What Skills Do You Need to Be a Franchise Owner?

Welcome to another episode of Atlanta Franchise Today with host Leslie Kuban, expert franchise consultant and owner of FranNet Atlanta. Atlanta Franchise Today is dedicated to bringing entrepreneurs and business owners the best practices and tips for their franchise goals.

Today, Leslie addresses one of the first questions her clients ask her when beginning the franchise process—What kind of experience do I need to have to be a successful franchise owner? We’re going to do a deep dive into the skills, experience, and traits Leslie sees in successful happy franchisee owners and you might be surprised by what you’re going to learn.

Transcription: 

Leslie Kuban:
So first let’s lay forth some definitions. I would like to separate what I mean by experience versus skills. When I speak about skills, I’m referring to the toolbox of talents that you have developed in your business career, in your corporate career that you will take with you in any new opportunity. So some examples of transferable skills are things like customer service, sales, business development, leading teams, operations, and project management.

Leslie Kuban:
Now, when I’m referring to your experience, I’m referring to the industries where you have been employed or where you have been in business before where you have learned and refined these transferable skills. So examples would be having had a career in the IT industry or in healthcare, consumer products, food and beverage, real estate. And I would actually put being a parent in there as a great avenue of experience to then be transferred into business ownership.

Leslie Kuban:
I work with a lot of folks, moms and dads that have stayed at home for a period of time with their kids and the logistics and the negotiation that goes into being a parent definitely can apply to successful business ownership. Now, when you start to look at how franchise opportunities advertise to recruit new franchisees, many times you’re going to see what they say is no experience needed. But what many times they really mean is no experience wanted.

Leslie Kuban:
Franchise companies are looking keenly for your transferable skills, but they would prefer most of the time that you not have any direct experience in their industry. And what they prefer is that people come into their business with a clean slate and they will train you as a new franchise on the ins and outs and the nuances of what you need to do to be successful in that industry. Too many times when people have direct experience, they bring all of their habits some of which may be very good, but too many times there are habits that don’t gel with a franchisor’s business model, and that might be setting up contention from day one.

Leslie Kuban:
So franchises again do really want that match in a skillset and it’s important to them. They’re qualifying for this and it’s different from one type of franchise model to the next. In some franchise businesses, that key transferable skill is sales or business development. In others, it would be leading teams of people. And again, they want to train you on the industry, but the recipe for quick success is that you apply what you learn right away and you hit the ground running with the business because you already have the transferable skills to put into motion what you’re learning about the industry.

Leslie Kuban:
Now, maybe you’ll notice in the list of transferable skills that I’ve been talking about, the common denominator is people. And I think it’s important that if you’re considering going into any business, you do need to be good and enjoy working with people in some way. And this is really good news. I know a lot of times people think their choices in business ownership are going to be limited by their resume, limited by their diploma. And the good news is the world can be your oyster and there are so many examples of people taking their transferable skills and leveraging them into a brand new endeavor that they are excited about. And we’ve seen several examples of this lately here on the Atlanta Small Business Network.

Leslie Kuban:
Nancy, she was a training and development executive at Clinique and now she is a successful a franchise owner with a health food cafe concept called Clean Eatz. Ryan visited with us last year and he was a global account director with Coca-Cola. And now he is a home services franchise owner with a company called Koala Insulation. And Adrian and Stephanie, they came from marketing and IT backgrounds, and they are now owners of a pest control franchise called Mosquito Hunters.

Leslie Kuban:
Now, certainly there’s some exceptions to the rule and actually I’m one of them. My first franchise experience was when I was 22-years-old, I was right out of college. I took over an existing Mail Boxes Etc. franchise in Marietta, Georgia, that whole brand converted to the UPS Store about 20 years ago. But the point is I didn’t have any refined skills. I just graduated college. I didn’t have a career or business history behind me, but what I did have was a strong work ethic, grit and a willingness to try and make some mistakes and learn from those mistakes.

Leslie Kuban:
And certainly I had some help from my father and Mail Boxes Etc. was a very strong franchisor, I called them every day and got the help I needed learn and succeed very quickly. I’m sharing this story with you to illustrate that there’s a great opportunity for young adults to get started early in their entrepreneurial career just like I did. And I’m seeing that in my business, a swell of multi-generational clients, baby boomer-aged parents teaming with their often Gen X or millennial-aged adult child going into business together. And this is in a very exciting topic and we’re going to explore this notion of multi-generational franchise ownership in a future episode.

Leslie Kuban:
So my tips for finding the right fit based on your skills is number one, do a very honest self-assessment about what you believe your best skills are. How are you good with people? How do you like to spend your time in a way with people that energizes you and makes you motivated to succeed even further? Now, you might need some help with this. Sometimes people have trouble putting into words what those transferable skills are. And the good news is there’s a free assessment tool. It’s the one that I use in my consulting process, but it helps give shape and give language to what are those skills in what way are you good in working with people that you can translate into successful business ownership?

Leslie Kuban:
A QR code is going to come up on the screen now. And if you have your phone handy, open up the camera on your phone and a browser is going to pop up that is going to give you the opportunity to request access to this free assessment tool that will help you understand what your transferable skills are that will translate nicely into owning your own business.

Leslie Kuban:
Now, my second tip is you want to have a direct conversation with the franchisor and the franchisees and ask them point blank, “What are the skills that I would need to have to be successful in this franchise model? And if they’re not things that I have a lot of prior knowledge about, are they skills that can be learned pretty quickly?” That’s something you want to feel comfortable with that you’d be able to learn it very quickly and put it into play soon in the launch of your business.

Leslie Kuban:
I hope this episode has been helpful for you, that you’ve learned something useful. Thank you for tuning into Atlanta Franchise Today and I look forward to seeing you next week.


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