Franchisees are a Type of Entrepreneur
Are Franchisees Entrepreneurs?
This question debated often, but we see a clear answer. First and foremost, YES, franchisees are entrepreneurs. They are simply a ’type’ of entrepreneur. Just as there are different types of sports, trees, homes and automobiles, there are different types of entrepreneurs. Somewhere in the 1990’s the term ‘entrepreneur’ became associated with hi-tech start-ups and higher levels of investment and technology. And yes, people initiating businesses in those areas are certainly entrepreneurs. But so is the restaurateur, the printer, the shoemaker, and all people who start a business.
Entrepreneur by Definition
The word ‘entrepreneur’ is derived from the French ‘entreprendre’, which translates ‘to undertake’. So, in its most basic form, any business start-up is an undertaking; an entrepreneurial effort. Are there different levels of effort, investment, independence and risk? Of course, and those elements would vary not only among the types of businesses chosen, but among the various individuals taking those risks.
One resource that deals with various types of entrepreneurs is The Focus Program for Emerging Entrepreneurs. This self-study guide helps people decide which, if any, business might be an appropriate choice. A key section of the Focus Program is an analysis of different types of entrepreneurs based on a person’s ability to tolerate risk and the need for different levels of independence.
While a franchisee is perhaps a less independent than an inventor or start-up restaurant owner outside of a franchised network, that franchisee is till assuming risk with their resources of time and capital. (In fact, and as an aside, franchising in and of itself is not nearly as risk free as many are led to believe.) We see entrepreneurship as a continuum related to the amount of risk and independence assumed by the entrepreneur. Knowing one’s comfort level relative to those factors is obviously an important part of starting a business. Bottom line, franchisees assume risk and they operate as owners of their unit. We consider them entrepreneurs.