We often describe franchisees as entrepreneurs. This is true to an extent. Franchisees are people seeking to work for themselves and run their own business. But the presence of the franchisor network means that a franchisee does not enjoy the same independence of the entrepreneur who’s out on his own.
It’s rare to get the experience of a businessman who has experienced both sides of the small business world – an entrepreneur and a franchisee. The Wall Street-Journal recently conducted an interviewwith Tom Simonian, who ran a business that provided corporate-incentive programs in Chicago and recently invested in a Cleaners Depot franchise.
For any businessperson seriously considering opening a business, there’s some exceptionally interesting insight from Tom. He’s had a really interesting business career and provides an honest discussion on the pro’s and con’s of franchising, but suggests ultimately that a franchise is an excellent investment. If you're a dyed-in-the-wool entrepreneur who craves an opportunity to work completely independently, altering and modifying your business structure as you go along, perhaps the organization of a franchise isn’t for you. But if you like the input and the support that a franchisor network can provide, you'll definitely find a franchised business for you somewhere.
You have a supportive team at the corporate headquarters, you have training, marketing, legal support. You have all that support that you wouldn't have if you were on your own, or if you do, it comes at a heavy cost. In the franchising world, you're sharing those costs with other franchisees.
You're not out there alone. If you're short on some inventory, you can call one of your neighbor franchisees and pick up some inventory items. Or if equipment goes down, I've got the franchiser's maintenance staff.
I thought maybe I would be troubled by wanting to do things and then them not allowing me to do it. Although that's happened, I've never wished that I hadn't gotten into franchising because I'm handcuffed. All the positives far outweigh the negatives.
The franchise world is not the world for an entrepreneur. An entrepreneur wants to go out there and either take something to rework it and make it better, or start from scratch and build it. A true entrepreneur wants to do everything and to control everything.