Fear Factor

The image of the cargo ship, Ever Given, can be used as a metaphor for fear. By the time you are reading this, you will know that the ship was grounded due to bad weather and a sandstorm, it is finally free after being stuck in the Suez Canal for six days. 

The imagery of this enormous entity and the seemingly microscopic machinery working to free it from the muck can be applied to candidates considering business ownership. So often, candidates want to flee from their corporate shackles or they are having a difficult time getting employed in their profession.

Fear can be the factor that halts the franchise process. Although natural in moderation, when fear takes over it can paralyze. Let’s explore some common areas that exacerbate fear.

Fear of the unknown
If you are contemplating business ownership for the first time there is so much that you may not know. It takes time and dedication to pursue this properly: Just like you do conduct research on companies with whom you interview, you will need to invest a lot of time and energy to familiarize yourself with franchising. It is critical to follow the process and meet with franchisors that are presented to you, familiarize yourself with the Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD), and go through validation and plan on speaking with 5-10 owners. Speaking with an attorney who is an expert in franchise law will give you an added level of comfort. Knowledge truly is power!

Fear of finances
Franchises tend to have requirements for liquid capital as well as net worth. The thought of taking money from a retirement account can stop people in their tracks. They have contributed to this fund for years and watched it grow. Think of this option as a further diversification of your portfolio. You are investing in yourself and in your new business. There are other great options if you do not want to borrow from your retirement savings – lending through the Small Business Association (SBA), utilizing a home equity line or personal credit. There are terrific lending companies that are specifically proficient in the franchising space and will guide you as to the best option.

Fear of risk
We have all heard the statistics about new business ownership failure rates but how often do you hear about how long companies are successful? Look around and think of all of the locally owned businesses that surround your community. How long have they been there? How many do you personally support? They are a part of your everyday landscape and routine but many do not really think about them beyond their utilization. Everything in life involves some degree of risk. Falling in love, having a family, and buying a home are all risky, but all too often the reward outweighs the risk. Even when personal pursuits end badly – a bad marriage for example, you gain memories and experiences from it that continue to shape and define you. Franchisors will point to weak members and note that they are not following the system. The franchising system is in place in order to mitigate risk. That means taking all of the training, support and recommendations that are given to you and executing them accordingly.

As a business owner, you will need to put in what you expect to get out of the business. Working hard and smart will shore up your business and make it that much more likely to succeed.

Buying into a franchise is leasing a business for an extended amount of time. Someone else put forth their blood, sweat and tears to create this concept that you can replicate.

The grounded cargo ship caused the loss of billions of dollars as ships piled up on both ends of the waterway. Do not allow this to happen to you. Keep moving forward. Do your research. Talk with trusted advisors. In the end, if you decide that owning a franchise is not for you at this time, at least you were not stuck!

“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” -Dale Carnegie