What’s the right work-life balance when owning a franchise?
When I first meet with franchise candidates, I ask them why they want to go into business for themselves. The answers range from being their own boss and taking control of their future, to pocketing the proceeds from their hard work and keeping their own schedule—restoring a work-life balance. These are all tangible benefits of business ownership, but they miss the point, and sadly, how to be successful as a franchise owner. In corporate America, you work at the behest of others. The sum total of your career’s work can be summed up as SURVIVOR. Now you want to escape that dead-end world and own your own business. You’ve been told it’s easy, but don’t be fooled, it’s hard work. It’ll be your business and if you have any sense of pride and initiative, you’ll put in long hours to ensure successful and to create wealth—my Tannerisms #13: “Buying a franchise is about wealth building.” You’ve also been told you’ll get your life back. And, yes, your schedule will be what you make it—to attend the school play, the soccer game, run errands and such, but the work still needs to get done. You’re just pushing the hours off to another, probably, more inconvenient time. So where is the real work-life balance? The work-life balance successful franchisees seek isn’t solely the new-found freedom they have, but the new-found platform they have to enrich the lives of the customers they serve. And no matter what franchise business you choose to pursue, your service and all your hard work has a direct effect on your customers’ lives. Can you say that about your last job? That’s the work-life balance I’m talking about (It’s not solely about you.), and would-be franchise owners need to reflect on that before they consider franchising. Ask yourself: “What business can I own that will give me an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of my customers?” The rewards are many—fulfillment, self-esteem, pride, praise, loyalty, referrals, sales, profits, security and freedom. In fact, if your focus is on the customer, everything else will take care of itself. If, however, you’re in this venture first for what it can afford you, your customers will sense it, your competitors will exploit it and your community will abandon you. Your customers are supporting you as a valued and trusted small business owner in the community. Well, you need to burnish that image by reciprocating the support your customers provide you. You do that by volunteering your time and donating money to worthy local charities. One criteria that should be high on your consideration list when evaluating franchise systems is what charity are they supporting and how do they partner with their franchise owners to collectively enhance the image of the brand? You want to give back and enrich lives. That’s the work-life balance you should pursue. If you do, everything else will take care of itself.