Tips on buying your first franchise, from a leading franchise expert

(Image: iStock/BsWei)

The fear of failure can be paralyzing, especially when we have others counting on us. As humans, biologically our natural instincts are to fight or run. When we feel the fear of failure, we become anxious and nervous, which causes us to tighten up, freeze, then run. In today’s world, running means turning to meaningless and time-consuming activities—typically around some type of electronic device.

As a result, we distract ourselves and lose sight of the important issues that can change our lives for the better. Out of sight, out of mind—no worries. Of course that means finding solutions or finding change for the better is an impossible feat. Eventually, we find ourselves right back at that decision point, repeating the same behavior.

Here are the tips I provide to clients when they just can’t seem to get past the fear:



Picture the worst result, then use your imagination to identify alternatives. Realizing that the worst case scenario can have alternatives is powerful medicine, which will relieve the pressure and make action possible. Bringing fearful situations to light allows you to deal with them in a more rational way.

Identify Role Models


Take the time to read about and talk to successful business owners that you know or have heard about— not just in the category of business you’re considering. These successful people were clearly able to overcome their fear of failure and move forward. Find out how they did it, and emulate their practices.

The 80 Percent Rule


I had the pleasure of hearing Brad Sugars, world renowned speaker, restaurateur, and founder/president of the ActionCOACH franchise, speak and he shared this rule I like to pass on. When you are 80% sure, make a decision! If you don’t, you’re simply looking for a reason to say no. It is rare that you’ll ever be 100% about anything. Don’t use that as an excuse. If you keep things the same, don’t expect anything to change.

Don’t Take It Personal


Not everything works out the way we want or hope—including business. Just because a business fails, doesn’t mean that we are failures. Suzy Kassem said it best in Rise Up and Salute the Sun (2010), “doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.” If the business fails, pick yourself back up and try again. The decision will be much easier the second time around—I promise.

If you are particularly fearful of the idea of business ownership and are looking for a more measured way to enter into a new investment in yourself, your community, and business, I highly recommend considering franchising. While no business or business model is guaranteed, franchising can drastically cut into some of the risks typically associated with a concept business or startup.

Training and Support


With most franchises, previous industry experience is not a requirement. A good franchise will train you on running your business from start to finish.

Critical Startup Assistance


The startup phase is always the most challenging for any business.

Pre-Negotiated Vendor Contracts


Franchisors have great leverage over their suppliers and can typically negotiate better than average rates, terms, and levels of service.

Location! Location! Location!


Franchises are usually preferred in most retail locations.

Ongoing Support


Franchisors are behind the scenes constantly looking for ways to make their franchisees more competitive and successful.

I hope that you found this information helpful, enlightening, and motivating enough for you to make a decision. But just in case, here’s one last takeaway. If you haven’t read the book The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas H. Stanley, Ph.D., I encourage you to do so. Two-thirds of millionaires in the U.S. are business owners—that’s no coincidence. So what are you waiting for?!!