Often people seeking a franchise business look for something similar to what they’ve been doing. You’ve got experience with accounting so you choose a tax preparation franchise, you know about cars so you pick a muffler outfit, or you love dogs so you choose a pet grooming franchise.
There’s nothing wrong with following your bliss. But there’s another way to think about what you might be good at.
After all, if you love tinkering with cars, owning a muffler shop might actually mean that you spend all your work time making appointments and delegating, and none of it tinkering with cars. Your mobile groomers might spend their days with furry pooches while you do paperwork. If the idea of working with cars or dogs will make you happy even if your actual work is growing the business, or your accounting expertise will make you a better choice for a tax preparation, then you may be completely satisfied.
But think first about the skills you have.
Sit down with your resume and list the things you’ve actually done in your career. Add things you’ve done as a volunteer or in your free time. Richard Bolles, in his bestselling What Color Is Your Parachute series, suggested writing these things out in sentences like these:
I know I can __________ because I’ve __________.
So you might have a list that says things like, “I know I can drive a van because I drove the church van to camp last year” and “I know I can work with details because I managed lots of details as a realtor.”
Once you’ve identified your skills, divide that list into the things you can do and love to do — and the things you do well but with less pleasure. Ask yourself whether you would do a task if you weren’t paid for it, whether you would wake up happy to do a task all day, or whether knowing that would be the shape of your day would make you feel stressed.
This is the point at which you might find that you’re very experienced at managing people, but you’ve never really enjoyed it. Or that you love selling services more than actually providing them.
With a list of things you know you can do and will enjoy doing, you’re ready to map those transferable skills to the skills needed for a given franchise.
Remember, a franchise business opportunity involves training, so you don’t have to be very specific. For example, if you’re good at organizing information, you don’t have to worry about being good at organizing information for home health care. If you know you can learn and use software, you don’t have to know how to use the specific software for a particular franchise.
Chances are, this process will open your eyes to many more opportunities than you had at first thought of. Don’t rush the process, though — you will probably remember more things you’ve done over time, and you’ll also learn about more transferable skills as you research more franchises. Keep a running list for yourself and use it throughout your decision making process.