Great discussion this morning on Franchising & You podcast with Award-winning Franchise Developer, Holly A Ford. Holly shared her 4-step process of working with a franchise broker to explore franchise opportunities:
Establish Business Outcomes
Synchronize Outcomes with Opportunities
Select and Validate Execute
She also shared her four recommended industry segments relating the same to The Fab Four (The Beatles), one of the most influential musical groups of our time. Thank you, Holly!!
Many people have a dream of owning a business. It’s an American Dream! But, whether doing so as an independent business or as a franchise there are important initial steps to take to ensure their dream-turned-reality starts off on the right foot.
Improve Financial Health
Review and analyze personal finances. As a first step, it’s essential to understand income coming in and expenses going out each and every month of the year. Think ahead to bills that come due quarterly or annually.
Plan a firm budget. The goal is to ensure living expenses are met for a minimum of one year after starting a business. If a vacation is planned during this period, it must be included in the budget. Pay off all short-term debt to the extent it’s possible and practical to do so.
If savings or income from investments are not allocated for living expenses it’ll be necessary for personal income to continue through year one. Lenders will require a solid plan that is not dependent upon first year income from the new business. This may require a spouse or life partner continuing their employment while the business gets on firm footing.
Review credit reports for accuracy. Challenge all errors and keep records of the same. Organize all financial records including bank statements, investment account records and insurance policies – auto, health & life.
Consider working through the above with an independent financial coach who can provide valuable professional insight and perspective. From a confidential, non-judgmental position they can help resolve some issues requiring attention that may have initially appeared to have been barriers to business ownership.
Network as Much as Possible
Meet with members of the local business professional services community – bankers, attorneys, financial planners, accountants, realtors. Share plans to start a business within the community. Develop a network of these professionals and keep them apprised of progress.
Attend and actively participate in networking events well in advance of commencing business operations. Networking provides great benefits from a very early stage including introduction of the business to the community, support from fellow business owners and assurance of a busy grand opening.
From visiting with business professional to attending local chamber meetings to participating in community functions, personal involvement starts to establish a long-term commitment to the community. Owning and operating a business is about establishing and building relationships. Do so as early as possible.
Be Honest with Yourself
Although working through due diligence is essential it’s important not to over-analyze to the point of procrastination… or even, paralysis. Taking the necessary steps outlined above should set a foundation of being well-informed and yes, a foundation of comfort and confidence, as well.
But, only with an honest evaluation that the steps were actually taken and worked through should a final decision be made to move forward.
Why is their reluctance to say, I am an entrepreneur? I’ve been asked that question many times. Heck, I’ve asked that question of myself on more than one occasion. It seems, at times we’re more proud to call ourselves, Founder or CEO or to say, I’m a business owner. Why is that?
Are those titles more respectful than, entrepreneur? Yet, we hear of late, we’re in an entrepreneurial economy. So, is that a bad thing or a good thing, and especially if we have a hard time fully admitting to entrepreneurship? Or, should we just be entrepreneurial in how we approach our work, whatever that truly means?
Are we claiming to be in an entrepreneurial economy to justify the disappearance of the lifelong career at one company and this is just a way to say we need to create and prove ourselves over and over again, and forget the gold watch?
Back to the reference of being an entrepreneur… Is there a stigma of being a dreamer, always looking for something better, bigger, faster as opposed to what some believe is mundane, repetitive work with the security of a paycheck? Often I hear it’s mostly due to yesterday’s immigrant mindset of being thankful to just have a job, yet it’s that same immigrant mindset that is the epitome of entrepreneurship.
Actually, I believe it’s because of fear – fear of failure, fear of what other people think, fear of the unknown, fear of the what if, fear of starting over, fear of change… But it’s when those fears are hit head-on and the adrenaline rush of success far outweighs those fears because you know, deep in your heart that you have a deeply ingrained talent that can and will make a difference.
Does that mean failures aren’t possible? Hell no, but it’s working through those failures, those blips, those aberrations that provide experience and resiliency to improve and innovate to make the next step, the next task, the next venture successful. That is entrepreneurship. And, it’s when I don’t consider what I do as entrepreneurship, is when failure mostly occurs. Conversely, it’s when I focus on what I do as an entrepreneur, complete with that thinking outside the box and failure is not an option perspective, and when focused more on results as opposed to opinion of others, THAT is when success mostly occurs.
Yes, I’m an entrepreneur. My focus will stay as such as it is not only good for me, it’s good for my family and for those that rely on me to help them achieve their wishes, hopes and dreams! Why? Because I believe in possibilities, as without them, there are none.