The franchise that I landed upon (after flirting with many) was one in which I had professional experience. By that I mean, in my pharmaceutical career I sold or managed reps who sold many medications with varying indications. The business that I chose basically allowed me to use my experience within pharma and reinvent it with my new business. My franchise coach made the connection between my past pharma experience and this particular franchise.
So what is the process? First potential franchisees are invited to what is called “Discovery Day”. The franchise that I was interested in had its headquarters out in Palo Alto CA, so I had to travel out there to meet with them. At Discovery Day, it is basically an opportunity for the franchisor to sell potential franchisees on their business model and how great it is. It was a whole new world for me, one in which I was not used to. When I traveled I had to pay for my own hotel room and other travel expenses. This was vastly different from pharma where everything is basically given to you.
At Discovery Day, there were people from all walks of life. There was a guy who owned a few other successful businesses and was looking at this as his next business venture. There was another gentleman who was a physician who saw a need in the marketplace for the services of this particular franchise. There was a brother and sister team that was previously in the hotel business. There was a guy who was a salesperson from some other industry. They were all impressive in their own right but equally as green as I was when it came to this particular business. I must say I prided myself on confidence, but this was a whole different creature than what I was used to. I was nervous but determined. I kept telling myself, “if you want greatness, you must go through moments of complete discomfort”. I was embarking on my growth trajectory and it was damn scary. I also must say that without mincing words, that though I was treated fairly by the pharma company that let me go, I always used my firing as my driving force to prove to them, to myself, and to the world that I can not only start a business but be successful at it.
After Discovery Day a choice had to be made. Either pull the trigger on starting franchise business or go find a job in pharma again. With fear, anxiety but utter determination, I pulled the f’ing trigger and went for it. In order to become a franchisee for any franchise you must buy into it. I went to my local bank and wired the money. It was official…I was now a business owner.
So what is the next steps after pulling the trigger? Here are some of the many tasks I had to figure out:
- Find a retail location
- Start an LLC (you can use any business structure you want…I chose LLC but later changed to a different business entity)
- Get furniture for that retail location (desks, chairs, conference room table, etc.)
- Get computers, printers and phones
- Get City and County Business Licenses
- Get licensed with the governing agency for the industry I chose
- Hire Employees
- Figure out how to market my business
- Get a website
These are just a few of the many, many, many tasks that all of a sudden I was responsible for. I must say that I did not sleep a lot in the beginning. Just the sheer size of it all was overwhelming. But I simply kept getting after each task and one-by-one I accomplished them and checked them off my list.
From the beginning I had a certain amount of funds that I had dedicated to the endeavor. The funds were substantial, but as anyone who has owned a business will tell you, it takes a good amount of money to start and operate a business. When I began, I started seeing the funds dwindle and dwindle. It was absolutely terrifying I must say. You do your best to calm yourself and to not allow fear play a part in anything you do, but it was ever-present. It is now extremely interesting to hear people that have never started and operated a business, see someone that has, that is wildly successful, and say “thats not that hard” or “I can do that”. I call bullsh*t!!! If your so talented than go for it…put your money where your mouth is or shut the hell up!!