What A Corporate Executive Learned When She Followed Her Dream to Own a Franchise
Published December 13, 2017
A Top Exec Turned Franchisee Shared Her Experience in QSR Online
Deb Lutz had a successful career in corporate roles before she left to follow her dream – owning a restaurant. She chose franchising to reach that goal and shared her experience in in QSR Magazine online. Here are some takeaways from the article that can apply to every franchisee.
Follow Your Passion
Lutz always wanted to own a restaurant. But, she wanted a special restaurant – one that was healthy. Her teenage daughter was born with Prader-Willi syndrome, a cause of obesity. It wasn’t going to be just any restaurant; she wanted healthy and she wanted fresh. She found her match in b.good, a restaurant just starting to franchise. When you think about becoming a franchisee, be sure to consider more than just the ROI or the initial costs. Find a franchise that is right for you -- one that you can feel passionate about. You want a franchise that makes you proud of your product – whether it’s a pizza or a eyelash extensions.
Get Firsthand Impressions
It was a blueberry smoothie made from locally sourced blueberries that sold Lutz on b.good. And, the passion of the founders when she did further investigation really impressed her. As you search for the franchise that is the right fit for you, do your own investigation. Visit the business – at more than one location if possible. Visit headquarters and get to know the corporate team. They’re your support team and you want to make sure that you find a good fit and that the help you’ll need will be readily available. Most of all, like Lutz, make sure that the founders and the team are passionate about their product – and your success.
Play to Your Strengths
Know your own skillset and know when you need to hire someone with a different set of skills. Lutz had never worked in a restaurant, but she had a strong set of business skills from her corporate experience. A P&L had no mystery. She understood hiring. She was comfortable working with vendors and outside partners like law firms and accounting firms. She knew how to use her strengths to improve that P&L – but, this was her first experience with a restaurant. Lutz hired an operational partner with years of food service experience and expertise. The combination of their skillsets was exactly right to create a successful franchise. As you become a franchisee, play to your strengths, but don’t be afraid to admit your weak spots and fill them with a qualified person. You’ll benefit from less stress and your franchise will benefit by being staffed correctly for maximum success.
When to Buy a Franchise
If you’re thinking you need to buy an established franchise, you can safely rethink that objective. Lutz says that its good to get in on the ground floor. As the fourth franchisee invested in b.good, she enjoyed “developing the group”. Common sense tells you that when you are one of the first, you’re going to get a great deal of attention. After all, your success is the franchise’s success. The Amazing Lash Studio franchise is only 4 years old – still young – and its already made the Entrepreneur’s list of top 100 new franchises. As you make your decision, look at category trends – beauty is hot and so is pizza, especially the pizza’s like PizzaFire where customers choose their toppings and get a fresh, hot pie in minutes. Know the category; investigate the franchise carefully, but don’t be afraid to invest in a franchise that is still new.
One of the most important jobs you have as the owner of the franchise is to hire the right people. They will be the face of your business. Don’t just hire for skill – hire for attitude, too. Lutz asks job candidates to put “passion, compassion, integrity and accountability” in the order showing what they feel is most important. Those 4 traits are important to her and hearing how a potential employee feels about them gives her insight. Talk to the applicants and learn about them. Be honest with them about their job path and the possibility of advancement. Make each employee important to you and they will be more likely to make their performance one that will make you proud.
It’s Your Business
You have chosen your franchise carefully. You are relying on their training, their product or service and their reputation to help make your franchise location a success. But, you are the bottom line. It’s your money that has been invested; it’s your future. Be prepared for long hours and hard work as you get started. Pay attention to what other franchisees have found to be successful. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or ask for help. Build a solid foundation and, like Lutz, you may become not just successful with your first location – you can become a successful multiple-location franchisee.