Are Franchisees Entrepreneurs?

In business circles we frequently hear and make reference to “entrepreneurial spirit.” It’s this spirit that drives an individual to taking risks, sometimes calculated, but not always. “Spirit” is often associated with “free.” Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Airways fame, among other successful business ventures, would definitely be considered a risk taker, an entrepreneur and free-spirited.

It’s often been said that individuals explore franchising due to it being less risky than starting a business from scratch as the franchise comes complete with a proven business system. The old adage about being in business for yourself, but not by yourself, creates a nice, warm sense of security that a franchise can ultimately provide.

Minimized risk. Proven system. Sense of security. Could you really see Sir Richard as a franchisee? So, if Sir Richard Branson epitomizes the true entrepreneurial spirit, my question remains, “Are franchisees entrepreneurs?”

8 thoughts on “Are Franchisees Entrepreneurs?

  1. Hi

    I would like to join this debate as my MBA dissertation was: Franchisees: Managers or Entrepreneurs? Delifrance: A Case Study. My findings were that franchisses were entrepreneurs: The OED agrees with my findings: entrepreneur: “a person who undertakes an enterprise or business, with the chance of profit or loss”. Now I agree that this does not take account of the pioneering, creative and adventuring activities we like to associate with entrepreneurs, but believe me, franchisees ARE entrepreneurs: not all, I agree, but then not all independent businessmen are creative and/or adventurous. I can also speak from personal experience, having stated up over a dozen businesses (some of them as a franchisee) I applied the same spirit of creativity and adventure to all of them, whetehr they were franchises or all of my own creation.

  2. A great debate. One needs only to research the definition of an entrepreneur to discover what entrepreneurs do. Then research the definition of a franchisee. To really get the discussion going “try this”. I have had this discussion with many academics and they too are careful in their replies. My presonal view is Entrepreneurs – through their creativity and innovation together with calculated risk taking – start and grow a business, franchisees manage an established franchise (limited potential for growth and innovation and are not risk takers in the true sense.). The next question is – Are franchisors – entrepreneurs.

  3. Paul,
    great minds think alike:))
    As you know I just posted the same question on my blog as well as to the Franchise Network on Linked In. Thank you for posting this blog post to that discussion.

    I too am a franchisee and I do consider myself an entrepreneur. Though I have found many franchisees and other business owners that do not possess entrepreneurial traits such as; risk taking, creative, innovative, and others. So, had to pose the question if franchising promotes entrepreneurship. I say yes, though I have discussed this with franchisees and franchisors who have differing opinions. You can imagine why – some franchisees bought in because of the systems and processes with little risk (cautionary), and franchisors do not want ‘cowboys’. So I have found both groups have concerns as much as interest over entrepreneurial spirit.


  4. What a great question. I have just finished writing a book on franchising for potential entrepreneurs. And I am a franchisee myself ( Owning a franchise, I think, is just as entrepreneurial as a non-franchised business. You have to have all the same characteristics and skills as any other startup entrepreneur. Raising money, managing cash, marketing and sales, operations (even if there is a ‘system’ to follow, it’s only as good as your execution). Congrats on framing an interesting discussion.

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