Former franchisee and franchisor, Dr. John P. Hayes is the Titus Chair for Franchise Leadership at Palm Beach Atlantic University in Florida. His program teaches students that franchising is a means to a lifestyle; not a means to an end.
It’s time to start teaching people the right reasons to buy a franchise regardless of why they say they want to buy a franchise. Otherwise, we’re doing everyone a disservice and we’re continuing to tarnish what is otherwise the most amazing business concept ever invented while also discouraging future buyers.
Each year, I teach more than 1,000 prospective franchise buyers who attend my A to Zs of Buying a Franchise seminars internationally. When I ask why they want to buy a franchise the number one reason is to replace a job. Secondary reasons include becoming their own boss, and getting a shot at “the American Dream,” which means making enough money to do whatever they want (even if they don’t know what they want). All good reasons, but are they the right reasons?
Amazing as it is, franchising doesn’t guarantee success. Claims that franchising works for everyone, or that a franchisor’s training program can turn anyone into a successful franchisee, are false. That’s why buying a franchise to replace or avoid a job is often a mistake. Some people should keep their jobs simply because they’re not a good fit for franchising. Franchise misfits might succeed, but not often.
After verifying their compatibility with franchising, prospective buyers need to confirm that a franchise actually will satisfy their life goals. The right reason to buy a franchise is because it can monetize passion and purpose. Too many people buy franchises as a means to an end, i.e. to replace a job, without realizing that what they really want is a means to a lifestyle. So when franchises don’t return the franchisees’ desired results (often because franchisees buy the wrong franchises), the franchisees turn on franchising.
Helping people realize their passion and purpose, and how franchising can monetize their desires, is a prerequisite to teaching people about franchising. Until we get that right, there will be fewer franchise buyers especially among the largest franchise buying audience ever: Millennials, followed by Gen Z. Those buyers value lifestyle before the P&L, and that’s a new concept for most franchise recruiters.
When we teach people the right reasons to buy a franchise, we’ll generate more and better prepared buyers while also reducing the number of disgruntled franchisees. And that’s clearly a victory for everyone.