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Want to franchise? First you have to break free.

Before most business owners can even think about franchising their current business, they need to do some soul-searching and face reality. They need to make sure they are not prisoners to their current business. If they are trapped by or micro-managing what they have now, they will NOT be able to develop and manage a national franchise system.

Let’s examine the basic causes of business owner bondage and imprisonment. What are the common traps?

How do the chains get tighter and tighter? Specifically, there are five common traps many owners struggle with: (1) technical tendencies, (2) busyness (3) ineffective leadership and delegation, (4) inadequate or missing business systems, and (5) growing business complexities.

1) Technical Tendencies:

Habits determine destiny. Too many entrepreneurs are former technicians now masquerading as owners. They think they are entrepreneurs, but they don’t act that way. As once accomplished technicians, they have a hard time letting go of such expertise and familiarity. They remain trapped in a technical comfort zone, mindset and work approach. Sadly, such technical expertise is insufficient for managing a business. Moreover, they fail to develop the visionary, strategic, and leadership skills necessary to run a successful business... and eventually a franchise system.

2) Busyness:

Many owners confuse activity with accomplishment. They confuse busyness with results, hard work with smart work, perspiration with purpose and efficiency (doing things right) with effectiveness (doing the right things). Instead of working smarter, many owners hold tight to the delusion that working harder and harder is the solution. They keep trying to shift into higher and higher gears. The more the business grows, the harder they work, the more imprisoned they become. No matter how much energy you expend, however, wrong strategies inevitably lead to poor results – less freedom and more headaches. It is like trying to catch fish in a pond with your bare hands. No matter how many hours you work or how deep you wade, a poor strategy leads to poor results – no fish dinner! If you are too busy now with your business, how will you find time to develop and launch a franchise system?

3) Ineffective Leadership & Delegation

Far too many small business owners are, by default, small leaders. This costs them dearly. Instead of leadership, they excel at doer-ship. They are micro-managers who like to touch and control everything. They trust no one but themselves. They believe “no one does it as well as me.” They seldom delegate, if at all. They mistake such busyness for business leadership. Instead of thinking and leading like owners, most think and behave like employees. Instead of reflecting and planning, they excel at sweating and doing. They act like they have a job instead of owning a business. You can’t be a CEO - “Chief Everything Officer” - and expect to develop a franchise system.

4) Inadequate Business Systems

A vast majority of owners don’t know how to design a new business or re-engineer an existing one to be more systems-oriented and professionally equipped with plans, procedures and policies. As a result, entrepreneurs don’t create and document the processes (specific and repeatable ways to do something), procedures and policies that allow for well organized, smoothly running, easier-to-manage companies. Without defining and documenting the specific work that needs to be done, owners can’t delegate effectively and eventually remove themselves from their technical roles. That means owners are forever feeling out of control. Tragically, most entrepreneurs have unknowingly, reactively and accidentally created an owner-centered and owner-dependent company. They are trapped! Before you ever think about franchising your business, you have to create an operations manual for every facet of your business so you can train others how to run your business.

5) Growing Business Complexities:

An organized and growing business, with its increasing number of customers, transactions and problems, will eventually crush a business not properly designed and prepared to handle such growth. Without effective leadership and adequate business systems (an integrated web of processes), a growing company does not stand a chance. Growing pains will be unavoidable and producing predictable and consistent results will be nearly impossible. By failing to plan for growth, you are, by default, planning to fail.

Which of these common traps do YOU need to focus on correcting before you will be ready to franchise your business?

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