Franchise and small business owners can face hidden obstacles when starting out on their own. First-time entrepreneurs might underestimate the challenges facing them or get distracted by the minutiae of day-to-day office functions.
The value and importance of time management is a more subtle but, very often, major obstacle that rears its ugly head when a new entrepreneur ventures out on their own. When you are the chief cook and bottle washer in a new small business, wearing many or nearly all of the hats, it tests your time management skills. How entrepreneurs manage their time can make the difference between success or failure — as it will correlate exactly to how much of their time produces revenue.
In their rush to hire workers, new franchise owners also forget about the importance of building a team that mirrors the culture, service levels and commitment that they want in place from Day One. Often the new entrepreneur is over-focused on just filling roles and doesn’t take the added time to find the very best person for each of the roles in their new organization.
Also, coming out of the corporate America experience, new entrepreneurs can be challenged by a lack of support that they took for granted. They are suddenly responsible for the out-of-sight, out-of-mind activities such as ordering office supplies, setting up phone systems and handling technology problems, that they once relied upon other departments to do.
Recognizing and Overcoming Obstacles
The excitement of the start-up makes obstacles hard to recognize. The adrenaline rush of being their own boss and finally being able to do things their way can distract new entrepreneurs. It’s easy ignore the true impact of how they are using their time to grow their new business.
The busy nature of setting up a new business can mask actual productivity because the new owner feels like she or he is so busy. But does busy equal productive?
There are some rules that new entrepreneurs should incorporate into their planning process to guide their daily business activities:
- Over-plan: Entrepreneurs really cannot plan too much when starting a new business.
- Allocate extra time to get core items in place.
- Allocate added working capital to have in reserve just in case the start-up ramps up more slowly than planned.
- Ensure a solid, multi-scenario business plan is complete before opening the business.
- Build in as much flexibility in every area of the business as possible —and keep adding flexibility as you grow.
- Become a student of your industry. Never stop learning and wanting to learn more about your industry. Identify macro- and micro-trends that drive the need for your services or products.
- Be uber-vigilant about how you spend your time and how much is spent in direct, revenue-producing activities that drive results.
This is one area where being part of a successful, support-focused franchise system can make a huge difference to give the new entrepreneur added guidance, support and resources to get out of the gate strong.
If a new entrepreneur is not part of a successful franchise system and truly going it alone, they need the added discipline each hour and day to ask themselves if their activities are producing revenue. In addition, finding a mentor who has been through the same experiences can help the new entrepreneur get needed feedback to make necessary course corrections.
Don’t hesitate to ask for advice. Find another entrepreneur and learn from their experience — from what they did right and what they did wrong. This is something a successful franchise system provides to the new owner automatically.
Once a new franchise or small business owner is aware of the invisible challenges, they can solve them. Be attentive and focus on building a great team while emphasizing revenue-producing results.