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Franchise concept

By Josh Cohen

When you buy a franchise, you’re not starting a business from scratch, but you still have work to do. Many new franchisees underestimate what it takes to succeed—they don’t realize there’s more to franchising than just picking a brand and opening a new location. Becoming a new franchisee is an uphill climb that requires a lot of time and effort.

Think of yourself as a mountain climber. You have tools like ropes, a pickax, and a harness, but now you need to start climbing. Success is waiting at the top and you just need to get there.

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It’s much easier to navigate your route if you know what you’re in for. That way you can prepare ahead of time and sidestep these challenges with ease when they rear their ugly head.

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Challenge #1: Building the brand

Joining a franchise isn’t a walk in the park. But even though it’s tough, it’s also exciting. You get to take an established brand and blaze a trail into uncharted territory. Your personal efforts are helping the brand find a new audience—and that alone should build your confidence and make you proud.

You’re building something with the support of a larger, experienced team and you’ll be wearing different hats every day. This work requires a hands-on approach, especially during the early stages.

Be prepared to invest a lot of personal determination, long hours, and patience. If you’re not ready for this investment, you might want to bow out. But if these requirements sound more like motivators than roadblocks, then you’re going to get a lot of value out of your franchisee role.

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You’ll be tempted to fine-tune everything inside your business, but don’t get off track. This will prevent you from scaling the brand. Before committing to a marketing decision, ask yourself if it helps build the brand or not. You need to fill each day, week, and month with actions that create brand awareness and drive revenue.

If you’re unsure of where to start, here are a few tactics you can use to build your franchise and increase brand awareness in the market:

  • Use the franchisor’s existing sales and marketing tools.
  • Do guerilla marketing activities to generate brand awareness.
  • Network with fellow business owners.
  • Show appreciation to your customers.
  • Seek out referral partners.
  • Use paid advertising to support your efforts.

The biggest takeaway is to always work on your business. Don’t get stuck working in your business.

Challenge #2: Managing employees effectively

You could try to do everything yourself, but that would waste time and lead to burnout. Get help from trusted employees instead of taking it all on solo—but that’s easier said than done. The challenge here is to hire the right people to work in your franchise.

You don’t have the luxury of an HR department to hire and train new employees, but this lets you vet potential employees based on what your business needs. You have to build a team (and fast), but it doesn’t mean hiring anyone just based on credentials. Look for people who are independent self-starters that crave responsibility. These people will be your pillars as you grow. Remind yourself that you’re only as strong as your weakest link—it will keep your franchise afloat.

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