What’s Your Motivation to Buy a Franchise?

The most fundamental and costly mistake prospective franchisees make when shopping for a franchise is also the most common. It’s one that can lead to years of frustration and resentment, or at worst, a business failure if left unexamined. The good news is however, there is something you can do about it. 

The mistake is to invest in a franchise with the major motivation being to replace your salary and “escape the boss.” And yes, I know when you are seemingly stuck in a job you don’t enjoy, working for an employer you don’t really respect, it can feel like all your problems would go away if you were making similar money by working for yourself instead of someone else. But this is not necessarily the case, and before you go ahead and make a major life decision such as buying a business, here are two important things to consider. 

One: Do you trust the Boss? 

You know that boss you thought was lacking leadership, foresight and people skills? That person you felt shackled to and somehow diminished by every week? On a deeper level, the things that irked you about him or her are likely to be a reflection of traits and flaws that you don’t want to recognise in yourself. And guess what? Once you start your own business, YOU are now in charge – and there is no escaping you. This means you are now responsible for the handling the stresses, challenges and problems that sit side by side with the rewards of leadership. Your mindset, your fears, your belief systems and perceived shortcomings in your personality – these all now have a platform to be put on public display, open to scrutiny and criticism by your employees, your customers and yourself. There is opportunity for either great denial or great expansion in this – but not both. Are you ready to admit you don’t have all the answers? Are you open, humble and willing to grow and change with the lessons life and business throw at you? The alternative is to stay stuck in denial and slowly and unwittingly morph into a bastardised version of that which you were escaping in the first place, whereas the former option creates our new franchise journey as the ultimate personal development tool, leading us to greater levels of self worth, emotional awareness, fulfilment and happiness. Which is not a feature a franchisor will advertise, but is arguably the most valuable.

Two: “Are we having Fun Yet?” 

Once you have spent a couple of years in a new franchise, the excitement and newness of it has worn off, and you are “neck deep” in serving customers, juggling stock, acquiring new clients etc, it is natural to stop and ask yourself, “Am I enjoying this?” If your answer to this question isn’t likely to be a resounding yes when the time comes, then it can be argued that you are planning to leave your job and buy a franchise simply to replace one form of servitude for another. The key here is to consider a new franchise or business opportunity through the filter of your own value system – preferably before you make a buying decision. Someone once said that the unexamined life is not worth living, so take a moment to consider what your highest values really are. 


Make it Count 

A good way to do this is to imagine that your next five to ten years of life were to be your last. No second chances, no trial runs – now this the only time you have to make things count. Assuming you would still have to earn a living, what’s important to you in this scenario?

Is it all about making money? How much do you really need to live your ideal life vs. how much you could make if you were to sacrifice other things? Do you really need that new 4WD in the driveway, or would you rather have the time and freedom to take your family overseas together every year? Whilst there is no underestimating the need for some degree of financial stability, a sense of true financial freedom can often arrive by relentlessly stripping away all the trinkets and assumptions that wouldn’t really serve us if we were playing for keeps. By making your franchise purchase decision based on your true financial needs and goals as opposed to your assumed ones, you are much more likely to create genuine satisfaction and happiness for yourself. 

How much time off from work do you need? Do you have a young family who need you as much as your business does? Or are you an empty nester who now needs something to fill in some spaces? What hobbies, interests and passions do you have outside of work that are important to you not to give up? Whilst every new business requires a certain level of commitment to get off the ground, in the end if you are living life out of balance then you are headed for stress, anxiety and eventual breakdown. Honour the fact that what is important to you keeps you feeling whole, and therefore contributes to the ultimate success of any enterprise you are involved in. 

Will the business “feel right” for you? Everyone has a zone of genius and a set of skills that they are well suited for, and working against this dynamic rather than with it creates almost instant dissatisfaction in your day to day life. What will you be physically doing most of your working day, and does this type of work feel like “flow” to you? Whether you will come home exhausted and drained, or enlivened and happy from doing work you love every day will largely depend on the awareness you bring to this question.

Does the business contribute to the greater good? Is it congruent with your concept of what you would like the world to be like? For example, a working day spent serving junk food if you are yourself a health and wellness proponent is likely to eventually result in deep levels of stress and tension. And in contrast, running a business that you feel has a higher purpose beyond simply making money can often provide you the resilience, purpose and energy you need to overcome obstacles and sticking points. The final consideration is one that you won’t often read in business books or see advertised by franchisors – and that is the idea that its important for you to feel like you are having FUN most days at work. This is about you being able to express your creative energy whilst doing something that is intrinsically satisfying to you, makes some sort of positive mark on the world, and allows you to have a laugh and a smile with your colleagues and customers on a regular basis. And if you can do this whilst making money along the way in your new franchise, you may just find your new boss turns out to be the best employer you have ever had.