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How to Tell If an Owner/Operator Franchise Business Opportunity is Right For You

Sep 1, 2008
In the world of franchising, Owner/operator franchise opportunities abound. Any one of them can be highly lucrative and provide the perfect work environment for the right person, but as with all other forms of business, not every person is the right person. With a little bit of self-analysis, however, it isn't hard to determine if an owner/operator franchise is the choice for you, so here are some questions to help you move down that road.

Can you go it alone?

Many owner/operators find themselves working entirely by themselves nearly all day, every day, which means that the most basic question to ask is whether or not you can handle all that time to yourself.

Sure, scenery changes as a person drives from site to site in a Revive company van, and there are certainly people to meet and deal with on a professional level when buying and selling homes under the auspices of an A Quick Sale franchise. But when it comes down to it, the sole owner/operator of a franchise business is unlikely to establish any strong, lasting relationships with co-workers, because he simply doesn't have any. Although franchisees enjoy the support of a larger organisation, the question to ask yourself right off the bat is whether or not you would look forward to your day-to-day work spent by yourself.

Can you wear all the hats?

"Owner/operator" is indeed an impressive title. It tells everyone that you can both manage a business and do all of its groundwork. But that is by no means everyone's cup of tea, because not all of us are capable of tackling every part of a business single-handedly.

Mad Science provides us with a perfect object lesson for this point. The number of jobs included in this science education/entertainment franchise is more than a little impressive when you really think about it. First, the franchisee is a business owner, responsible for maintaining the vision, goals, and standards for the operation. Second, he serves as secretary and accountant, making sure that the day-to-day office work and finances are maintained and functioning at all times. Third, he is responsible for marketing the company's services, getting his name out in front of the public and securing future business. And fourth, he has to actually go on site to schools, tutoring engagements, and birthday parties to perform the science experiments and demonstrations for kids. He is entrepreneur, secretary, accountant, advertiser, and performer all wrapped up into one, but not all of us are quite that multi-talented. If, however, you are, consider being an owner/operator.

Can you keep your nose to the grindstone?

It is said that someone who can keep concentration on his work at all times "keeps his nose to the grindstone." Of course this ability is necessary for any franchisee or independent small business owner, but it's worth honing in on because it is almost more necessary for the owner/operator than it is for anyone else.

Consider an Easy Plan franchisee who both owns and operates his franchise and becomes distracted by a reasonable life event, like a family death. For a couple days his mind is not in the game and he loses track of his clients' projects. This will inevitably impact his client relations and thus the overall success of his home based business. Whereas, when the owner of a Community Times franchise that has expanded beyond the owner/operator stage experiences some huge event that steals his attention from matters of business, he has people working under him who can keep projects running and ensure the continued functionality of his operation. He may even be able to take a week off work to recuperate and not have to worry about sacrificing a magazine midway through production, because work can continue without him.

Life is an unending chain of foibles, sorrows, and disturbances, but an owner/operator--of all businessmen--must be able to work past or through distractions, keeping himself focused on his work from home business. With all the weight of business success falling squarely on the shoulders of the owner, there is no room for even a short focal lapse because there is no one else there to pick up the pieces and briefly carry the weight while the owner gets his head together again. It's the unpleasant side of working by yourself, but some are up to the challenge.

Were your answers to all of the above "yes"?

If so, then taking on one of the plethora of owner/operator franchises may be a perfect match for you. Not everyone is wired to work well entirely by themselves, but if you are, then certainly don't hesitate to jump into the business format that works for you.

And if success does come your way, keep in mind that you may have the option of developing into a larger operation with employees who enable you to concentrate on steering the ship while they do the grunt work. For instance, after years of running a profitable solo show with Pirtek Europe Ltd, you can very well decide that it's time to expand, hire others on, and service more hydraulic machinery than you ever could by yourself. Not all owner/operator franchises are designed with that kind of expansion in mind, so if that is something you are interested in, make sure that the franchise you pick has that option.
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