What does it mean to be in business for yourself but not by yourself?

You often hear a familiar refrain in franchising that says you’re in business for yourself, not by yourself, but what exactly does that mean for franchisees?

The simple answer is that when you enter a franchise, you get almost unlimited amounts of guidance from the franchisor, but it goes even beyond that. If you were to open your own business from scratch, you could still get guidance from the innumerable small business programs that the federal and the various provincial governments provide.

What a franchisor offers goes beyond mere guidance. Franchises don’t just pop up overnight. A business doesn’t decide to franchise unless they’ve been in business for years and have seen their business model produce successful results on a consistent basis.

That’s the main difference when joining a franchise. You will not only receive guidance, you will get what is more akin to a business blueprint to follow for setting up and running your business.


Even before you get involved with a franchise, they will vet you to make sure you are a good fit for them and they are a good fit for you (a process that FranNet helps with by matching franchisees with franchisors).

This process is beneficial for you because even if you think you are a good fit for a certain industry, a franchisor may find that you lack the requisite passion or skills to be successful in that industry and can help to point you in a different direction where you would have a greater chance at success.

An independent business owner might plow ahead and find out the hard way that they’re not cut out for a certain industry, losing a lot of time and money in the process.


If a franchisor does find that you are a good fit for them, they will provide you with training and will likely also train your managers. Many franchises also provide training materials and online courses so you can, in turn, train your employees.

When you go into business by yourself, you have to learn everything on your own and it’s up to you to come up with your own training regimen, which often takes a lot of trial and error, something that you get to skip over when you’re in a franchise.

Grand Opening

Grand openings are tricky. They may actually make or break your business. Make a big splash and ingratiate yourself to your neighbourhood and you will get that crucial running start you need to stay alive. Fail to make an impression or make the wrong one and you may not get enough momentum to carry you through the tough first years of establishing a bond of trust with customers.

In a franchise, they will hold your hand and walk you through the crucial grand opening. It’s something they’ve done before — sometimes hundreds of times — and they know how to do it right. There will be no guessing about what type of marketing to do or how much to spend, etc. The franchisor will have a grand opening formula to follow that has proven successful in the past.

Branding & Marketing

Perhaps the biggest difference between independent and franchised businesses is the branding and marketing aspect. When you go into business by yourself, you have to start the whole process of building your brand on your own and you have to learn through expensive trial and error what marketing and promotion works best to do that.

On the other hand, when you join a franchise, you already have an established brand that has been promoted using marketing that has gone through the aforementioned trial and error process. Depending on how widespread the brand is, you may also get the benefit of national or regional marketing efforts for the entire brand.

The difference between going into business for yourself and by yourself is that when you go it alone, you are stumbling through a dimly lit maze. You may come out the other side, but there is a much greater chance that you’ll get lost. When you join a franchise and go into business for yourself, the maze is well lit and you have guideposts at every step of the way. Success isn’t 100% guaranteed, but it’s much more likely than if you choose to be an independent entrepreneur.

If you are ready to go into business for yourself with the help of a franchise, your first step is finding the right one and FranNet can help you with that. Sign up for a free FranNet franchise search and consultation today and let us help you on your way to business ownership and wealth building.

Jul 2, 2018