As a franchise coach, I speak with people on a daily basis who are interested in becoming entrepreneurs. What surprises many people is that I never start by discussing available franchise opportunities.
Instead of leading with “Which franchise are you interested in exploring,” I ask questions like “Why do you want to become a business owner?” and “Why do you think business ownership is the best path for you at this time in your life?”
This is important for any franchise consultant, franchise-development executive or prospective franchisee because a lot of valuable time and money can be wasted if a prospect does not consider his or her personal needs, wants and motivations. Just because a prospective franchisee has the finances and experiences necessary to buy into a franchise doesn’t necessarily mean he or she should.
So before exploring specific franchise opportunities, aspiring entrepreneurs should be sure they possess the following six essential traits:
1. Have a clear vision for the business.
A clear vision is the foundation of a smart owner’s entrepreneurial game plan and ensures that he or she stays on track even when the inevitable tough challenges arise. As I point out in my book The Franchisee Workbook, owners need to develop a personal vision if they don’t already have one.
2. Communicate goals and motivate others.
Successful owners surround themselves with people whom they trust to criticize their ideas, contribute to their vision and generate results. Their willingness to include employees and other influencers in business discussions and decisions enables them to recruit and retain motivated workers for the mission.
3. Set timetables.
Much as President John F. Kennedy outlined a goal to put a person on the moon by the end of a decade, business owners must be similarly motivated to set deadlines and hold everyone accountable in order to accomplish big goals. Good business owners know that time not money is their most precious asset.
4. View setbacks as opportunities for improvement.
A setback represents a step toward a goal not a reason or excuse to give up. Every setback creates the chance to learn and improve. Business owners should embrace each tough day as a learning opportunity.
5. Stand apart from the crowd.
Strong leaders know that they will not receive unanimous support for all decisions. There will be naysayers, people who try to pull them down and those who think they’re crazy. Quality entrepreneurs listen to all opinions, weigh each idea based on experience and logic and then confidently make their choice.
6. Focus on continual learning.
Successful owners view every business experience as a lesson. The best entrepreneurs are lifelong learners and use past experiences to build businesses not resumes. No matter how long an entrepreneur has run a business, new ways for improvement always emerge. The best owners never stop trying to better their product or service.