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Are you ready to take out a franchise?

The 10 most important characteristics of a franchisee, and four pitfalls to avoid
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<>Now is the perfect time to take out a franchise, says Bing Limjoco, chair of the Philippine Franchise Association (PFA), the largest franchise association in the country.

She says that because it doesn't require a very large investment, going into a franchised business is one quick way to increase your earnings during these times of economic hardship. And since a successful franchised concept is time-tested and proven, you can start a franchised business with much less risk than starting an entirely new business from scratch. "There are systems in place in a franchised business to ensure that your operations are always running at an optimum level," she adds.

But Limjoco cautions that before taking the plunge, would-be franchisees should first go over a checklist of important self-assessment criteria for franchisees and of the common pitfalls to be avoided when doing the business.

She says that the 10 most important characteristics a franchisee must have are as follows:
  1. Eagerness to learn
  2. Willingness to work long hours
  3. Possession of people skills
  4. High resistance to stress
  5. The ability to take directions
  6. Possession of business skills
  7. Having some money in reserve
  8. Willingness to take the risk
  9. Awareness of the age factor
  10. Must be a good salesman
The she lists down four common attitudinal pitfalls that a franchisee must avoid when doing the business:
  • "If I own a franchise, I don't have to work anymore." On the contrary, says Limjoco, the franchisee must work doubly hard to sustain the business. "The only way you can learn about the business is by working in it," she explains. "It is then that you will know its nuances and learn how to run it even when blindfolded. In fact, you should be able to run it even if it's just you working."
  • "I can do better than the franchisor." One of the main reasons for getting a franchise is to be able to profitably run a proven business model that works. For this reason, tweaking the franchised business too much might prove counterproductive in the long run. Explains Limjoco: "Some people think they know more about the business than the franchiser. While it's true that the franchisee's inputs can help, the franchiser issues an operations manual for the express purpose of systematizing everything. It pays to follow it because it has proved successful in the past."
  • "I can make my store look nicer." The look and feel of any establishment is part of brand-building, so it's essential that all franchised outlets look the same. Unilaterally changing the color schemes and making other alterations just might have a negative effect on customer perception. Explains Limjoco: "As much as possible, outlets are supposed to be uniform because they convey the message of the brand. Altering the look of a franchised outlet might make it less or even unrecognizable, to the detriment of the franchisee and the mother company."
  • "I disagree with the franchiser's vision." While you may disagree with some of the directions the franchiser gives you, it is not prudent to take matters into your own hands and implement systems or changes without consulting the mother company, and vice versa. "Remember, a franchise is a partnership like a marriage, and it's one where communication is very important," says Limjoco. "If you find yourself not totally sold anymore on the concept and systems, then you should consider not renewing your franchise after it lapses. It's better to cut clean than continue working on something you don't believe in anymore."

Contact details:
Philippine Franchise Association
Unit 701, One Magnificent Mile (OMM-Citra) San Miguel Avenue, Ortigas Center, Pasig City
Telephone: (02) 687-0365 to 67

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