The first year as a franchisee, although exhilarating, can often be the toughest one as you get up to speed on the franchisor’s business model, build your customer base and recruit employees. Just like with any new business, hard work, dedication, and patience are required at the outset.
One common misconception when it comes to operating a franchise is that once you sign on the dotted line and open for business, the customers and revenue will start flowing. This is typically not the case. It normally takes a year or two to become profitable.
We asked franchisors and franchisees on this year’s FBR Top 200 list what franchisees should expect in their first year in business. Here’s what they had to say.
On Their First Years
“Be Patient and Be Prepared”
“Just be patient and be prepared to work hard at it… It takes time (to turn a profit), especially if you’re introducing a brand new franchise to your area. Look at (franchising) as a long view endeavor. Think about where you want to be a year from now.”
–Chuck Cassidy, British Swim School franchise owner
“Be realistic and understand what you have and what need to do (to succeed).”
–Melanie Sweet, Cruise Planners franchise owner
“Prepare for an Emotional Roller Coaster”
“Expect the first year to be an emotional roller coaster as you learn the ins and outs of being a new business owner. All the classroom training in the world cannot prepare you for the day to day interactions you have. You have to always stay positive and don’t be afraid to ask for help from your franchisor. The challenges involved in owning your own business can make it that much more satisfying to be an entrepreneur.”
–Nick Titus, VP Marketing for Minuteman Press International.
“The Business Takes Time”
“Be prepared for a lot of hard work in the beginning. This business takes time but has yet to disappoint. Never hesitate to reach out to your coach or other franchise owners (we’re a fun group). Bird knowledge is helpful but not critical, there will be a great deal of wisdom to be shared, through the franchise and your customers. Be open to those opportunities.”
–Cathy Fleischacker & Pam Dymsza, Wild Birds Unlimited franchise owners
“Perseverance Will Pay Off”
“A franchisee’s first year is exciting, nerve-racking, and exhilarating all wrapped up into one. Every franchisee’s experience is different, but the first year will require hard work, patience, and perseverance. With a good franchising system like Mosquito Joe, success will come by following the system with a strategic plan. There will be challenges and setbacks —some completely out of the franchisee’s control — but no matter how it comes about, perseverance will pay off.”
–Lou Schager, President of Mosquito Joe
Getting Through The First Year
The first year of life as a franchisee is widely acknowledged to be the hardest. No matter how much you prepare for it, most new franchisees are learning new skills and transitioning from employee to entrepreneur.
But one of the great things about franchising is that it comes with a proven built-in support system. A good franchise (see FBR’s list of top-rated franchises) will provide you the training and tools you’ll need to launch your business quickly and efficiently. You will also be able to reach out to other franchisees within the organization for advice and help as you navigate the first year of your business. As a new franchise owner with an award-winning brand, you should never have to feel you’re completely on your own.