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Franchise Choice and Shiny Things

By: Bill Bradley


Some people call it “Bright Shiny Object Syndrome” and some just say they’re easily distracted by shiny things, but most of us can recognize the phenomenon. Sometimes we get distracted by the newest, the coolest, the most popular—or just the thing that pops up most in our social media or on our favorite TV news channel.

Some of us always find the shiniest new object tempting. Some of us just don’t trust ourselves, or figure that the most popular thing in media will also be the most popular with customers. We might like the feeling of being ahead of the curve. If you always look for the newest idea, though, and are easily distracted from the path you’re on when something else runs across that path, you might suffer from BSOS—Bright Shiny Object Syndrome.

That can mean that you change your mind every few weeks about what kind of franchise business opportunity to pursue, or that you focus on popularity and what the media says when you research a franchise business opportunity.

How can you avoid BSOS while still keeping up with the newest developments?

Be thorough when you follow shiny things.

Consumers have been trending toward fresh foods for years. A restaurant franchise with a focus on fresh foods is probably a good idea right now. An all-kale menu? Probably not. The current passion for kale will fade like the oat bran fixation of the past and kale will return to its usual place in the salad bar.

Distinguishing between trends and fads is not always easy, but it’s worth the effort. Bear in mind that it can be profitable for someone to make their fads look extra shiny, too, so check out more than one source of information before you decide.

Be realistic.

Shiny things are often less appealing in the light of day, so take that shiny new idea and do a little thought experiment. Imagine how the shiny thing would work in your real life and give serious thought to the resources you have, and to the number of shiny objects you are already juggling.

If you’re working toward getting a fitness franchise up and running, and then you see how popular mobile dog groomers are, you might have to choose between the two ideas. On the other hand, the trendy new automatic spa treatment franchises could be a good fit alongside a gym or exercise studio. Just be sure that you have the time, money, and energy for both.

Don’t forget to think about your community, as well. If the trend that catches your eye is big with younger consumers, check the stats for your neighborhood. College town with lots of companies that hire young workers? Good choice. If your neighbors are all Baby Boomers, though, you might be better off with something different.

Be true to yourself.

Still thinking about that kale-centered restaurant? How much do you like kale?

That might be an extreme example, but it makes sense to consider how much passion you have for the idea, how well it fits with your values, and how far it will move you toward your eventual goals.

Those are questions you always should consider, but they’re also a good antidote to BSOS.

This article was originally published by America’s Best Franchises

Published: September 2, 2014

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Bill Bradley

Bill Bradley is founding member and CEO of America’s Best Franchises, LLC.  Bill founded three financial services firms, Ocean Shores Ventures, Denali International and William Bradley Enterprises. In addition, to launching America’s Best Franchises in 2005, Bill orchestrated approximately 20 private equity transactions in excess of $31 million, and launched five specific purpose private equity partnerships.

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