When you think of heroes, you first may think of a movie character or your favorite athlete. I've had the privilege of working with small business owners for over a decade, and one of the things I've realized is that if you own a franchise, you're a true hero.
Each year, thousands of entrepreneurs take the leap and become franchise owners. The will to invest part of your life savings into something is no small feat. Initial investments, real estate leases, buildouts, fixtures, inventory, payroll and marketing add up quickly.
And then, when the foundation is built, it's your responsibility to grow your sales, beat last year's numbers and continually find ways to be innovative in growing your business and attracting new customers to local markets. After all, it's your business. The buck starts and stops with you.
What does it take to be a franchise hero?
It's no small chunk of change to open a franchise. Some of the franchise owners I work with were once in the corporate world and left high salaries to become entrepreneurs. Some have opened franchises to help build businesses that their family and friends can be part of. No matter how established the brand is, when you open your own business, it's a risk, but usually, if you do your due diligence in selecting the right franchise, it's a smart risk.
Enjoy What You Do
Because you've thoughtfully and intentionally made the decision to open your franchise, you are in the driver's seat of your own happiness. As an entrepreneur, you can certainly expect to put in a ton of hours and that the journey will not always be easy, but there's a difference you feel in working hard when you genuinely enjoy what you’re doing every day.
When you take a successful proof of concept and introduce it to a new market, you get to interact with and meet a lot of people. You're having an impact on your customers, employees, the community and -- perhaps most importantly -- your children. Anytime you can teach your kids the power of entrepreneurship, hard work, risk and doing something you believe in, you're making a huge impact not only for today but also for generations to come.
Control Your Own Destiny
Even well-known, national franchises experience ups and downs. I've worked with franchise owners who have achieved double-digit increases for seven straight years and then watched the bottom fall out due to unforeseen circumstances, new competition or economic and cultural shifts that negatively affected the business. While you cannot control everything, there are many others that you can, and marketing is one of them.
As an advertising agency CEO who has helped franchises for more than 15 years, if I could offer just one word of advice to franchise owners, it would be "consistency." When sales slip, don't cut your marketing. When sales are great, don't cut your marketing. Your efforts in local marketing matter. Your SEO rankings on Google are important. Updates to your website are critical. Your reputation and quick responses to customers on social media and apps are crucial. Driving local interest through social media and mobile campaigns is a must. Consistently building your brand locally will allow you to stay top of mind and dominate your market in good times and in bad.
Believe In A Support System
Owning a franchise allows you to go into business for yourself, not by yourself. One of the main reasons for choosing to open a franchise versus build your own business from scratch is the assistance, guidance, training and tools you get from the franchisor and from other successful franchisees. Be willing to trust the process and try new things. When you took the plunge to become a franchise owner, you believed in that support system. Don't stop now.