I’ve been asked to guest blog for the Franchise Business Review (FBR) and I just wrote the first two posts as I travel from Charlotte to LA. Thus, my mind is thinking heavily about the role franchising plays in entrepreneurship - and it is huge.
I haven’t talked about franchising much on this site so I’m going to repost my blogs for FBR here as they’re published.
I recently came across a fantastic book (hat tip to Mark Suster) called “Do More Faster.” The book covers seven main topics in entrepreneurship through short stories written by founders and venture capitalists who are involved with TechStars.
One of my favorite vignettes is titled “Trust Me, Your Idea is Worthless.” The key line in the story is: “Entrepreneurs (often) overvalue ideas and undervalue execution … one can steal ideas, but no one can steal execution and passion.”
This describes the value of franchising to a T.
I’ve heard many people say: “I want to be an entrepreneur … I’m just waiting to think of that big idea.” With franchising, you don’t need it. The “big idea” is already established. Your investment is in a proven business model where your chances of executing well are strongly enhanced. And, it’ll likely cost you less than trying to start something on your own.
As a result, the U.S. Department of Commerce has found that 90% of franchises continue operation after five years as opposed to less than 25% of privately owned start-up companies. (Stats here)
Why? Because franchisors have a tried-and-true model in an established market with identifiable customers. When you buy a franchise, you leapfrog the first several huge obstacles most entrepreneurs face. At TGA, we weren't profitable for several years ... but our franchisees are mostly profitable in their first year because they immediately obtain the blueprint we spent a lot of time and money designing.
The downside to franchising is that you’re one part of a bigger system so you’re likely not going to change the world alone … and you have to deal with the franchisor, who thankfully isn’t a boss but acts like an uber-protective big brother.
Franchising doesn’t guarantee success because it always comes down to execution. A franchise provides the blueprint and tools to build a castle. Ultimately it’s up to the franchisee to pick up those tools every morning, follow the blueprint and build.
If you want to be an entrepreneur, franchising is an immediate, viable and less-risky alternative to waiting for your big idea and starting something from scratch. It’s not for all but is great for some, especially first time entrepreneurs. I look forward to further discussing the topic on this blog and for the FBR.