What are Your Franchisees Afraid of?

Because franchisees go through massive change, they are susceptible to fear. Although fear may manifest differently from person to person, its roots are similar. The seven most common fears experienced by franchisees are:

  1. Fear of failure
  2. Fear of change and of the unknown
  3. Fear of making mistakes and looking like a fool
  4. Fear of rejection
  5. Fear of loss of status
  6. Fear of not making enough money
  7. Fear of isolation 

Fear is a temporary state of being produce by our thoughts. Therefore, fear is not the direct result of our circumstances or experiences but of the thoughts that these engender in us. Fear results in anxiety, stress, unhappiness, anger, lack of judgment and inability to act, apathy, or impulsive and wrong action.

Although we can’t control our circumstances, we can control our thoughts. This is not easy as most of our thinking patterns are unconscious; and, under stress, these patterns go wild. Some franchisees will be able to learn to manage their thoughts, and therefore fears, on their own while others will need your support.

The key to dissolving fears is to ask questions, to inquire as to the validity of the thought that is causing the frightful state of mind. You can assist your franchisees by following these simple steps:

  1. State the circumstance
  2. State the interpretation given to these conditions
  3. Find one instance or more when the interpretation is not true

For example: Your franchisee is in a state of fear. You realize he is not showing the motivation he needs to succeed and are concerned about him. After talking with him for a while he says that the poor economy is going to drive him out of business. You look at his numbers and see that although he has seen a decline in business he is still making it. You take him through the 3 steps:

  1. State the circumstance: The economy is a mess
  2. State the interpretation given to these conditions: I am going to fail because the economy is a mess
  3. Find one instance or more when the interpretation is not true: I made a profit last month

Then you ask him to interpret all of the facts together, that is: the economy is a mess and he made a profit last week. Possible interpretations are:

  1. In spite of the poor economy, I made a profit last month.
  2. My sales are lower than they’ve been before, which reflects the poor economic times.
  3. I have been making less money this year than in previous years.

All of these three interpretations are truer than the first one. None of them imply failure because they are based on the facts, and not on fearful thoughts. Although the franchisee may still not be happy with the decline of his business, taking the fear of failure out of the equation will allow him to act and you can take him to problem solving easily by asking more questions. Good next question include: What can you do to increase sales? What creative ways can you come up with to reduce some of your expenses?

 Please share your story.


  1. Lizette, I think you are spot on with your list of seven fears. It is amazing how much time, effort and energy people put into avoiding their fears instead of tackling them head on. When you’re able to redirect your fears and anxiety into moving forward, it not only builds confidence, but repositions your business for greater success.

    You also put together some great advice for deflating those fears and putting them back into perspective. Doom and gloom sells in the news, but it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy when running a small business.