Written by
Matt Frentheway

9 Skills for Thriving as an Executive Franchise Owner

Many of the franchise candidates I work with are transitioning from a corporate role, military service, or other leadership position.

If you're coming from one of these backgrounds, your skills will be a key ingredient for your success as a franchisee.

To manage a team and make good decisions, you're going to need both hard skills (like financial literacy, marketing, management) and soft skills (like problem-solving, effective communication, and leadership).

Here is a list of key skills that will help you flourish as an executive franchise owner.

1. Commitment to Learning

Each franchise brand offers unique systems and cultures. Embracing a learning mindset is crucial, regardless of your background. Success in franchising requires:

  • Openness to new knowledge and practices
  • Willingness to follow franchisor-provided training and resources
  • A commitment to always adapt to new best practices

Franchising is about leveraging a proven business system. You're not going to enjoy success unless you follow the system.

In addition to learning franchise systems, knowing business fundamentals is also important. However, if you have any weaknesses you can always catch up. You can learn almost anything on YouTube, books, and online courses.

What is your weakness? And what can you do to improve?

2. Strategic Thinking

As a franchise executive owner, you're more focused on the big picture than daily operations.

You'll want to develop a strategic mindset. This will allow you to:

  • Align your franchise units with broader market opportunities
  • Plan for long-term growth and scalability
  • Make informed decisions to navigate a competitive landscape

It's ok if your past roles were more operational. Many of my candidates come from an operations background.

You can learn strategic thinking from books (I can recommend a few), mentorship, and practice.

3. Financial Acumen

You don’t need to be an accountant, but understanding the financial basics of your business is important. Essential financial skills include:

  • Checking numbers, including reading and understanding your P&L statement
  • Maintaining your finances, including keeping records, monitoring your bank accounts, and paying bills
  • Staying financially accountable, including adhering to your goals and making informed decisions

If you can manage your franchise units effectively from a financial standpoint, you'll do better at staying in business and growing your business.

4. Hiring and Leadership

The strength of your team directly influences your franchise's success. Effective hiring and leadership includes:

  • Recruiting managers and staff who align with your vision and the franchise's culture
  • Communicating strategy and expectations clearly
  • Building a positive, productive work environment by engaging with your employees on a personal level and showing appreciation
  • Communicating your franchise's "why" – motivating through meaning, not just money – to create a sense of shared mission among your team members

Inspiring leaders connect work to a greater purpose.

When you and your team are driven by a common goal that’s bigger than one person, everyone get committed to your business's success. You'll get stronger loyalty and better effort from each person on your team.

In short, get good at hiring and inspiring. 😊

5. Perseverance

To own any business, you're going to need to get good at persevering. In my experience as an owner of multiple business, it's a skill you'll use almost every week!

Perseverance includes:

  • Overcoming challenges and setbacks
  • Learning from challenges and turning failures into helpful takeaways
  • Maintaining focus and driving towards your long-term goals

Perseverance keeps you going. You'll need that!

6. Decisiveness

As a franchisee, you'll face decisions weekly. These can be small operational tweak or strategic pivots.

It's important to be decisive. This doesn't mean making impulsive judgements. It means:

  • Cultivating the confidence to choose a course and commit to it
  • Acknowledging your decision-making style and working to overcome its limitations
  • Seeing both your vision and your daily operations – the forest and the trees

You steer the ship.

7. Accountability

You're at the helm. You're accountable to your family, the franchisor, your employees, and your customers. (No wonder many people do NOT want to own a business!)

To me, accountability entails:

  • Owning the outcomes of your decisions and actions
  • Approaching challenges with a solutions-focused mindset
  • Seeking improvement and constantly asking, "How can I do better?"

If you don't want the responsibility, you shouldn't own a business.

On the other hand, if you don't mind responsibility, and you like setting and achieving goals, then you might love owning a business.

A positive, proactive mindset is enormously helpful here. As a franchisee, it helps if you enjoy both the freedom and responsibility of owning a business.

8. Humility

Humility is important because it builds an environment where people are comfortable acknowledging mistakes and learning from them.

Humility involves:

  • Recognizing you don't have all the answers
  • Being open to learning
  • Valuing your franchisor’s support system and the insights of your peers
  • Encouraging a culture where everyone, including you, can grow and improve

Stay humble, and you'll earn your team's respect. You'll also build a great, growth-oriented work culture.

9. Integrity

Companies fall apart without integrity.

Integrity means:

  • Following honest and ethical business practices
  • Being consistent with actions and decisions, thus reinforcing trust

Operating with integrity will make your franchise a place where employees want to work and customers want to do business. This creates a virtuous cycle of success.

If you're lacking in certain areas, don't be discouraged. Resources are available, from local business courses to online learning platforms, to help you build the necessary skills.

Self Assessment

So what do you think? Do you have what it takes?

  • How do you feel about taking charge and making decisions?
  • Are you ready to learn and adapt your skills for business ownership?
  • Can you commit the necessary time to nurture and grow your franchise?

If you feel that you lack one or more of the skills we discussed, that's ok. Remember, skills are both innate and developed over time.

If you're still interested in owning a franchise, here is some essential advice:

  • Take time for due diligence. Research multiple business models and choose one that makes sense for you.
  • After you start up, stay involved. Engaging in your business's operations will help you build a solid business.

I would be delighted if you'd like to take a short meeting with me, and see if I may be able to help you find the right franchise for you. I'm here to guide you through the process, answering your questions and helping you assess your readiness.

If you feel nervous about business ownership, that's a sign you're taking this decision seriously. But that shouldn't prevent you from exploring the opportunity!

Matt Frentheway

As a successful franchisee and entrepreneur, I can help you find the best opportunity to realize your dream of being a profitable franchise owner. Using my proven process as a franchise consultant, we’ll define your goals, narrow the field, and select the best franchisor for you to achieve financial freedom.