Is determination more important than experience for franchisees

25/06/2018 08:00 | Start a business

Is determination more important than experience ?

Itís very common to hear about franchisees that have walked away from a seemingly ideal franchise opportunity because they feel as though they arenít experienced enough for the role. This is a shame, as experience isn't nearly as necessary as it is often made out to be. Here, we take a look at whether determination and many other personal qualities are more important to the role of franchisee than any amount of industry experience.

Is experience necessary?

Many people believe that itís necessary to have experience in a chosen sector before you can manage a franchise in that particular industry. Though there are exceptions, this is mostly untrue. The vast majority of franchisors arenít looking specifically for franchisees with experience in the industry in which they work Ė although it doesn't harm to have some Ė and many make a point of saying that experience doesnít matter at all. Of course, there are some industries in which knowledge will be of great use but, for the most part, it isnít a priority. One of the principal reasons for this is the fact that, as a franchisee, you'll require a different skill set to succeed.

Experience in what?

Though experience in the health and wellbeing sector would be helpful if you want to open up a fitness franchise and experience as a waiter may be useful if youíre starting up a food franchise, this type of experience doesnít necessarily endow you with the skills required to be a franchisee. Franchisees are responsible for running the franchise unit as a whole. They need excellent management, communication, and business skills, as well as an understanding of how to market a company and how to manage its finances. While many of the skills required will be taught during the initial training period, this type of experience is likely to be far more useful than industry-specific expertise.

Some franchises will require you to demonstrate some basic business knowledge, but itís very rare for franchises to demand any qualification or formal training. In fact, franchisees will often prefer a blank slate with other attractive qualities, to someone who has picked up a lot of bad habits or is overconfident in their expertise.

Whatís more important than experience?

Rather than looking for industry-specific experience, most franchisors will be searching for other traits. Chief amongst these are drive, determination, and a desire to succeed. However, franchisors will also be keen to see that you want to work as part of a team and that youíre committed to the franchise, as well as your self-interest. Passion is also essential. Without passion, franchisees can find it very hard to motivate themselves to work the long hours that are typical of the initial franchise opening period. Passion is what will keep you going when the times are tough, and it's also the quality that will ensure you donít give up if it doesnít all go to plan at first.

The franchisor/franchisee relationship

Alongside passion, determination, drive, and desire, franchisees also need to ensure that theyíre a suitable match for the franchisor. The relationship between the two parties is incredibly important and needs to be nurtured if itís to blossom into an enjoyable and productive long-term partnership. In most instances, youíll both get a good feel for one another during the first meet. However, itís also a good idea to look for second opinions, even if you like the franchisor immediately. Talk to existing franchisees and ask them about their relationship with the franchisor, itíll give you a good idea of what to expect and will either affirm or disprove your initial gut instinct.

Franchisors will invest in you

Franchisors understand that most successful franchises thrive because theyíve put the right franchisee in charge of it. They know how important selecting a good partner is and have plenty of practice doing so. Franchisors also recognise the fact they're going to have to invest a fair bit of money in you, to train you to the required standard. Consequently, they want a franchisee who is loyal, dedicated, and easy to work with. While they can teach you business fundamentals and marketing tactics, they canít teach you determination and drive. They want to invest in an individual who is going to stay with them for the long term, enjoy the role, and who will take hold of the franchise business opportunity and not let go until itís an unqualified success. While previous experience of an industry may give you a head-start over the competition, it wonít give you the drive and motivation to take it to the very end.

Look for franchises with learning opportunities

Finally, if you're concerned about your relative lack of experience and want to develop your skills, look for franchises with lots of learning opportunities. A large number of franchises now hold annual conferences, workshops, and seminars, while also attending expos and franchise fairs across the country. These networking and educational events are a fantastic opportunity to learn a little and enhance your abilities. Whether it's a training tutorial on how to draft a franchise business plan or a conference on technological developments in the industry, thereís typically a wide array of learning opportunities to take advantage of. When you meet with a franchisor for the first time, ask what interest they take in your personal development and what training and learning opportunities are available.


In a sense, previous industry experience is one of the least critical characteristics franchisors look for in franchisees. While experience can be useful, franchisors usually prefer to see franchisees demonstrate an intense passion for the industry and a willingness to learn. Drive, determination, and ambition are all appreciated characteristics, too. Essentially, franchisors want a franchisee that they can shape and mould. While you can teach anyone necessary skills, it's not so easy to instil a capacity for self-motivation and determination in people. Consequently, experience is typically perceived to be less important than many other qualities.

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