5 Ways Franchisees Manage - and Overcome - Their Fear of Change

Change is a process, not an isolated event.

Planning and fine-tuning goals can ease the overwhelming pressure—and doubts—that self-employed people experience when they embark on new projects.  

Strategy is essential when finances are limited, says Joel Worthington, president of Mr. Electric.

Franchisees are often hesitant to spend money that would “increase their investment,” Worthington says. For example, if owners aren’t marketing efficiently, they don’t want to spend additional funds on promotions. “If they’re not hitting their numbers, it’s difficult to take money they don’t have with hopes it’s going to get them where they need to be.”  

The same holds true for hiring workers, buying vehicles, leasing space and learning software, Worthington says.  

Expansion requires more investment, Worthington says, pointing out that people often fear—consciously or not—that they won’t be able to handle growth, he says.   

Worthington shares five ways for owners to reduce stress and expand the business:  

  1. Acknowledge the fear, and take action. Anxiety is the opposite of faith, Worthington says. People who are scared don’t believe in themselves, the process or where they are going. Recognize the uncertainty, and have “confidence in faith.” For instance, if someone believes they can run 10 miles and they take action, they’ll probably achieve their goal, says Worthington. “If they believe they can’t step out, they will shrink back.” Faith and confidence drive activity, he says.

  2. Understand the difference between emotion and logic. Eighty percent of decisions are based on emotions, Worthington says. Someone who wants a new car might emotionalize a goal by picturing themselves in their dream car. How would they look and “feel” pulling up to a client meeting in a spiffy new vehicle?  The logical mind then kicks in, Worthington says. Logic points out that the old transmission is noisy and a breakdown is imminent. “We usually justify our emotion with logic, which builds confidence,” he adds.  

  3. Create a compelling vision. Clear mental images are crucial to success, Worthington says. “If you’re afraid it won’t pan out and you’re focused on a big picture of financial ruin, you’re looking at the wrong thing. You must think: ‘This is where I want to be, and I need to change to get there.’” If the vision isn’t compelling enough, fear will triumph, says Worthington. Meditate on what you want, he says.

  4. Talk it through with another owner. Worthington encourages folks to connect with Neighborly franchisees who have had similar experiences. Get the supporting facts and understand the numbers from someone who has taken that same journey. “It’s the only way to find out the facts.” Learning about how they worked through the process and “how their investment paid off” is beneficial.

  5. Set goals. Worthington credits Robert Tunmire, vice president of franchise development at Neighborly, for helping owners and executives alike to reach their goals. Write down specifics about how much money you want and the kind of business—and home—you desire. Then perform a “SWOT” analysis to evaluate strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Fear can arise when there’s not a thorough plan, Worthington says. Take the time to overcome the obstacles with a well-thought-out strategy.


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