Can Type ‘A’ Entrepreneurs Run Successful Franchises?
The answer to the question we’re posing in this post is, “It depends.” We’re not saying this to avoid a direct answer, but because it’s true. Entrepreneurs are often thought of as Type ‘A’ personalities who have to be on the go and in control, but would that disqualify them as successful franchise owners?
To begin with, let’s look at a definition of ‘entrepreneur’. Entrepreneur Magazine – which should know – defines an entrepreneur as: “One who starts or assumes control of a business or other independent enterprise, often employing innovation and more than an ordinary degree of risk.”
The magazine goes on to say that, although the terms ‘small business owner’ and ‘entrepreneur’ are often used interchangeably, they really aren’t the same. The writer points out that the willingness of the entrepreneur to assume substantial risk is the key differentiator between the two.
Considering that most budding business owners who choose the franchise model do so to reduce risk by following a proven process and adopting a recognized brand, it doesn’t appear that the typical ‘entrepreneur type’ would be happy going that route.
Indeed, running successful franchises requires following the tried and true, regardless of the specific business category. Any self-described entrepreneur who can’t stomach that reality would be better off developing a business concept from scratch and maybe becoming a franchisor instead of a franchisee.
However, having said that, there’s also plenty in owning a franchise that can appeal to and satisfy entrepreneurial qualities.
A recent article for Entrepreneur by Stephen Key discussed what the author has identified as, “5 Qualities of Successful Entrepreneurs” based on his decades of experience mentoring this group. He lists them as follows:
- An unwavering passion
- The desire to be an expert
- A forward-looking approach
- A constant flow of ideas
When we read this article, it struck us that there’s not one of these qualities that our FPC owners don’t possess in running their successful franchises. Let’s look at them one by one. While we’re using FPC executive recruiting franchise owners as examples, we’d bet that the same applies to many franchisees in other industries.
- An unwavering passion. I, personally, describe myself often as passionate about executive recruiting and the benefits it provides to the companies and job candidates we work with – not to mention our employees and everyone’s families. Many of my FPC colleagues also express their passion for what we do. As owners, our passion helps us to focus on what it takes to succeed through the ups and downs of running a business.
- Open-mindedness. According to Stephen Key, successful entrepreneurs don’t presume to have all the answers and are not rigid about their visions. Even though we may be following a process that we didn’t invent, we franchise owners all have a vision of where we want to take our businesses and how we want them to contribute to our lives and legacies. Fortunately, we operate in a system of peers and franchise management that fosters learning and provides constant and continuing input to help us fine-tune our operations.
- The desire to be an expert. Key says that successful entrepreneurs understand the importance of developing industry expertise and leveraging it from venture to venture. You can bet that even though Amazon.com and The Washington Post don’t seem to have much in common, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos based his recent purchase of the Post on his expertise in digital content assets and marketing. Our FPC owners succeed because most of them are recruiting in the industries they used to work in and know inside out. Coming into franchise ownership as content experts gives them instant credibility in their new roles.
- A forward-looking approach. It’s easy to get into a business rut – especially when things are running smoothly. The owners operating the most successful franchises know that, by definition, the status quo is meant to be disrupted. They look ahead and plan for changes and challenges. They’re strategic goal setters. The FPC national office happens to be a great role model in the looking forward department. It’s currently celebrating 40 years of franchising the FPC recruiting process. This success has been largely due to keeping an eye on economic and industry trends and thinking beyond conventional wisdom to meet and overcome challenges.
- A constant flow of ideas. An often-discussed quality of entrepreneurs is that they are always looking for what’s next. For all of our FPC owners, buying their franchises has been what’s next for them. Most of them came from successful corporate careers. Many of them have never stopped thinking about and exploring how to build on, rather than rest on their laurels. Some have opened up new offices. Some have branched into recruitment for related industries. Some have brought other family members into the business. Some have created partnerships to expand services.
Going back to the definition of ‘entrepreneur’ that we shared at the beginning of the post, it’s good to know that even though entrepreneurs who buy franchises may have to temper their love of risk, they don’t necessarily have to give up on their desire to innovate.
Many franchise systems, including FPC, have peer advisory boards where owners get to share their ideas for improving the system and to contribute input to management initiatives. There are also franchises, again including FPC, that offer owners considerable freedom in running their offices.
The takeaway is that if you’re an entrepreneurial type considering whether a franchise is right for you, consider whether you can be happy channeling your qualities into the functions involved in franchise success. Which of your qualities do you wonder whether you could put to good use in a franchise environment?
To learn how your time would be spent on a typical day as an FPC owner, download our free eBook, “A Day in the Life of an FPC Franchise Owner.”