It’s the age-old question we ask ourselves everyday from the mundane—What strength paper towel should I buy? or What vegetable brand should I serve for dinner?—to our most important decisions—What car should I purchase? or Do I go back into corporate America or own my own business? For the most part, you’ve answered the last question: You’re in the market for a franchise. Stack all your needs and wants on top of each other and they (should) elevate your level of happiness in this lifetime—certainly your perspective. Simply stated, a need is something that you have to have; a want is something you’d like to have. As you investigate franchises, I encourage you to make a list of wants and needs for each business and use the information as part of your selection process.
One of my Tannerisms–#29—is a need you must post on your list: I know this sounds crazy because you’re just thinking about buying a franchise, but it’s just as important to think about your exit strategy. Someday, somehow you’ll exit the business. You NEED to make sure it’s on your terms. That’s why it’s important to make your lists—to take control of this career choice you’re making. But another reason for this blog post is I want you to ask yourself: Does the franchisor want or need me? Think about that.
We all hope to be wanted in some measure, however I believe a franchisor that needs you—for the right reasons, which I’m about to explain—forges a deeper, more emotional, genuinely supportive and stronger relationship. Does the franchisor want you to help expand its footprint across the country? Does the franchisor want you to help improve economies of scale—purchasing power or operational efficiencies. Or, does the franchisor want you to help increase system-wide revenues? YES, those are important and quantifiable, no question, but YOU ARE NOT A NUMBER.
If a franchise development manager uses the following you’re-important sentences in the investigation process, best you ride that pony into the sunset: We need you because you fit our culture and our culture is a competitive advantage. We need you because you will be a great mentor to future owners. We need you because you will follow the system (My Tannerisms #5, by the way.) and be successful. And, we need you because you will be an exceptional representative for the business and ambassador for the brand in your market. Those are powerful statements. Listen for them. In the end, you will need each other.