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4 Skills Athletes Can Transfer into the Franchising World

Not all athletes will make great franchisees, but the ones that do usually possess the four skills outlined below.

Many “Average Joes” put professional athletes on a pedestal. They have reached the highest possible level in their craft by putting their blood, sweat and tears into their sport. If a professional athlete can reach the NBA, NFL, MLB, etc., does this achievement mean that athletes can be successful in any other facet of life? In particular, if an athlete enters the franchising world, will he or she see success?

“Not all athletes will make great franchisees. That is a misconception in the franchising world. Many people think that a professional athlete will see great success, but that is not always the case,” said Stan Friedman of FRM Solutions in an interview with 1851 Franchise. Friedman co-founded the Professional Athlete Franchise Initiative with the IFA and has guided many athletes into their franchising careers post professional sports. However, there are many athletes that can do well in franchising.

“Professional athletes have transferable skills that will allow them to find success in franchising,” says Friedman.

Following are four such skills athletes can transfer into the franchising world:

1. They have a team spirit mentality.

In professional sports, a team can be loaded with the best talent but otherwise selfish players. This can create difficulties finding success on the field, court, etc. Being able to work as a team is one of the most important traits in any sport at any level. The same goes for franchising. If a franchisee cannot work well with his or her employees, then the franchise will lose business and fail. A franchisee is very similar to a coach and must be able to utilize the talent and skill set provided by the employees to reach peak business success.

2. They avoid distraction.

Professional athletes deal with many distractions both on and off the field. In order to be successful, they must be able to put the blinders on and “avoid the naysayers and shouting,” explained Friedman. The same goes for franchising, especially within the first two years. Successful franchisees are able to concentrate on their business and veer away from the unnecessary distractions such as unsound business plans or fads or focusing on what they will be doing with their success before it is even reached.

3. They focus on execution.

Friedman explained that athletes “have been given a position on the court or on the field. They have been told to execute that said position with improvement every game.” Athletes have a knack for taking what is drawn up in the playbook, and putting it into motion on the field. In franchising that “playbook” is the FDD and/or operations manual. In order to be successful in franchising, one must follow the business model to a “T” and must remember that it has been successful many times before.  

4. They overcome adversity.

A popular term in the sports world is grit. Grit is the trait within someone to overcome adversity. In an interview with 1851 Franchise, Tyoka Jackson NFL Defensive Lineman, ESPN Broadcaster and International House of Pancakes Franchisees weighs in on the value of grit in business:

“It’s very important. There have been problems and setbacks in business that have made me seriously consider throwing in the towel. I think back to when the alarm would go off at 6 am for the first of two practices and you are quickly trying to figure out how you are going to walk to the bathroom to brush your teeth when your legs are so sore and tired from yesterday’s two practices reminds me that I’m built for this. All successful football players have grit because it exposes you early on when you don’t.”

Owning a franchise is a lot of work, but business owners must remember that they started the business with a purpose and are built for it. Possessing the four qualities listed above will lead anyone, not just professional athletes, closer to success.