. Franchise coaches will monopolise the conversation

It’s easy to think that your coach will try to control the conversation. But a quality franchise coach should do more listening than talking, guiding you in the process so you can make the best decision. That’s why a quality franchise coach will actually steer you to have meaningful dialogue with both the franchisor and franchisees.

As part of my coaching practice, I provide a downloadable list of questions to ask franchisors and a second list to ask franchisees. You can find these questions in the “Download” section of my website.

These questions will allow you to pay attention to detail during the process so you will have a solid understanding of what it takes to be successful in the franchise.

6. Franchise coaches care only about the signature

Possibly the No. 1 misperception is that signing the franchise agreement is the end. That goes for you as the new franchisee, and for the franchise coach. In fact, signing the franchise agreement is only the beginning.

Related: Ready to Expand? Consider Franchising!

Yes, the investigation and preparation stages seem long and arduous. But once you’ve signed the franchise agreement, the real work begins. Part III of The Educated Franchisee shares advice on reaching your full potential as an owner. Read this section carefully and know that the future is in your hands.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

Rick Bisio is the Amazon-bestselling author of The Educated Franchisee, a leading franchise coach with FranChoice, the co-host of Rick Bisio's Franchise Focus, and the creator of the FDD Exchange and the Franchise Glossary. Since becoming a franchise coach in 2002, Bisio has assisted thousands of aspiring entrepreneurs nationwide explore the dream of business ownership. Prior to joining FranChoice, he was the director of international development at AFC Enterprises, the parent company of Popeye's Chicken, Church's Chicken, Seattle's Best Coffee and Cinnabon, establishing locations in more than 30 countries.

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Start-up Advice

Put On Your Wellies: It’s Time To Wade Into Risk

Entrepreneurs aren’t all leaping into the unknown like lemmings off a cliff, but they do need to consider it…

Chris Ogden

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You’ve had a great idea. You’ve looked into its development. You’ve recognised that it has potential beyond just what Auntie Mabel and Mike From The Grocer think. And you’ve clearly nailed a pain point that can make money. Now it is time to take the risk of running with it.

Every big idea comes with risk. You can’t step out into the world of entrepreneurial thinking and business development without it. Your idea may fail. It will also be time consuming, demanding, hungry for money, and hard work. It is unrealistic to expect that your project will leap out into the world and be an unmitigated success.

It is also unrealistic to assume that it isn’t worth taking this risk.

There are steps that you can follow to ensure that your risk is managed so you aren’t blindly leaping off that cliff…

Step 01: Do your research

No, canvassing your neighbours, friends and family is not doing research. You need to know that your idea will appeal to a broad market and that it will have significant legs. This may sound like daft advice, but you would be surprised how many people think an idea will take off just because Susan in Accounting said so.

Step 02: Understand the costs

Projects are hungry for money and investment. Realistically work out your budgets and how much it will cost to take your project off the ground and then stick to it.

A calculated risk is a far better bet than one that shoots from the hip and hopes for the best. You can also use this as an opportunity to draw a clear line under where you will stop investing and end the project. If it keeps eating money and isn’t getting anywhere with results you need to be able to walk away.

Step 03: Know when to walk away

As mentioned before, this can be defined by a line you’ve drawn in the proverbial sand (and budget) but no matter where you draw this line, you have to stick to it. Often, when time, money and energy have been poured into a project it can be incredibly hard to walk away.

You think ‘but I have put so much into this, just one more’ and then it gets to a point where the ‘just one more’ has taken you so far down the line that walking away feels impossible. Leave. Learn the lessons. Apply them to your next project.

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Start-up Advice

Mind The Gap

The entrepreneur’s guide to finding the gaps and building the right solutions.

Chris Ogden

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Innovation may very well be the key to business success but finding the gap into which your innovative thinking can fit is often a lot harder than people realise. Some may be struck by inspiration in the shower, others by that moment of blinding insight in a meeting, however, for most people finding that big idea isn’t that simple. They want to be an entrepreneur and start their own high-growth business, but they need some ideas on how to find that big idea.

Here are five…

1. Network

It sounds trite but networking is actually an excellent way of picking up on patterns and trends in conversation and business problems. The trick is to note them down and pay attention. Soon, you will find patterns emerging and ideas forming.

2. Look for pain

Just as networking can reveal trends in the market, so can spending time reading. The latter will also help you find common business pain points. These are the touchpoints that frustrate people, annoy business owners, affect productivity, or impact employee engagement.

Be the Panado that fixes these pains.

3. Luck

luck

This is probably the most annoying of the ideas, but it is unfortunately (or fortunately) very true. Luck does play a role in helping you capture that big idea. However, luck isn’t just standing around and random people offering you opportunities. Luck is found at networking events, it is found in research and it is found in conversations with other entrepreneurs.

4. Luck needs courage

You may have found the big idea through your network, a pain point or pure blind luck, but if you don’t have the courage to take it and run with it, you will lose it to someone else.

Being bold in business is highly underrated because most people assume that everyone is bold and prepared to take big leaps into the unknown. However, not all brilliant entrepreneurs were ready to throw their family funds to the wind and leap into an idea – they were courageous enough to figure out a way of harnessing their ideas realistically.

5. Pay attention

This is probably one of the most vital ways of finding a gap in the market. Often, people are so busy that they don’t really pay attention to that niggling issue that always bothers them on a commute, or in a mall, or at a meeting. This niggling issue could very well be the next big business opportunity. Pay attention to it and find out if that issue can be solved with your innovative thinking.

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Start-up Advice

5 Things To Know About Your “Toddler” Business

As you navigate this new toddler phase of your business, here are five things to bear in mind.

Catherine Black

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Ah, toddlers. Those irresistible bundles of joy bring a huge amount of energy, curiosity and fun to any family – but there’s also frustration and worry that comes with their unpredictability, as they grow and start to become more independent. If you own a business and it’s successfully past its “infancy” of the first year or so, it’s likely it will also go through a toddler stage of its lifecycle.

Pete Hammond, founder of luxury safari company SafariScapes, agrees with this. “Our business is now three and a half years old, and we’ve found that we’re not yet big enough to justify employing a large team of people to handle the day-to-day admin tasks, yet we still need to grow the business as well,” he says. “As a result, our main challenge is finding the time to step back and see the bigger picture. Kind of like when you are raising a busy toddler and you spend most of your time running after them!”

As you navigate this new toddler phase of your business, here are five things to bear in mind:

1. This too shall pass

Everything in life is temporary – and that goes for both the good and the bad. It’s as helpful to remember this when you’re facing the might of a toddler temper tantrum, as it is when you’re facing throws of uncertainty in your business. If your new(ish) venture is going through a rough patch in its first few years, it can be easy to think about giving up – but don’t. As long as you have an overall big idea that you believe can add value to your customers, keep pushing through the rough parts until you come out the other side.

2. Appreciate what this phase brings

The toddler years mean that the initial newborn joy is officially behind you. But these small humans also bring their own kinds of joy, as you watch them learn new skills, say funny things, and give affection back to you. While your two-year-old business may not hold the same exhilaration for you as it did during those first few months, there are now different things to appreciate about it: Maybe you’re expanding your product range, or employing new people who can take the workload off you.

3. Establish boundaries

Toddlers thrive on boundary and routine – and your toddler business will too. As it grows into a new phase, try and establish limits in terms of the type of clients you want to work with and the type of work you’ll do. It’s also a good idea to make a decision about the hours you’ll work and when you’ll switch off, which will help you establish a good work-life balance.

4. Take a break

Every parent with a toddler needs a break every now and then, even if that means a walk around the block (on your own!), a dinner out with friends, or even a few days away. The same is true for a demanding small business: every so often, remember to take time out to rest properly, where you switch off your laptop and completely unplug. You’ll return much more inspired and resilient to deal with the everyday uncertainty that it brings.

5. Give it space to make mistakes

While the unpredictability of a young business can be stressful and tiring, it’s also a time for trying new things without the risk of huge consequences if they don’t quite work. After all, it’s much simpler to change your USP if you’re a small business employing a few people, rather than a big company where 50 people are relying on you for their salary, or where you’ve received a huge amount of investment capital. While you may fail in some of the things you try with your business (in fact, this is almost guaranteed), see it as a toddler that’s resilient enough to pick itself up, dust its knees and keep moving forward.

During this phase of business growth it’s also essential to have the right type of medical aid cover. There are medical schemes such as Fedhealth which has a number of medical aid options and value-added benefits to ensure that your health and wellness is taken care of too. After all, the healthier you and your staff are, the more productive your business will be – during the toddler (business) stage and beyond.

While this phase can be frustrating, it’s a sign that your business is growing and adapting, rather than remaining in its infancy, and that can only be a good thing! So embrace the difficulties, learn from them, and watch as your business strides forward confidently into the next exciting phase.

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