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How to be a successful franchisee: 3 Myths about franchising you need to dispel!

Written by Cathryn Hayes on Friday, 05 February 2021. Posted in Analysis

2020 was a challenging year that for many, has crystalised their thoughts about wanting to start their own business.

How to be a successful franchisee: 3 Myths about franchising you need to dispel!

2020 was a challenging year that for many, has crystalised their thoughts about wanting to start their own business. Some are making a change due to redundancy or a period of time on furlough, others through having more time to take stock and think about taking control of their own future.

But making the move from corporate life to the world of the small business owner, especially as a start-up operation, can be a tough journey to navigate. This is especially true if you have reached a senior level in your chosen career, where you may be used to having staff to delegate work to and have moved away from being ‘an operator’ to being a ‘supervisor’.  There will be some adjustment to a new way of life, as you become the person responsible for everything in your new business, so taking some time to consider some of myths around becoming a franchisee is worth doing.

Myth 1 - Everything is done for you, you are buying a ‘business in a box’. This does have elements of truth. A good franchise will come with initial training, support in finding premises if appropriate, help with business planning, recruiting staff, finding finance and more. But of course, you will need to bring your full commitment and energy in order to get your new venture successfully launched. You will not be able to sit back and watch without any input or hard work. 

Myth 2 – No-one will ‘tell you what to do’. One of the reasons you may have wanted to leave corporate life was to take control and be your own boss. And indeed, if you buy a franchise, you will be! However, a good franchisor will be helping and supporting you in the early days of your business and that will sometimes mean that you will be given strong guidance. For instance, at Revive! we have weekly and monthly objectives for new franchisees and hold them accountable for their planned activity, with frequent contact and challenging conversations if the right actions are not being taken. Otherwise, they may not get their new business venture launched as successfully as it could be. So, at the start of your journey as a franchisee, get yourself into a ‘learner’ mindset, take on board the help and guidance on offer, which after all, is no doubt one of the reasons you bought your franchise in the first place.

Myth 3 – No more rules to follow. Again, leaving the bureaucracy of corporate life will bring elements of freedom which will be attractive to many. However, successful franchising is based on a tried and tested structure and format which all franchisees need to follow so you will need to understand and accept the restrictions this incurs. 

Now that those myths have been dispelled, what should you do to be a successful franchisee?

Exactly how your business grows will vary enormously depending on your chosen franchise and the industry sector you will be operating in but strong operators have some similarities.

Here are my ‘three Cs’ for successful franchisees:

  • Choose wisely! In order to be successful as a franchisee, first you have to choose the right franchise for you. Think carefully about the type of business you will enjoy running and research the franchisor and the industry sector thoroughly. My previous articles for Elite Franchise have covered this in some more detail and there is plenty of advice if you are still at the very early stages of looking into franchising and whether it is right for you.
  • Communicate. You should have plenty of contact with your franchisor, especially as your new franchise is launching. There will be catch up calls, visits, more training scheduled so take advantage of all this support. But there will be times when perhaps you have made a mistake, or not followed some advice you should have, or just that you feel too busy and want to get your head down to get on with your work. However, don’t cut off your communication lines with your franchisor and their support team. Even if you have made an error or missed a deadline, or even upset a customer, it is highly likely that your franchisor will have seen it all before and will know how to help you get back on track. Keep talking and ask for help.
  • Contribute and join in! Being a team player is vital in franchising. It may be a well-worn cliché, but you get out what you put in. Although you will be new to your franchise business and in need of support and help from people around you, you will also have skills and experience in your previous roles which may mean you can offer help and support to others. Get to know your fellow franchisees as they will be another source of support. The camaraderie of being part of a supportive and engaged network is a real strength of franchising.

Franchising can offer a way forward after corporate life, as well as an opportunity to take on new challenges with more control as a business owner. If owning your own business and proving yourself in a new environment appeals, take the time to look into franchising and the range of opportunities available.

About the Author

Cathryn Hayes

Cathryn is franchise director at Revive! Auto Innovations and has over 20 years of franchising experience. She was previously head of franchising at HSBC, as well as head of business support at the British Franchise Association. She has a high profile within the franchise industry, contributing regular articles to the franchise press and other business media. For many years she was a judge for the BFA/HSBC Franchise Awards.

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