Are franchisees responsible for their own success or failure, and are franchisees entrepreneurs?

A while back I had posted a question on LinkedIn, “Are Franchisees personally responsible for their own success or failure?”

Below please find several of the responses from a cross-section of professionals that I believe provide some very interesting perspectives. Certainly, ones that may be different from franchise professionals that may be too far into the forest to actually see the trees, or of the franchisees that would rather point the finger of blame at someone else rather than at themselves.

As I have done in the past, the names of the responding individuals will be kept confidential. Instead, they will only be identified by their LinkedIn statement or profile.

The president of an HR consulting firm responded, “Franchising quickens the start-up of a new business operation with a systemized model. But in the end, a franchise is a business like any other. Each business owner is responsible for the success of their business. Drive, ambition, courage, determination and a keen focus on sales and marketing is critical. You reap what you sow.”

An operations manager from the telecommunications industry added, “I have the fortune of working with some great franchises in a manner where both the franchisees and the franchise are clients. As others have said, it is a combination of what is provided by the franchise and effort on the side of the franchisee. One could write a series of books on the subject; however, I feel that proper guidance and training are more vital than even advertising when it comes to a good ratio of successful franchisees. Often, I will see even the highest revenue producing franchisee left alienated by a brand, it is not uncommon for some franchisees to not even know who the current regional contact is for their brand until there is a problem. On the other hand, I have seen franchises that provide complete packages for their franchisees including market research, technology like database, PBX, and websites, corporate trainers that are easy to contact and on a first name basis, and most importantly a feeling of partnership where the owner often makes contact for advice, ideas, and information. The right franchise provides two vital resources to a business owner: 1. Instant name recognition and consumer confidence. 2. Tools enough for a business owner to focus on growing his business and not burdened with reinventing solutions to common problems.”

Finally, an expert in the HR field stated, “They are totally responsible for their own success or failure. If the franchiser does not support them, they have to remember they are the ones who made the decision to buy the franchise. They decided who to hire and to approve the location. If the system is not working, then figure out what needs to happen and make it happen. When you buy a franchise, you do not buy a job you buy a business. Would you let your employees blame it on you if they did not produce?”

As I read through the responses, I realized that several were adamant that the fact individuals invested money with a franchisor, they should be guaranteed success. Others pointed toward franchisees being different than entrepreneurs who know there is risk. Does that imply that those investing in a franchise don’t realize there is a risk when investing in any type of business, even if the investment is made by a successful entrepreneur?

And that brings to mind, the off again, on again discussion about whether franchisees are entrepreneurs?

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 is, “Are franchisees entrepreneurs?”

Come to think of it, I don’t believe I’ve ever seen the word, “entrepreneur” in a word cloud about franchising… Wait, there it is in tiny print next to the pinky finger!

I’m anxious to hear what franchise professionals, franchisees and others have to say. Please post your comments below. Thanks.

Have a great day. Make it happen. Make it count!