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Fear Management for Franchisors

Fear Management is a must for any entrepreneur, but it’s especially important for a franchisor. When you are a business owner with one or a couple of locations, the success – or failure – of your business impacts you, your family, your employees, their families and your community. But when you are leading a franchise system, the impact of your decisions – and your success or failure – is exponentially greater. The stakes are higher, and your franchisees depend on you to help the company grow wisely and successfully.

So, like any business, change is inevitable and so are risks. So, what do you do when fear stops you in your tracks when considering a big decision, project or change? You can’t go into hiding. And if you aren’t moving forward, you are falling behind. Leadership requires bold actions from time to time. To help manage your fears, one tactic is to create three scenarios – a worst-case scenario, a best-case scenario and a most-likely scenario. Few leaders do all three to truly assess the situation.

First, let’s talk about the worst-case scenario… this is where you can face your fears head on and address the most pessimistic side of yourself. Out of habit, most people default to this position - it comes naturally and the mental demons are abundant. But we should do this exercise regardless. Think about all the things that could go wrong and what the worst possible outcome could be for your business and for you. Would the risks you’re taking completely undermine your business? Could you recover from any negative impact? Keep in mind, the worst-case scenario is seldom realistic.

Next, look at the best-case scenario… this is the time to let your dreams run wild. Most people rarely do this. If your risks really pay off, the sky could be the limit. What’s the best thing that could happen if you took this risk? What’s the return on that investment? Could the risk you’re considering make a huge positive impact on your business, your team and your life? Keep in mind, the best-case scenario is also seldom realistic.

Contemplating the worst and the best outcomes help you to recalibrate for reality and for law of averages. It helps you get into a mindset that is much more realistic. So set those two scenarios to the side and think about the most-likely scenario – your middle ground. There will always be things that go wrong and things that go right, so what are the real expectations for the risks you’re about to take? Does that middle ground put you and your business in a better position than you are now? Is the middle ground and most-likely case scenario tolerable enough to allow you to have some comfort, confidence and the ability to move forward? Usually it does.

With those three scenarios, you can put Fear Management into full gear. Are the risks you’re taking and the investment you’re about to make worth it? Does your most-likely scenario still pose a positive outcome for your business and the entire franchise system? If the answer is yes, then it’s time to make that final decision. Be confident in your decision and the associated risks and rewards. And once you’ve made that decision, don’t waste your time worrying. Be decisive and fully take the wheel by the hands and boldly drive your franchise system to a bigger, brighter future with the confidence your franchisees need from you.

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