Anxious about investing in a franchise business? Focus on facts instead of emotions.

Anxious about investing in a franchise business? Focus on facts instead of emotions.

Thinking about joining a franchise? You should be scared. I have helped hundreds of people explore business ownership and join franchises and they are all scared.

And it makes sense.

Becoming a franchisee is one of the most rewarding professional decisions a person can make. Business ownership provides autonomy, freedom, flexibility and control. You build income, wealth and can provide a legacy for your family.

And it will engender fear.

As a franchise consultant, I work with candidates and I help them manage their fears. I can relate. My transition to full-time self-employment was fraught with fear.

What I learned from my experience is that almost all of the fears were linked to the unknown or uncertainty.  When I committed to learning the facts about business ownership, franchising and specific brands, my fears were replaced with facts and I was able to make an informed decision.

There is a stark and profound contrast between emotion and logic. Most of our decisions are emotional and we justify them with logic. A more effective way to make decisions such as buying a franchise is to focus on facts and not your emotions. Fact-based decisions will be more successful in the long run.

Let me be clear: Fear is not an altogether bad thing. When you manage fear and use it to gather facts, information and validate brands or as a catalyst to higher performance, it becomes a force multiplier. You just cannot let it rule your life or decisions.

The biggest issue I see with franchise candidates is fear of failure. Fear of failure can stop us in our tracks and fill our minds with worst-case scenarios. These irrational fears limit our ability to move forward and be the best version of ourselves.

How do you counteract fear of failure?  

First, label it for what it is – irrational, non-fact-based, worst-case thinking. Focus on what is real. Mark Twain put it well when he said, “I have been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.”  Don’t limit your life worrying about things that will not happen.

Next, as you learn about buying a franchise, you will come to understand that franchising systematically reduces your chance of failure. Leading franchise brands provide you with proven, repeatable business models. Follow the systems and processes and you provide yourself the opportunity to duplicate the results.

Fear rears its ugly head when you don’t believe in yourself.

The seminal benefit of franchising is that you are in business for yourself but not by yourself. What this means is that the franchise system (franchisor, fellow franchisees and vendors) will provide ongoing guidance and support. A franchise owner’s job is to seek out that support. I believe that the best franchisees are the ones who ask the most questions. Asking good questions during exploration enables you to replace fears with facts. Once you join a franchise, asking questions will help you understand the model and operations so that you can perform at a high level.

Don’t worry if you do not have the specific industry experience for a franchise. Franchise systems are looking for transferable skills; things like management, operations, communications, sales, etc. They are not looking for experts in their businesses.

If you are reading this you are likely smart, talented and have a track record of achievement. Why would things suddenly be different when you join a franchise? In fact, most people perform better as franchise owners than as employees because they have greater control and are more vested in every outcome. That is why franchise models outperform traditional businesses.

Managing fear with facts

Another way to reduce the fear of failure is to focus on yourself. You will hear anecdotes about people becoming fabulously successful or losing everything through franchising. Facts matter; stories do not. What matters is that you are able to find a franchise that matches your skills, talents, motivations and goals.

In the end, fear never completely goes away AND top franchisees use it as a force multiplier to drive their performance.

Acknowledge your fear and emotions AND continue to move forward. Fear is the opposite of belief and it rears its ugly head when you don’t believe in yourself, the process or the concept. Recognize the uncertainty that exists and act anyway.

Don’t look for a reason to say no. It is rare to ever be 100% certain about anything in life so don’t use that as an excuse! When you are 80% certain, make a decision. Success in life is predicated on taking reasonable and calculated risks.

So embrace your fear, do your research, find the right brand, believe in yourself and chase your dreams!

by Mark Schnurman, published on