Labor Day has passed, but there’s never a wrong time to reflect on all the hard work you do as an employee. You’ve worked tirelessly to get to where you are today, and you’ve learned a lot along the way. You know all about working for someone -- but what do you know about working for yourself? The answer may surprise you.
Former employees actually make great business owners. They know what it takes to operate a business from the inside and have already acquired many of the traits of a successful entrepreneur. As a franchise coach, I know how much courage it takes to make that switch from employee to business owner. But going into business for yourself can be the most rewarding experience -- if you are ready to take on the challenge.
Here are some things to consider when you're going from employee to business owner:
1. Why do former employees make such great franchise owners?
Successful corporate employees know how to lead a team while also respecting the organization for whom they work. They have well-developed core business skills such as sales, marketing, finance, leadership and people management. All of these skills are essential as a business owner, and corporate employees have already learned many of them. Former employees can appreciate the structure of a quality franchise system and know what it takes to make their franchise a success.
2. Do you have the entrepreneurial spirit?
How can you know for sure if franchising is the right choice for you? While there is no one correct answer to that question, there are certain qualities a person must have to be successful in franchising:
- You are willing to lead. If needed, you need to be willing to take charge of a situation and make things happen. At the same time, you must be willing to empower your employees.
- You are financially stable. Every successful entrepreneur knows how to manage cash flow. They know both their income and expenses and work hard to make sure that they are in balance.
- You are self-motivated. You don’t need someone telling you what to do every day -- you go out and do it for yourself.
- You are comfortable taking measured risks. You are not a gambler but you do understand that careful, measured risk taking is a part of the process. You are not afraid to jump outside your comfort zone.
- You understand that you must work for what you want. Opportunities won’t always be handed to you. You have to go out and make them happen.
3. How can you shed that employee mentality and think like a business owner after working for a boss for so long?
In order to be a business owner you need to:
- Shed your entitlement mentality. The buck stops with you. You must take personal responsibility for everything that happens in your life.
- Live a purposeful life. You must know where you are going and why it is important. You must also be willing to share this with those around you so they will buy in to your vision.
- Accept that some things will not go well. There will be setbacks and challenges. You must believe in yourself enough to make it through the dark days of self doubt.
- Understand that your most precious resource is time. Nope, it's not money like you might have thought. Patience isn’t always a virtue. When you see an opportunity, you must take advantage -- don’t wait.
- Be curious. Be a great listener and be willing to change based on new information.
4. You must be prepared for the unexpected.
While working as a corporate employee will certainly provide you with the skills needed to become a business owner, working for someone else and being your own boss are two completely different worlds. There are a few things that come as a surprise to new business owners:
- You will have to do it all. There is no longer a department for everything. You get to learn and do everything yourself.
- The franchisor does not run your business for you. You do!
- There will be bumps in the road. A successful business owner will make them a learning opportunity and move on.
Do you think you’re ready to take the next step and become a business owner? You can find topics like these and more discussed in my book, The Educated Franchisee. You’ve labored for someone else long enough. It’s time to use what you’ve learned as an employee to finally be your own boss.