You’ve done your due diligence, chosen the right franchise for yourself, and picked the best location available. Construction is complete, your staff is in place, and this is the eve before you finally open your doors for business. From this day forward, start thinking of yourself as the owner of a small independent business, not a franchisee. The distinction may be subtle but, trust me, having the right attitude and a feeling of control over your own destiny will make a world of difference. Let me explain.
When I ran my UPS Store back in the day, I made a conscious decision not to rely on the home office for too much help. I wanted to make my own decisions, and come up with my own personal strategy for building a long term sustainable business. Don’t get me wrong, my decisions were always guided by the policies and rules they had in place, but I hardly ever contacted the home office, unless I had a very specific question, usually involving some issue related to the computer system.
I’m proud of my perfect attendance in all of our local meetings, and I even attended our national convention in Orlando. I certainly didn’t isolate myself from the rest of the system, but I did think of myself as a small business owner, not a franchisee.
I see franchisees falling into the “blame game” trap when things don’t go exactly as planned, and I think this has hindered them from thinking creatively and, more importantly, from taking action.
During my years as a UPS Store franchisee, the talk of franchisee lawsuits was always present. And while I agreed with a lot of my fellow franchisees’ grievances and wished them success in their fight, I couldn’t afford to take my eye off the ball. I knew that any success in a lawsuit would be years in the making. In the meantime, I had rent and payroll to meet every month. I couldn’t rely on a lawsuit for relief; I had to find ways to make the best out of the situation — just like every other small business owner, without exception.
Your advantage as a franchisee is that you will operate under a brand name with lots of goodwill already built into it. You will learn best practices so that you won’t have to reinvent the wheel. And you will have a support system in place — from the home office staff, to the regional support people, to your fellow franchisees across the nation — that most other business owners can only dream of.
But at the end of the day, believing that success or failure is the result of your own efforts will push you to take action. Having the right mental framework can really spell the difference between feeling miserable and feeling empowered.