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Buying A Franchise? Start Looking Close to Home

Congratulations on deciding to go into business – a franchised business. Before you spend too much time window-shopping, looking for that “perfect” idea that you’ll know when you see it, it will pay dividends to look deep inside before you look for available franchises outside.

Skills and Abilities

It’s important to know what you’re really good at, and what you suck at, before you start identifying franchises that you like the smell of.  Franchise expert Gary Prenevost once told an audience at a Toronto Franchise Show that just because you like ice cream doesn’t mean you should go into the ice cream business.  Why?  An ice cream shoppe will employ part-time students, and your main role as franchisor may very well end up being managing and scheduling teenagers. Nothing to do with ice cream at all!

Make a list of all the things you’re good at.  All of them. Be honest. Then step back, and put a star beside the 5 – 10 things you enjoy best.  Get really familiar with this list, and check it against all the future possible franchises you look at as you search for the right fit.

If this doesn’t clarify a few things for you, you can try making a second list. Put down everything you absolutely detest doing – those things you avoid like the plague – and get really familiar with this list too.  If you’re unhappy in your corporate job because there’s too much mindless paperwork, then you’re not going to be happy in your new franchise if it involves creating or completing reams of paper.


Are you a night-owl or early riser? Extremely physically active or more sedate? There’s a lot more to your determining your individual lifestyle, but answering these two questions can tell you what type of franchise will be a good fit, and what type to avoid.  If you’re a night-owl, for example, you probably won’t do well in a bakery where all the creation happens pre-dawn.  If you’re a vegan, you likely wouldn’t be fulfilled owning a pizza delivery franchise.


Do you like meeting new people, or would you prefer to stick to your small group of friends? Are you strong-minded, or open to new arguments that might change the way you see the world? Do you like to delve into data detail, or are you a blue-sky thinker?  If you need help honing in on your personality and character traits, these resources can help:

Psychometrics is the Canadian agent for Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, or MBTI, an assessment of personality type.  The Keirsey Personality Sorter can be done online in about ten minutes, for free.

Finding a franchise that matches your personality is an important predictor of your future success with that franchise.


What are your short-, medium-, and long-term goals? Do you want a business that will allow you to take several weeks away every winter?  How much money do your financial goals require you to make, and how quickly?  Are you looking for a legacy business, something that you can build and then leave to your children and grandchildren?  Matching up your personal, financial, lifestyle and personal goals with the type of franchise you explore in advance will help you avoid failure and disappointment down the road.

It might be counter-intuitive to you, but this self-awareness review is one of the first things you should do – not the last – when you’re exploring a world in which you own a franchise.  When you’re ready to move on, check out 9 Rules for Finding a Franchise.

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