Entrepreneurship in franchising

Are you too entrepreneurial for franchising? Contributed by Franchize Directions

While there seems to be no clear-cut definition of what an entrepreneur is, we are able to glean the characteristics or common threads from the definitions we find. Essentially, an entrepreneur is a self-starter, an innovator, a creator, an implementer and a risk-taker.

Purchasing a franchise means buying into a proven business model; i.e. a concept developed and refined into a viable business opportunity by another entrepreneur. As a franchisee you must respect both the brand and the business system of the franchisor. The profile of a franchisee is not that of an entrepreneur in the ‘maverick’ sense it is often defined as.

As a franchisee there are certain elements that are crucial to the national brand and system identity, and which are therefore ‘non-negotiable’. Depending on the parameters that define each particular franchise business system, the levels of entrepreneurial flexibility will differ.

A ‘pure’ entrepreneur is always on the lookout for new opportunities, searching for a gap in the market and finding a way to fill it — something that is not always possible in a franchise system. If Mr Franchisee in Jaggersfontein identifies that electric scooters are the new town craze, adding this item for sale in his fast food franchise may be an opportunity, but in most cases this will not be accepted by the franchisor.

Therefore it is safer to say that the profile of a franchisee is defined as an Intrapreneur. An intrapreneur is an individual who has no need to start their own business, but wishes to find expression for their business abilities within an existing system. As the famous adage goes, franchising is being in business ‘for yourself but not by yourself’. It allows the business owner to be in control while also complying with the existing system — a ‘compliant entrepreneur’ in some respects.

So, are you too entrepreneurial to succeed in franchising? 

On a profile PIE, a franchisee has a healthy combination of attributes. A franchisee draws on the characteristics of the pure entrepreneur when they use their creativity and aptitude to drive the elements of the business to control the success of their franchise. A franchisee also shares characteristics with traditional employees such as applying restraint, showing respect for the business elements that are ‘non-negotiable’ and adhering to the tested system prescribed by the franchisor.

It’s important to note that success in franchising is the realisation of two factors:
  1. While you purchase a proven business system it is healthy to challenge this constructively, with your franchisor, if you think you have found a more efficient way. Ultimately it’s the franchisor who strategically drives the business for the greater good of the network and who develops and supports franchisees to ultimately strengthen the business and the brand. While the franchisee is responsible from a micro-perspective, the franchisor is responsible from a macro-perspective. 
  2. The success of your franchise in your local market is up to you, the franchisee. It’s your drive, motivation and hands-on approach that will ensure your franchise grows from strength to strength. 
In franchising you cannot have your ‘pie’ and eat it. You must combine the best elements of what you and the franchisor bring to the table to ensure the success of your franchise.

Are you born an entrepreneur or can entrepreneurial skills be taught?

Never underestimate the power you have to change and improve your skills. Contrary to what traditional perceptions would have us believe, entrepreneurial skills are not inherited and therefore unchangeable. Although these skills come naturally to some and are less prominent in others, researchers have proven that people can change certain characteristics that were previously regarded as genetic.

Researchers have identified the following three groups of competencies as related to entrepreneurial skills and characteristics of successful entrepreneurs:
  1. Proactivity — taking the initiative.Achievement orientation — a concern for achieving high quality work.
  2. Commitment to others — recognising the importance of business relationships.
For optimal results as you prepare yourself to become a successful franchisee, it is important to develop your business skills alongside your entrepreneurial n