Choosing a franchise: How to be brave and take the leap

Category: Entrepreneur

Choosing a franchise: How to be brave and take the leap


Congratulations! Your dream of being your own boss is becoming a reality. You’ve explored your options, you’ve decided on a franchise, and all that’s left is to sign on the dotted line.

But with your pen in your hand, you hesitate. Why?


Why is it hard to decide on a franchise?

It’s wise to take your time evaluating franchise options. But there comes a point when you’ve researched enough. What you really need to do is make a decision.

There’s a name for putting off action to do deeper and deeper research: “analysis paralysis.” With so much on the line, it’s scary to take the leap into business ownership. So people hesitate. They ask their franchise consultant to show them a few more options, even if this one checks all the boxes.

Common excuses people give for not taking action include:

  • “I’m waiting for the perfect opportunity”
  • “My spouse or partner won’t let me”
  • “There’s too much going on right now”
  • “I don’t have the education/experience/connections to make this work”

The truth is, the stars might never align to create the “perfect” set of circumstances. It’s up to you whether you allow your external circumstances to control the decisions you make for your future.

In most cases, what you’re really afraid of is the unknown. If you’ve never owned or run a business before, and you don’t come from an entrepreneurial family, you just can’t picture what might happen. And when people don’t know what’s going to happen, our default reaction is to imagine the worst.

Relax. Remember there are millions of successful franchisees running businesses all over the country right now who started right where you are. And take heart - your franchisor and your franchise consultant want you to succeed. They’re not going to steer you wrong or leave you to figure things out by yourself.


What to do when fear gets in the way of a dream

Chasing a goal can give your life purpose, energy, and excitement. You may have been thinking about running your own business for years, building empires in the sky.

But when it’s time to build that empire on solid ground, it can all feel a little too real. You might obsess about everything being just the way you planned, or worry that you’ve built yourself up for disappointment. The more you want something, the harder it is to be relaxed about it.


Identify what you’re really scared of

Dig into your hesitation and identify the fears beneath.

  • Are you afraid the business won’t work in your community, though it’s been proven in similar places?
  • Are you afraid a change in the economy will pull the rug out from under you?
  • Are you afraid that once you get into the day-to-day, you’ll find you don’t like owning a business?

Once you’ve identified your specific fears you can address them. Your franchise consultant has heard all these questions before and can give you honest answers. For more affirmation, talk to people who own successful franchises with the company you’re considering. They can tell you if your fears are unfounded or if your hesitation is reasonable.


Be prepared for obstacles

You know there will be stumbling blocks along the way. Rather than fearing them, plan for them.

Take a goal-oriented approach, focusing on the things you can control. This can reduce anxiety and help you remember that while you can’t control your circumstances, you can control your response

Instead of imagining yourself at the finish line, imagine putting in the work. Picture yourself pushing through obstacles and putting in the effort to get your business off the ground. Tempering optimism with realism might be just what you need to silence your fear.

You can’t predict every obstacle along the way, but the better prepared you are for things you can predict, the better off you’ll be when the unexpected hits.


Remember why you started

The fact is, owning a franchise is usually not the highest risk option you have. It’s only scary because it’s the newest option, which brings fear of the unknown.

Remember why you started exploring franchises in the first place. Go back and revisit all the reasons that led you to this moment. Then ask what happens if you don’t make this decision.

If you go back to corporate life, do you really believe you will be any happier than you were before?

The fact is, time will go by while you ponder your decision. Something will fill your life – and unless you take action to make it happen, that something won’t be your dream.


Put procrastination in its place

Research is good. It’s wise, it’s prudent, and anyone who tries to rush you through it is not to be trusted. But don’t let procrastination disguised as due diligence control your fate. Your franchise consultant can answer all your questions, show you all your options, and guide you to the right decision, but at the end of the day, your future is up to you.

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