Want to Own a Business? Look Inward First

More and more workers are at a crossroads

More and more workers are at a crossroads; they’re rethinking their careers and making the decision to follow their values to a more satisfying way of life. For many of them, starting or buying a business will be the choice that makes sense. The autonomy, the satisfaction of working for yourself, and the ability to control your own economic destiny are powerful motivators. And choosing a franchise is a great way to get the best of both worlds: an established business model with plenty of support and a proven model for success.

There are hundreds of options for franchise owners beyond the familiar food and services: pet sitting, candy making, anger rooms, swimming lessons, even crime scene cleanup. Buying a business is a life-changing event, and it should involve lots of conversation between you and your loved ones. But in addition to discussing the “what” of your business, you should also spend time on the “why.”

We start the client conversation with that most important question: why do you think business ownership is the right move for you right now? It’s the key to understanding what owning a business means to you, and what you’re expecting business ownership to be like. And it’s worth having a discussion to understand what your spouse or partner expects as well.

A business coach will work on getting to know your skills and experience, your strengths and weaknesses, and your family situation. We use an assessment designed to get to the essence of your work and leadership profile. Are you more of a coach – someone who loves hiring potential and nurturing talent? Are you a hunter who loves the close, moving from one sale to another and letting others handle details? How strongly do you feel about your business being sustainable or giving back to the community? The idea is to build a profile of how you think and work so he can start to match you to available franchises that would be a good fit.

Our assessment questions are designed to get to what makes work enjoyable and meaningful for you. Understanding your intrinsic motivation is a vital step in finding a good business match. It’s important to understand your drivers. Are you driven by recognition or prestige? Achievement? Solving tough problems? Security? Helping others? Building relationships? Knowing yourself is the key to knowing what business is right for you.

We also want to uncover what you’re working toward, rather than what you’re trying to avoid. One of the big mistakes we see is making long-term decisions to solve short-term pain. Disliking your boss is not a good reason to start your own business.

The information we gain about a client can open their minds to new possibilities. Our client profile allows us to present opportunities that the client wouldn’t have considered on their own. It’s a delicate and tricky conversation; a bit like asking them to try broccoli for the first time. “We only have to have one conversation about this; if you’re not interested, that’s okay. But this business model is a great fit for your profile, even if you might not have thought about it before.”

Aristotle said, “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” Finding a business that is a true fit for a client’s personality changes everything, and it makes the transition much less scary. We had a client whom he met when his insurance company employer was sold. He’d decided not to relocate (for the sixth time) to keep his job. He was an Ivy League MBA and had been in business for many years. He’s the only client we’ve ever had that didn’t ask a key question: How much money can I make?

When we finally asked him why that hadn’t come up in their conversations, the client replied, “It didn’t worry me. I knew that if I found a business that fit me, the money would come.”

That’s exactly right. That’s why we invest our time helping clients look inward before they venture out to start a business.