In most franchise situations, the franchisor supplies a system and its well-established brand. For their part, the franchisee then plugs into that system and brand with financing and a heavy dose of blood, sweat and (quite possibly) tears.
With most franchises, the franchisee does not necessarily need to have prior experience with the franchise or its line of business. For example, a former business executive can do quite well sliding into a yogurt concept, a sign business or hair salon, even if she was never more than a customer to any of these businesses. More or less, it is the system and brand (coupled with the financing and effort) that ensures success.
Professional services franchises, however, are a unique situation. Again, the franchisor supplies a system plus a brand and the franchisee provides financing and effort. Generally, however, it takes more than that to ensure that the franchise goes. The franchisee also needs to bring a brand to the equation.
Returning to the example, the former business banker decides to purchase a franchise related to being a contract CFO, she needs to tap into her prior life to achieve success.
First, someone purchasing a professional service franchise generally needs to draw on their relevant experience. Following the example, the former banker purchasing a contract CFO franchise will needs to tap into her understanding of finance, business transactions as well as debits and credits.
In addition to relevant experience to draw upon, those who embark on a professional services franchise ought to have a personal brand as well. In short, not only does it help for them to be good at the underlying required skill set, but the franchisee should also be known for that.
Revisiting the example once again, if the former business banker is well known in the community for having a financial acumen, she will be even further ahead. First, she will be able to capitalize on the franchisors system and brand. Next, she will have the intellectual ability to fit into the system well. On top of that, she will have the reputation within the community that will enable others to trust her in this new venture.
To make the most of the professional services franchise, however, prospective franchisees need to not only buy into the right system and brand, but they also must have certain technical abilities and a quality personal brand of their own.