Stepping out of your comfort zone and into a franchise business
Stephen Spitz | Director | Xpresso Delight
Are you ready to change? If you have never been in business for yourself you are going to need to be prepared to change and to adopt new behavioural patterns that can make you more successful in a franchise business.
We caught up with Xpresso Delight Co-Founder and Director Stephen Spitz, to get his thoughts on how prospective franchisees can better prepare themselves to achieve success in a franchise business. Stephen has been on a lifelong quest to adapt, change, and grow, whether it be in his business life -growing Xpresso Delight to over 180 franchisees throughout Australia, New Zealand and now in America, or his private life as a keen sportsman, husband and father of two sons and passing on his knowledge to them.
The key to changing is to understand where you are at right now. Take the time to understand yourself, your strengths and weaknesses. Too often ignored, self-reflection is an important business skill which is worthwhile to develop. A simple way to begin is to jot down on a piece of paper all the areas in work and in life outside of work in which you are strong, as well as those areas where you have opportunity for improvement. Then take this list to trusted colleagues and friends and get some honest feedback. Also ask them if they had five words to describe you what they would say.
Once you understand where you are at, you can start to go out and look at franchise systems that will either support you in the areas you are weak and allow you to really leverage your strengths, or look for a franchise business that will support you and really encourage you to grow and turn your weaknesses into strengths. If you decide to proceed down the latter path and decide to make significant changes in your behaviour you must be prepared to step out of your comfort zone.
"The key to changing is to understand where you are at right now. Take the time to understand yourself, your strengths and weaknesses. Too often ignored, self-reflection is an important business skill which is worthwhile to develop."
Typically we all live our lives in three comfort zones, which become part of who and what we are. “Money comfort” relates to how much money we are earning or have saved over time. “Educational comfort” refers to our knowledge and skill levels in a particular field. “Time comfort” relates to how much time we have available for work, friends, family and hobbies
Get a sense of what your comfort levels are before buying a franchise business so that you can understand how you will react when you are asked to step out of your comfort zone - whether that be learning and honing a new skill, being encouraged to work an extra hour a week in a particular area of your business, or determining what you would do with more money once all of your current needs are satisfied. By planning ahead and planting the seeds of how you will react you have a much greater chance of calmly stretching yourself to new heights when challenges arise.
If you are ready to step out of your comfort zone, then look for franchisors that will take the time to understand your strengths and weaknesses and help support you as you expand your comfort zones. Ask prospective franchisors the following questions:
- What mentoring programs are available?
A mentor with prior experience in your business will have "been there, done that" when it comes to dealing with issues unique to your system, including how the franchise business might impact your comfort zones. Anybody who lacks significant prior business experience will benefit from a formal mentoring program.
- How will you support me when I am being taken out of my comfort zone?
Well organised training programs will prove indispensable as you attempt to tackle new issues relating to marketing, human resources, finances and other essential tasks associated with running a business. Having access to educational resources will help you to develop new knowledge and skills in these areas.
- Will you be available when I feel that the challenge is too great?
Even experienced franchisees need group office support during those times when the odds appear discouraging. Franchise business systems differ in the degree to which they are responsive to their franchisees’ concerns. Does the franchise system you are considering have specific contacts and communications policies in place for supporting franchisees when the going gets tough? Can you expect a quick response to your enquiries regarding a wide range of potential business issues, or are you likely to be left on your own without individualised attention from the group office?
Many successful franchise business owners have found that stepping out of their comfort zone was the first step to finding financial and personal success. Just make sure that you find the right franchise system to support you in the endeavour.
I wish you well in making this journey!