Many people believe that starting a business through a franchise opportunity means jeopardizing your chances at career satisfaction, however studies have proven that this is not necessarily the case. It has been proven that job satisfaction depends on individual personality and attitude along with the most suitable workplace environment. This means that achieving job satisfaction depends on your own attitude as well as making the right decisions for you! Starting your own business can put you on the right road to achieving your ultimate level of job satisfaction, but it’s not for everyone. To achieve your ultimate level of job satisfaction, you must first of all consider what you deem to be career success and also how you can achieve that based on your abilities. A franchise can offer you the chance to start your own business, as well as ongoing support as your business grows and develops. However, you must ensure that you carry out a significant amount of research about a variety of franchise opportunities before investing any hard earned cash.
During the current economic downturn, small businesses are finding themselves in a difficult situation. While it was important previously to offer your customers a top service and great product, with so many consumers now finding themselves with a lower income, more and more consumers are becoming more and more price driven. Overhead costs haven’t come down enough for small businesses to start reducing prices however, so small business owners must become more creative when developing ways to attract customers back. David Miller, the managing director of start-up business Ruby recommends that “specialising in all channels during a period when clients are tightening their budgets seems to be a key trend among start ups, as the work becomes more consumer focused and less channel focused” (Kimberley, 11). So anyone starting a small business must ensure that they consider important factors before starting a business such as potential market, competitors, overhead costs and opportunity for growth. Having the desire to succeed and displaying an entrepreneurial mind isn’t going to guarantee your success.
Employee, Franchisee or Entrepreneur?
There are a number of choices facing individuals when it comes to career path. You can choose to go into general employment, which a large section of the population chooses. Alternatively, you can choose to become self employed. This means starting your own business, either through entrepreneurship or through a franchise opportunity. Each path offers its own benefits and pitfalls. Going down the PAYE route can offer you security and the chance to work your way up within a company, and taking risks without risking your own income. Starting a business through a franchise opportunity means becoming your own boss but also running a business according to the established standards and processes of the franchise which some can find restricting, others comforting as they can rely on the support and expertise of the franchisor. Starting your own business as an entrepreneur is probably the most risky decision, as you are going out on your own without the benefit of having a franchisor to consult when decisions are difficult to make, however you are wholly and completely your own boss and you have the freedom to make decisions how and when you want, and you also take home every penny you make. Each of these benefits and pitfalls should help you decide which path is for you. Once that path is chosen, there are a lot more decisions to make!
The Myth of the Entrepreneurial Mind
Let’s first of all dispel with the myth that only certain people are destined for the entrepreneurial path! A report by academics in Vienna University found that the myth of an entrepreneurial personality was most probably untrue, stating that the stability of a personality in general must be questioned along with the acknowledgement of the different personality traits needed at different stages in a business’ lifetime. To begin with, the personality of an individual at certain stages in their life cannot be relied upon to remain fixed, because individuals change, as influenced by events in their life.
Therefore the entrepreneur who begins a business may not, and most likely will not have the same personality after 10 years of running the business. This means that a personality will not remain stable and therefore a fixed entrepreneurial personality cannot be identified. Secondly, while certain enthusiasm and risk may be required in order to start up a business, as that business develops other traits are required in order to grow the business at a stable and healthy rate such as the ability to identify problems within a business process and enough energy and innovation to be able to implement change. The report concluded that “it is not possible to predict the long-term success of a business by evaluating the personality factors of the business founder in early stages of the start-up process” (Frank et al, 227), as the founder will no doubt change as the business changes also. Walter Kuemmerle writes that “real entrepreneurship is a far cry from managing an established business and farther still from the sanitised model that became popular during the late 1990s.” (122), meaning that any individual looking to start their own business must first and foremost be ready to changes in line with changes in environment, market and economic conditions. Job satisfaction can only be achieved by the individual’s drive and desire to achieve goals for their business which they have already defined in line with market conditions – in other words, be realistic!
How We Believe in Ourselves
Other studies carried out by academics world-wide have linked job satisfaction to a number of factors including general personal stability and the ability to adapt to new and varying situations. A report by academics in Oxford University found that difficulty in settling into a new situation may often hinder the achievement of job satisfaction as a changing work environment can upset mood balance. It identifies the importance of Core Self Evaluations (CSE), which are the methods by which we perceive ourselves, our ideas of who we are and what qualities we believe ourselves to display. These evaluations determine the path we choose in life and how we perform in certain situations. For instance, an individual who perceives themselves to be an entrepreneur will seize the opportunity to start their own business, whereas an individual who perceives themselves as a carer, will most likely opt more towards a more appropriate role such as a doctor, hospital nurse or a home carer.
In specific job situations, it is believed the CSE also “influence what types of environment we seek and whether [we] successfully attain this environment (i.e. type or quality of job). This then leads to specific experiences at work, which determine the level of job satisfaction.” (Dormann et al, 29). CSE comprises of self-esteem, generalised self-efficacy, locus of control (LOC), and low neuroticism. These personality traits all influence how we perceive ourselves and how we feel about situations in which we find ourselves. For instance, an individual with a high LOC will feel that they have the ability to take charge of their life and implement change should they feel it needed, whereas an individual with a low LOC will feel that they are powerless in their situation, and therefore may be unhappy with where they find themselves but not be inclined to make a change.
Employers gravitate towards recruiting individuals with a stronger and more balanced Internal Locus of Control (LOC) as these individuals will function better on a team and within a workplace environment. Individuals who are more adaptable and motivated therefore will be selected more easily for jobs for which they apply and therefore will be more likely to achieve their desired level of success. Therefore, in terms of starting a business through a franchise opportunity; a franchisee with a well balanced Internal LOC will be more open to a new franchise method and be better prepared to negotiate changes with the franchisor, achieving more for their franchise business than those who aren’t willing to adapt to a proven business method.
Operating as a Franchisee Studies into job satisfaction has also found that Core Self Evaluations play a major influence on job satisfaction but these cannot be linked to the long term success of a business, this comes by making the right decisions at the right moments. Common reasons for dissatisfaction amongst franchisees revealed in a study by Kimberley A. Morrison suggest that dissatisfaction may come about from misconceptions about franchise support and marketing initiatives made prior to the signing of the franchise agreement. This strengthens the advice that researching a franchise opportunity thoroughly is extremely important before signing anything. Dissatisfaction can also come about because franchisees feel that the franchisor doesn’t listen to their needs and implements changes in business processes that the franchisee is not entirely happy with and may actually damage their business’ performance. Speaking to previous and current franchisee is also important in this regard. Morrison’s study found that while 75% of franchisees surveyed had contacted existing franchisees, only 16% had contacted former franchisees. Both groups can offer a valuable insight into the operation of the franchise and in particular former franchisees can give information on the possibility of resale should you will to sell on your franchise business.
Morrison’s report continues to state that the majority of franchisees surveyed “did not seek information from potentially key sources such as former franchisees, UFOC documents, bankers, accountants, or lawyers” (Morrison, 38). These sources must be consulted when considering investing any amount of money into a franchise or business opportunity. Any individual investing in an opportunity like this is hinging their career and future along with the future of their family and any other dependents to the success of their business and therefore must ensure that they will have to ability to achieve their desired success. Individuals shouldn’t make a decision based on a franchisor’s pitch and should also carry out the maximum amount of research beforehand. This also means that you will make the best decision for you and therefore will invest in a franchise with which you are most compatible and most likely to achieve job satisfaction. The failure of franchisees is most likely as a result on the mis-information provided before the franchise agreements are signed or mis-interpretation of information provided. The golden rule to abide by when researching franchise opportunities is “if it looks too good to be true, then it probably is!”
Job satisfaction cannot be determined by a business model alone as it depends on the personality of the individual and their ability to achieve success. However, business success does depend on making the right decision prior to making an investment and this means carrying out an enormous amount of research before investing any funds, as well as consulting with industry professionals. Therefore, franchising should be viewed as a very viable opportunity to strengthen your career and establish a successful business. There are a large variety of franchise opportunities available on the market offering good and not so good opportunities, but with the right attitude and street smarts, you will be able to make the right decision selecting the right opportunity for you.
List of Works Cited
Dormann, Fay, Zapf & Frese. “A State-Trait Analysis of Job Satisfaction: On the Effect of Core Self- Evaluations”. Applied Psychology: An International Review, 2006, 55 (1), 27–51. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing (2006).
Frank, Lueger & Korunka. “The significance of personality in business start-up intentions, start-up realization and business success”. Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, 19th May 2007, 227–251. Austria: Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration, Austria (2007).
Kimberley, Sara. “Is a recession the right time to launch a start-up?”. Precision Marketing, August 8th 2008, 11.
Kuemmerle, Walter. “A Test for the Fainthearted.” Harvard Business Review, May 2002, 122-127. USA: Harvard University (2002).
Morrison, Kimberley A. “An Empirical Test of a Model of Franchisee Job Satisfaction”. Journal of Small Business Management, July 1996, 27 – 41. USA: Blackwell Publishing Limited (1996).