First things first, to ascertain your suitability for a franchise, you might want to take a personality test for yourself and take an honest look at what situations and cultures you prefer. There are plenty of personality tests around, such DiSC profile or Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) that show you how you operate or, importantly,how you appear professionally, which might differ from your preferred set of behaviours. This might show, for example, that you need to give you accounts to a bookkeeper early on because you prefer to be a more interactive part of the business and leave this element of detail to someone else.These tests will give you a sense of self that will help you decide what franchise path to follow.

Most franchises have some type of business development requirement; this might be front-line sales or relationship-building sales. Larger franchisors will also look for your ability to manage and motivate a team. If you are investing in a smaller franchise operation, however, for example a van-based franchise, this will be very sales-heavy. The best way to find out which franchise suits you best could be to spend a day with a couple of the brand’s franchisees to see how the day-to-day sales and operations are for you, and then discuss how it went with the franchisor.

Another valuable tip is to look at not only your own emotional intelligence,but also that of the franchisor you are evaluating. Do they exhibit certain vital emotional intangibles not contained on their website or brochure, such as empathy, gratitude and intuition?

How do you find out if the franchisor does possess emotional intelligence? A great place to start your research is to ask the franchisees who are part of the network. Some questions you might want to ask include: Empathy – how would the franchisor work with me if I were experiencing some personal difficulties? Gratitude – does the franchisor appreciate what you do each day, how do they show it? Intuition – do you have any examples of where the franchisor has seen an issue with your business and helped?

When you are going through the recruitment process with any franchisor listen for potential ‘black-and-white’ thinking, as this can restrict growth and lead to difficulties with you depending on how you work together. A franchise relationship does not necessarily flourish on the authority of the franchisor alone,it needs mutual understanding, clear expectations from both of you, and a can-do attitude from everyone involved in the brand.

So to recap:

  • Do a personality test to learn more about yourself
  • Find out more about the franchisor’s emotional intelligence
  • Go and test your personality in the field with existing franchisees
  • Listen to advice from other business owners and be honest with yourself
  • Do not deviate from your goal ofself-employment

Finally, seek out a company that shares your values. Together, you will have the staying power to keep innovating and to safeguard both the brand and your business investment.

About the author

Simon Mills QFP started as a franchisee in 1991 and is service experience manager at franchise brand, Fantastic Services.