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Taking the Leap Into Franchising By Robert Tunmire, Executive Vice President, The Dwyer Group® Sthrough a qualification process, read lengthyo, you’ve done your due diligence. You’vedecided to open a franchise and have settledon an industry and a franchisor. You’ve gone legal documents, met with company representatives, and have learned as much as possible about the brand you will represent. Now, you’re standing on the edge of a cliff, placing your personal savings and reputation on the line. Do you take the leap? At some point, every individual reaches a point of introspection in his or her career, whether working for a corporation, as a contractor, or as a business owner. . PHOTOS They ask, Is this taking me where I want to go? For those who can only answer with a resounding No, the logical next step is often, I must do something different. For many, the solution is franchise ownership. However, not all of those who start down that road reach their asking ‘Please remind me why I’m here,’” said Grand Opening. Some will justify that they are content enough with Hooper. “However, the franchise system support is their current career, and they step back from the precipice. They very, very good. If I hit bottom all by myself, who would help me?” normalize their current situation and stay in their comfort zone. If you find yourself wavering at the edge, consider this counsel as you Know why you’re doing it make your decision. In my 36 years in franchising, the most successful franchise owners that I’ve seen all share one characteristic: they have very clearly Invest in yourself defined personal goals. Business ownership is not for everyone and There’s a saying that if you’re not willing to risk what you’ve got, not for the faint of heart. If you’re not confident in who you are and then you might as well keep it, because it’s all you’ll ever have. For what your goals are, it will be difficult to stay focused when obstacles Cary Hooper, owner of Glass Doctor® of Southwest Idaho, working arise in business. for 17 years repairing auto glass chips wasn’t enough. “I had created a great job,” he said. “I employed one other person, and as long as Work on your business, not in it I showed up, it was a good job. However, what I didn’t have was a “When I agreed to open my franchise, I was worried because my business to sell after investing 17 years of my life. Something had background was in auto chips, but I didn’t know how to install to change, I didn’t want another 17 years to pass by without having windshields or mirrors,” explained Hooper. I tell franchisees who something to show.” Hooper’s leap of faith paid off— his business have similar fears that I would rather them not know how to do those continues to grow after 12 years. things, so that they can learn the business management side properly. Conquer fear, or it will conquer you One reason that business owners falter is that they don’t jump in In life, fear can keep you from many things, but it can also be a with both feet. Don’t be fooled into thinking that the franchise will great motivator. In 1975, at the age of 17, I quit high school and drove automatically take off once the sign goes up. If you’re not willing to up to Lubbock, Texas with only my van, tools, and $500 to open be a true owner-operator, then your business won’t succeed. With a Rainbow International® Carpet Dyeing & Cleaning franchise. the support of a network of fellow franchisees and mentors to train As a young franchisee I followed the franchise system to the letter you, you won’t be alone when you leap. because I was terrified of failure. It served me well, and I eventually owned four franchises. Robert Tunmire began his career in franchising at age 17 and has over 36 years of experience training and mentoring new franchisees for Be Patient The Dwyer Group, a holding company of seven franchise businesses, The pain of change is never overcome until the benefits are each selling and supporting a different franchise under the following realized later down the road. When Hooper opened his Glass Doctor service marks: Aire Serv®, Glass Doctor®, The Grounds Guys™, Mr. franchise in November 1999, the transition was far from simple. Appliance®, Mr. Electric®, Mr. Rooter® (Drain Doctor in the UK “There were some days where I would call my franchise consultant, and Portugal), and Rainbow International® www.OpportunityWorld.com Opportunity World • March-April 2012 57


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