Want to remain in your chosen sector but feel stuck in a rut? Franchising could provide the answer. Unlike starting a business from scratch, becoming a franchisee is a proven, predictable way for you to take control of your career whilst simultaneously increasing your levels of personal and professional satisfaction.
And, although a franchise will have its own vision, mission and values, you have the opportunity to invest in a business which aligns with your own ethics and career ambitions.
The beauty of franchising in a nutshell is that you are ‘in business for yourself but never by yourself’. This means you will have access to essential training, ongoing support and business management from your franchisor, designed to help you to flourish in your new role. For those feeling isolated in their employment or stunted in their development prospects, the idea of constant collaboration, strategic mentoring and operational best practice is understandably seductive.
With a staggering 60% of new, independent businesses failing in the first three years1, it is no wonder budding entrepreneurs are wary of making the leap from a steady, albeit staid, career into business ownership. Here again is where franchising comes into its own.
By sharp contrast, 80% of new franchise businesses succeed in the first five years, with around 710,000 franchisees bringing in more than £15 billion for the UK economy each year2. There are around 48,000 franchise units in operation in the UK, and 93% of franchise owners say they profit from their business3 – proving an investment in a franchise can not only transform your lifestyle, but your finances too. And, as the owner of your very own business, you’ll be able to have more flexibility around when you work, improving that all important work-life balance.
Out of the rut and into the stars
Sometimes, we think we’re in a career ‘rut’ when really we’ve fallen out of love with an industry or profession entirely. In this situation, even a forward step with a new company, a promotion or an increased salary can feel like a sideways one. If you find that’s the case then perhaps it’s time to consider a new career entirely?
Franchising can help you to make this seemingly enormous move relatively easily. As most franchisors will proudly tell you, there’s often no requirement for you to have previous business experience in their area. This isn’t a cause for concern as full training is provided, along with access to systems, marketing strategies and customer service journeys that have been tried, tested and refined for years or, in some cases, decades. All you have to do is bring the passion, energy and willingness to learn and a commitment to follow the model.
People from all walks of life have gone on to find their career and financial freedom through franchising – from former businesswomen turned business coaches, to primary school teachers who have come to own their very own baby sensory classes. Bloom Baby Classes is just one example of a flourishing franchise which helps its franchisees to reach their full potential.
If you’ve hit a wall because your employer won’t – or can’t – invest in you, and that’s a hard boundary for you, then you could well be the kind of person suited to business ownership. Franchise systems have built-in development tracks for franchisees which you can take advantage of.
As a franchisee you should discuss your career plans and goals openly with your franchisor, working with them on a one-to-one basis to ensure you feel fulfilled in your role. When setting goals, why not try the SMART method? The acronym, which stands for specific, measurable, agreed-upon, realistic, time-based goals, helps individuals to reach achievable milestones through an established working timeline. Understand precisely what you want to achieve, who it will benefit and how you will measure the goal, making sure your target has a deadline. Improving your career requires commitment, regular evaluations and motivation – ensuring your goals are in line with these considerations will help you steadily grow as a franchisee.
Planes, trains and automobiles
Want to know one of the best things about owning your franchise? You can ditch the commute. With the right franchise, being the boss of your own business means you can decide where you run it from – at home in your slippers or outdoors in the sunshine. And the benefits don’t end with no commute. You’ll often find travel time slashed and time away from home more or less a thing of the past. For some, the absolute icing on the cake when starting a new venture from home is being able to kiss goodbye to those dreaded office politics.
Growing your franchise from home also allows you to have the working set-up that best suits you. In an office you can be subject to office chitchat, uncomfortable desk chairs and a strict dress code whereas at home you will have free rein to create an environment that helps you increase your productivity. Whilst a perk to working in a communal office is the interaction with other people, this can be transferred to your new structure – just head to a local coffee shop or take time during the week to catch up with friends and loved ones if you want some company instead. Working from home can also do wonders for your health, allowing you more freedom to exercise or move your body if you are in need of a break during the day.
Have you ever thought your career is in a rut because of the people you work with? The very act of joining a franchise network enters you into a community of like-minded professionals, all of whom are singing from the same hymn sheet and share the same common goals and aspirations.
From joint ventures that make a difference in your local community to sharing advice and encouragement to overcome any roadblocks along the way, being part of a franchise network ensures you’re never alone. And as well as having colleagues on hand to help overcome challenges, you’re now part of a network – often referred to as a franchise family – who will champion your successes and be your biggest cheerleaders as you reach key milestones.
As the owner of your business, you will also be in charge of who joins your team and can foster the same kind of collaborative environment. Managing, and working within, a group of people who hold the same vision and values will make it much easier to help your franchise grow.
A good franchisor will understand that communication is key – in a successful franchise partnership, there should always be an open channel for ideas and feedback, positive and negative, to flow. Building and maintaining a great relationship with the head office team of your brand is essential for your own personal development as well as the growth of your business. If you’re hoping to turn your owner-operator franchise into a management model (in line with the franchisors’ growth plan) or expand into multiple territories, being an active and engaged member of your network is a must. Reciprocity is a great mindset to have – give a little, get a lot. This level of support isn’t limited to established franchisees either, as many franchisors have a ‘buddy’ system or mentoring programme in place for new members from day one.
The work-life conundrum
Post pandemic, many people’s priorities or realisations about what they want for their lives have changed. Instead of a relentless 9-5, Monday-Friday slog, as a franchise owner you often have the freedom and flexibility to design a work-life balance that truly suits you and your family, from no longer missing key celebrations to not having to take holiday to cover family admin such as medical appointments or school activities and having the time to pursue other passions. Being the owner of a franchise can add to your quality of life.
This ability to exercise more control over your work schedule will inevitably lead you to focus on your personal life more than you ever could as an employee, with the understanding that in general, any hours lost can be made up at evenings and weekends. But do be careful – the complete absence of structure to a working day can mean your productivity levels slip. To ensure this doesn’t happen, stick to some form of routine and have a to-do list for every day – you’ll be surprised how much more you can get done. As with any business, you’ll get out what you put in. To make the most of this new opportunity, prioritise both work and play by utilising business plans and key strategies supplied by your franchisor. And remember, the numbers don’t lie, so monitor your results against your business plan on a monthly basis and if things aren’t going to plan, this would be the first area in which to look for cracks.
In most cases, there’s literally no limit to what you can achieve, and many women go on to build multi-unit, multi-territory business empires with the support and guidance of their franchisor. Whatever the rut you find yourself in, it’s highly likely that franchising can offer you a solution.