UNDERSTANDING AND MANAGING FEAR

COMMON FEARS

Fear can manifest itself in many ways. Here are a few of the more common types that people experience during franchise exploration.

FEAR OF FAILURE 

Most people go through life scared to take risks, since taking a risk increases the chance of failure. Instead, we stay stuck in unrewarding careers or jobs that don’t make us happy. Fear of failure can stop us in our tracks and fill our minds with worst-case scenarios. These irrational fears limit our ability to move forward and be the best version of ourselves. 

Fear of failure arises because humans tend toward negativity. 

FEAR OF CHANGE 

Most of us live in our comfort zones, doing what we have always done. Inertia keeps us in place. The reality, though, is that the magic happens outside our comfort zones, when we stretch our capabilities. As you proceed deeper into exploration and further from your comfort zone, discomfort grows. 

It is important to remind yourself that it is only through change that you will solve your problem. The status quo and being comfortable will not. Magic, growth, and prosperity happen when you venture outside your comfort zone! 

TALENT GAP FEAR 

Some people feel trepidation when they explore concepts that are dissimilar to their past experience. On its face this makes sense, since most traditional career paths hire for specific skills (e.g., engineering, operations, finance, or business development) in their specific industry (e.g., oil and gas, construction, medical, or insurance). 

Franchisors seek transferable skills and teach all the industry specific knowledge needed to flourish. It is important, however, to recognize your true knowledge or skill gaps, and avail yourself of the franchisor’s training and support. 

DEFINITIONAL FEAR

You are what you think you are. If you believe you are an employee, transitioning into business ownership will be difficult because of your self-limiting views. 

FEAR OF CHOOSING THE WRONG CONCEPT 

There are thousands of franchise concepts to choose from. That creates a paradox of choice. In life we want a lot of options, and yet the more choices we have, the harder it is to make decisions, because we think there may be a better one available. 

FEAR OF OPPORTUNITY COSTS 

When you choose a path, you are surrendering others. For example, if you leave behind a corporate career, you may wonder what would have happened if you stayed. 

Alternatively, if you are considering franchising as an investment, you will weigh it against alternatives such as the stock market or real estate. 

MANAGING FEAR

Generally, when we name a problem, it becomes easier to manage. I ask you for permission to name and discuss your fears. That way we pay homage to a rite of passage and normalize these emotions. The elephant is exposed, and you no longer have to feel like you are in it alone. We all are afraid! 

Okay. Now let’s discuss how to manage fear. 

LABEL FEAR 

Fear is irrational, non-fact-based, worst-case thinking. Focus on what is real. Mark Twain put it well when he said, “I have been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.” Don’t limit your life worrying about things that will not happen. 

As in all aspects of life, it is important to take reasonable and calculated chances, and franchising allows you to do that calculus. 

CHALLENGE THE STATUS QUO 

Commit to completing the franchise exploration process and making a fact-based decision. Nobody changes without the desire to change. There is a catalyst continuum that runs from exploration to action. Said differently, many people possess a catalyst strong enough to explore business ownership, but few have a strong enough commitment to act and launch a business. 

If you enter franchise exploration lacking a commitment to follow the process to its conclusion, you are wasting your time. In my experience, the people who succeed, whether they ultimately join a franchise or not, enter the process dispassionately and weigh the pros and cons. 

GET THE FACTS 

Do your research and analysis. Franchising makes that particularly easy, because the franchise discovery process with leading brands walks you through every aspect of the business. This allows you to focus on making fact-based decisions, a key component for managing fear. 

FRANCHISING REDUCES FAILURE 

Leading franchise brands provide you with proven, repeatable business models, training, support, economies of scale, and so many other resources to encourage your success. Follow the systems and processes and you provide yourself the opportunity to duplicate the results. In franchising, you are in business for yourself but not by yourself. 

DISCUSS YOUR FEARS 

When you vocalize your feelings, it helps to both normalize and manage them. Discuss how you are feeling and what you need to effectively manage your emotions. You are not in this alone! 

SEEK CLARIFICATION AND SUPPORT 

The best candidates and franchisees are the ones who ask the most questions. Asking good questions during exploration enables you to swap fears for facts. If you don’t understand a concept or are uncomfortable with how you perceive something, ask for clarification. You do not want to decide, or get scared, based on erroneous assumptions. 

REDEFINE YOURSELF 

Change involves a new self-definition and self-image. Change does not take effective hold without a fundamental redefining. Personally, running a marathon was on my bucket list. 

I did not enjoy my first marathon. The training was a chore. I defined myself as merely a guy who ran to achieve a goal. After the race, something strange happened. I missed running. I missed the physical and mental aspects of it. I began to view myself as a runner. 

Similarly, before I left the corporate world, I redefined myself as a business owner who was currently working for others—an intrapreneur. This self-definition helped me manage my transition out of Corporate America. 

Give yourself permission to see yourself as something different than what you have been. Start thinking about business ownership through the eyes of a business owner and not those of an employee. 

DO NOT OVERWEIGHT THE OPPORTUNITY COSTS 

Corporate America no longer represents the lifetime contract it once did, and many of its advantages have vanished. In fact, layoffs are commonplace, benefits are being reduced, and workplaces are often toxic. 

Why does this matter? Because when you investigate the world of business ownership, it is important to understand that its rewards continue to grow, and the opportunity costs of Corporate America shrink. Simply, you are probably giving up a lot less than you fear! 

BE COMFORTABLE WITH DISCOMFORT 

Leaving your comfort zone is uncomfortable, and during franchise exploration and launch you will be out of your comfort zone. You cannot become your best self unless you change. 

Your comfort zone defines your limitations. Success and greatness come when you grow beyond your comfort zone. 

BELIEVE IN YOURSELF 

The more confidence you have in yourself, the less fear will dictate your actions. If you are reading this, you are likely smart, talented, and have a track record of achievement. Why would it suddenly be different when you join a franchise? It will not be. Your level of achievement in a franchise will be high. 

FOCUS ON YOURSELF 

You will hear anecdotes about people becoming fabulously successful or losing everything through franchising. Facts matter; stories do not. Focus on what you can accomplish in a particular franchise that matches your skills, talents, motivations, and goals. 

DON’T LOOK FOR A NO COMPANY 

It is rare to ever be 100% certain about anything in life, so don’t use that as an excuse. Few people ever are completely comfortable with any major decision. There will always be variables and unknowns. When you are 80% certain, make a decision. Success in life is predicated on taking reasonable and calculated risks. Look for reasons to say yes!

Again, fear is normal. I don’t know any business owners who did not experience fear and anxiety when launching their businesses. What is important is not avoiding fear but rather managing it. 

I will leave you with this: People who overcome the fear barrier and join franchises seldom regret their decision; people who succumb to fear always do! 

The Perfect Franchise

The Perfect Franchise is the one book you need to read if you are considering franchising.

Mark Schnurman is one of America’s top Franchise Consultants, and the founder of The Perfect Franchise. Mark outlines a clear process for finding the perfect franchise.

In straightforward language, he explains how to:

  • Decide whether franchising is right for you;
  • Determine which franchise will optimize your chances of success;
  • Conduct due diligence;
  • Fund your franchise investment;
  • Live the life you dream about.

If you want to be your own boss, this is the book for you!