By: Shawn Saraga

It’s important to ask yourself this critical question: “What is more important to me: establishing a more stable business, or doing things my own way?” Traditionally, independent business owners are interested in doing things their own way.  This obviously works for thousands of entrepreneurs across the country; however, the failure rate is also tremendously high. Most new entrepreneurs have no way of foreseeing the pitfalls and challenges of starting a business until they are neck deep in them and struggling to stay afloat.

When you join a franchise, you work with a franchisor to build a successful business in a structured system. Franchisees invest their money into a franchise system to learn and receive the assistance of an experienced business owner, who guides them through the steps of building a successful company. There is no replacement for this type of training, and it is the cornerstone of the successful franchising business model.

Once you’ve decided to go the franchise route, there’s another important question to ask: How can I determine if a franchise is the right fit for me?

When you do your due diligence and meet with a franchisor that you think might be the right fit for you, it’s important to ask these three questions:

  1. How much has your training program changed over the last five years, and why?
  2. What makes every franchisee’s performance different?
  3. How many of your franchisees have reinvested to become multi-unit owners?

As you consider the response to the first question, it’s important to remember that as a franchisee, you should feel like you’re in business for yourself, but not in business alone. Be mindful of franchisors that are constantly changing the training program. If the franchisor is re-inventing the wheel on training with every store opening, it’s likely that they haven’t discovered their own formula for success yet. Look for franchisors that have established training practices that have been proven to succeed.

With the second question in mind, understanding what makes different franchisees perform differently can be a very difficult concept to grasp. Someone who isn’t very friendly likely shouldn’t be at the front counter of their business, despite their belief that they are the best person for the job. How they interact with the franchisor, the rules, and the system to follow will be impactful in determining their success. Someone who is going through a personal change could have major issues in their business if they get distracted and can’t give the business the attention it needs. You may get a variety of answers to this question, and it can open your eyes to the different pitfalls and opportunities that lay ahead.

Finally, the third answer is critical, because finding out how many franchisees reinvested in the system is the ultimate tell-tale sign of a successful system. People don’t throw good money after bad – they keep reinvesting in what makes them happy. You can find your own path to success on this journey; the path most taken is likely the best one to follow.


Shawn Saraga
Senior Vice President
SRS Canada



Adapted from the September/October issue of FranchiseCanada. Check out the current issue of FranchiseCanada, on newsstands now, or you can order your subscription online or by calling 1-800-665-4232 ext. 224.