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Are you an entrepreneur or a franchisee?

Written by : John McGavin
2006-08-15
We all have some of that entrepreneurial spirit in us, even though most of us are employed by someone else. It stands to reason, then, that most of us also consider self-employment as an option to working for someone else, and for some of us, the dream of self-employment can become a reality. One way or another, we find a way to make it happen. True entrepreneurs are harder to find, but they’re out there, and almost everyone knows someone who has started his own business, and is making it happen.

For them, the challenge of the business venture can be as rewarding as the financial compensation itself. Franchisees, on the other hand, are more in abundance because not as much of that entrepreneurial spirit is necessary. Sure, they must still be aggressive, self-motivated individuals looking for something better for themselves and their families – freedom, money, etc., but they are also more comfortable with the help and proven format that owning a franchise can provide. So, before you elect to purchase a franchise or start a business, take a long, hard look in the mirror and answer the question: Are you an entrepreneur or a franchisee? If you’re like most people, you’ll think that they’re one and the same.

The differences may be subtle, but they’re there. A franchisee type person may not notice them, but a true entrepreneur certainly will. If you’re an entrepreneur trying to shoehorn yourself into a franchise, you may be in for an unhappy, unprofitable journey. But if your personal characteristics appear to match those of a successful franchisee, then by all means push ahead in your search for a profitable, compatible franchise.

What’s the Difference?

  • An entrepreneur is very courageous, a franchisee more cautious
  • An entrepreneur is highly independent, a franchisee more open to guidance
  • An entrepreneur is a visionary, a franchisee more methodical
  • An entrepreneur accepts higher risks than a franchisee
  • An entrepreneur is somewhat of a loner, a franchisee more readily interacts with the franchisor and fellow franchisees
It’s a known fact that today’s employment market is short term. With downsizing, right sizing, “consolidating” industries, etc., the average career has a lifespan of about 3 years, so an employed person can expect to have several upheavals in his lifetime. But if an individual is more comfortable with the risk associated with future unemployment and the hardships that can create, then they should not buy a franchise. The same goes for an Entrepreneur – if they would have difficulty working within a system and following a master plan, then they shouldn’t buy a franchise either. In either case the likelihood for success is limited if the business is not a good fit to their backgrounds, personality types, and comfort levels.

But the franchise world isn’t actually so cut and dried. Some franchises have very strict rules and formats to follow, and an individual with a lower tolerance for risk may fit these formats better, provided he has the necessary finances and other criteria to make a suitable franchisee in that system. But a more outgoing individual who will depend more on his skills for success rather than the brand name or location may find that there are some very good opportunities available too, and in these franchises there is still a format to follow, but he can experience a greater level of autonomy.

So, where do you fit? If you sincerely want self employment but don’t want the full risks that a true entrepreneur will accept, then franchising might be right for you. When you have chosen a business that seems ideal, take another look in the mirror and ask yourself why you’re taking such a big step. Before you sign anything, make sure that you understand:
  1. Why you chose the business you are purchasing;
  2. Why you are confident that it is the best choice for you;
  3. That you did not choose it just to satisfy your ego;
  4. That you did not choose it just because it was glamorous;
  5. That someone else did not talk you into it; and
  6. That you really are prepared for the bad days and the hard work that come with every new venture.
When you know that you have chosen your business for the right reasons and in the right way, you are ready to set out on what could be the most rewarding venture of your life!
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