Last week on Franchise Today, Joel Libava (aka The Franchise King) and I discussed an except from Lizette Pirtle’s recent book, Franchise Success: The New Formula. The discussion pertained to whether or not franchisees are ready to be successful and whether or not it’s actually an assumption that is incorrectly made when a new franchisee signs on the dotted line. Further, the excerpt included a passage about an unemployed individual that entered into a franchise agreement, and his subsequent failure as a franchisee. In an attempt to jump-start discussion on this and other factors relating to franchise success and failure, I have posted the excerpt below and encourage all comments and opinions.
Franchise Success: The New Formula
By: Lizette Pirtle
Chapter 3: Readiness (Pgs 59-60)
We can’t assume that when people invest in a franchise they are ready to be successful. We can’t even assume that they were ready to make the investment in the first place. But we do make these assumptions. Yet, action does not necessarily equal readiness. There is much more to the investment decision and the success of franchisees than we have traditionally considered.
William was laid off from a job he enjoyed as the vice president of operations for a manufacturing company. He had unemployed for 6 months and was getting desperate. He had applied for every job available. He had lost self confidence and was becoming increasingly frustrated. He felt pressure from his parents, his wife and his friends who recommended he consider starting a business.
William never considered self-employment before, but the thought of working again and owning his own business became very appealing. The more he thought about owning a business, the more excited he got. He decided to acquire a franchise, and by the time he made this decision he was eager to start and his excitement was almost overpowering.
William was extremely intelligent and had been very successful in his career, but during training he experienced difficulty. He labored through many portions of the program and questioned new concepts with mistrust. Many of the exercises seemed difficult to him.
While his classmates joyfully excelled, William’s mood became somber as the training progressed. Sometimes he became hostile and withdrawn, while at other times he would engage and be open. The franchisor called him aside and offered him the option to leave the training and recoup his investment. William declined.
When he opened his business, William could not make the business go. He fought and resisted many of the marketing activities and, although he was always busy and worked hard, his efforts were fruitless. In spite of his qualifications and the full support of the franchisor, within 6 months of attending training, William closed his business.
Okay, franchise professionals, tell us what you think. How would you have handled this situation? What would you have done differently? How can we prevent these situations from actually happening within franchising?