20 Years and 20 Tips for Successful Business Ownership
January 23, 2019
by Leslie Kuban
February marks the 20-year anniversary of the FranNet franchise consulting business I started with my father in 1999. Where has the time gone? As the number of individuals and families we’ve helped into business ownership approaches the 500
mark, I find myself reflective on the lessons learned.
Franchise business ownership has enabled me to reap the fruits of our labor while achieving my goals, controlling my schedule and enjoying life on
my terms.What’s most energizing about a career in franchise consulting is helping other new entrepreneurs realize those same rewards and many more.
In these two decades, I’ve learned there is no quick and easy way to grow your own business, but that never stops folks from asking me for tips and tricks to successful franchise ownership.
As I celebrate this 20-year milestone, I offer these 20 tips:
Toss Out Preconceived Notions
1. Franchising is SO much more than just French Fries
. In fact, that’s the title of the business book
I co-authored in 2017 to highlight the vast opportunities in franchising outside of fast food.
2. You’re NOT too old, or too young. When I took over my first franchise, I was fresh out of college and later sold that business successfully,
and I’ve helped dozens of folks well beyond retirement age invest in a franchise as an encore career. Age is just a number.
3. Personal biases often mean opportunities missed. Set aside personal bias when evaluating business opportunities so you can clearly
assess what the opportunity can do for you.
4. Franchises don’t have to cost a fortune. In fact, 30% of the franchises available can be capitalized for under $150K.
5. Don’t assume a franchise resale is a failing business.
In reality, there are plenty of perfectly valid reasons
an owner would choose to sell a well run, profitable business.
6. Recession resistance IS possible. Those who are year after year fearful of an impending recession will find recession resistant businesses
in franchising that have shown they can not only survive but thrive in different economic conditions.
7. There is NO such thing as NO competition. Franchising works where there is a known, high demand for the product or service. The key
is understanding and using the tools and resources within the franchise system allowing you to have a thriving business in a competitive space.
Believe in Yourself Enough to Try Something New
8. No prior experience is required. What’s most surprising, especially for most transitioning corporate types, is that most franchise
owners select businesses in entirely new industries. It’s those valued transferable skills that make for successful business owners.
9. Divorce Your Corporate Identity.
If you’ve spent your entire career in corporate life, it’s not an over-exaggeration to say the journey
of moving to a business ownership lifestyle involves a rebirth of personal identity
10. Decisions feel less risky the more knowledge one gains
. Risk is a perception that is often mitigated through the accumulation of knowledge.
It’s the fear of the unknown that feels like such risky business
11. Check your ego at the door. Franchises have systems and processes to follow. Some call it a recipe for success. Where some franchisees
struggle is in thinking they know a better way and they stop following the proven success formula. Big mistake.
12. Believe in yourself.
It comes down to being aware of the easy excuses, not allowing them to rob you of your potential, accepting that
you’ll be learning and course correcting as you go, and looking forward to the challenge. Self-belief
is crucial in achieving your entrepreneurial potential.
Plan to Plan Ahead
13. Most business owners pre-determine their success before the doors are even open. When businesses fail, it’s often because the owner
was not clear on what it takes to run the business before investing.
14. It’s never too early to meet with a funding specialist. Whether you decide to invest in your own business in the short or long term,
it’s never too early to get your arms around the variety of funding options available to you. Armed with this information, you can and will feel more
comfortable if and when you decide to move forward.
15. Grow to appreciate paying royalties. No one ever likes paying royalties, so it’s important to understand all that you’re getting in
return. Most of the business systems you would need as an independent business are taken care of by this pesky monthly payment. I’ve found it to be
well worth it in time and money savings.
16. Hire help earlier rather than later. When I finally decided to hire help to work in my business, so I could work on my business, I
found myself wishing I had done it sooner. Most of my clients agree.
Family Ties and Your Franchise
17. If you have a family and you have a business – you have a family business. Owning your own business is life-changing in many ways,
so it will be an adjustment for your family tool. Involve them early in your exploration and walk with them on the journey. You all will be glad you
did and closer for the experience.
18. Your fellow franchisees will become some of your best friends. Don’t fear isolation or the loss of a company culture if you choose
entrepreneurship. Your fellow franchisees will become your teammates, trusted colleagues and even friends.
19. Two ships to avoid – a sinking ship and a partnership. Nothing will keep you up at night more than worrying about a business partner’s
decisions and behavior. I highly recommend (especially for first-time business owners) that you keep it in the family.
20. Success is defined differently for different people. My definition of success in my business may be very different from yours and
that’s perfectly okay. What’s most important is to get clear on your definition of success so you can pursue it with passion, focus and family support.
At the end of the day, there truly is no perfect business. There is only the perfect business for you. I’d love to help you find it. It is with a humble
heart that I thank all those who have traveled this journey with me and I look forward to the next 20 years!
Leslie Kuban is a franchise industry expert, CFE (Certified Franchise Executive) and Market President of FranNet in Atlanta; a locally
owned and operated franchise consulting firm. Leslie’s personal experience as a multi-brand franchise owner provides a unique perspective to help
her clients assess their real opportunities, risks and timing to make sound decisions.
Leslie is a guest lecturer for the MBA and EMBA programs at Emory University and Kennesaw State University and a founding member of the Georgia State
University Franchise Entrepreneurship Advisory Board.
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