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Intrepreneur or Entrepreneur?

August 6, 2009
Quite often you hear people talking about franchisees as entrepreneurs. They are wrong! True entrepreneurs will die of frustration in a franchise system because they want to do everything their own way.
If you really look at the type of person it takes to be successful in most franchise situations, what is really needed is an intrepreneur.
Entrepreneurs tend to be highly independent.
They take a lot of risks and don’t need anyone to motivate them. Intrepreneurs are self-managers as well. One huge difference though is that they like to work within guidelines in concert with other people. Intrepreneurs can be creative within a structure. The entrepreneur needs to create his or her own structure.
Entrepreneurs get bored quickly.
Usually within a year or so they will attempt to find excuses to get out of the system. Or even worse, they stay and start changing your system. These people can absolutely drive you nuts! They believe that they know better than you do how to run your business.
Of course, the more units the franchisee owns, the more entrepreneurial the franchisee needs to be. However, there are still limits. The individual must still feel comfortable working within the system. The last thing you want is for someone who owns 30 or more locations to suddenly veer off in a direction totally different from the rest of the company.
Going too far the other way is even worse. Selecting people that are not entrepreneurial enough can be a huge drain on your company’s resources. They like to be in constant contact with head office and seek approval for every little change they are contemplating.
Here’s an analogy
I use this analogy to help describe the three different levels of independence.
Imagine you have just hired an individual and are showing them their office.
The employee type
You take them to the office, open the door to their work area and everything is laid out for them. You tell them not to move things around at all and they go in and do the job and they are happy.
The intrepreneur
You take them to the office, walk them down the hall to a pile of furniture and supplies piled up outside the door. Unlock the door and tell them to go in and set things up the way they want. To use some creativity within the structure and they are happy.
The entrepreneur
You walk them over to your vacant lot and tell them to build the office building and they are happy.
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