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Is now the right time to give up your job and buy a franchise?

Written by Cathryn Hayes on Thursday, 09 September 2021. Posted in Insight

With the end of the furlough support scheme in the UK in September, many people have predicted a rise in redundancies. However, this is counterbalanced by an increase in job vacancies across the UK so we may not see the predicted loss of jobs overall.

Is now the right time to give up your job and buy a franchise?

With the end of the furlough support scheme in the UK in September, many people have predicted a rise in redundancies. However, this is counterbalanced by an increase in job vacancies across the UK so we may not see the predicted loss of jobs overall. 

In other business news, the debate over whether companies should bring everyone back to the office and stop staff working from home has been discussed at great length, with strong views on either side.

What these things have in common though, is the lack of control you may feel you have over your working life and this has really come home to many over the last 12 – 18 months as the pandemic took over our lives.

It seems that many people are taking this opportunity for a reset, to think clearly about what they want to do with the rest of their working lives, rather than having to follow an agenda set by others.

Franchising has seen a surge of interest as it offers a way of getting into business for yourself but with the support and training that will help to provide a strong launch, as well as a much better chance of success.

However, running your own business is not for everyone, you will need to be highly self-motivated and prepared to roll your sleeves up and get on with whatever needs doing!

Here are some key areas you should consider before handing in your resignation:

How much capital have you got available? And how much do you need to take out as drawings/salary to cover your personal living expenses? 

When you start a new venture, you will need to build up sales, control cash flow and that could mean that you may not be able to take out the amount you are currently earning. The business could take some time to reach breakeven and profitability, so it is essential that you have enough funding at the outset. The banks will normally look favourably on franchise lending requests but will want to look at a detailed business plan. 

What sort of business are you looking for? 

Are you looking for a business you can run from home rather than have a premises or van based business? Do you want to be the ‘owner operator’, working alone or do you want to use your management skills and experience to have a team working for you? Costs vary widely, so look for something within your investment level as well as something you will enjoy doing.

Carrying out plenty of research is vital, even more so in uncertain economic times.

There is lots of advice and guidance available, with the British Franchise Association on hand to help. They offer a free online course, the Prospect Franchisee Certificate (https://www.thebfa.org/free-online-training/) which provides a strong grounding in the basics of franchising and will help you to focus on the key areas to research.

Ask franchisors to outline how they supported their franchisees throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. 

A number of businesses had to shut their doors altogether during lockdown but the franchisors who focused on providing support for their franchisees should have regular communications in place to help keep a positive mindset in the network. They may have reduced or paused fees and charges as well as assisting with grants and the furlough processes for franchisees’ staff where appropriate.

Don’t be taken in by over-hyped marketing claims. Most franchises will have felt the impact of the pandemic depending on the industry sector but some businesses are highly dependent on levels of customer spending. Think about the customer base and capacity for repeat business. Could the product or service you will be providing be viewed as luxury spend? Is there a seasonal impact to the business?

Buying a franchise is not the ‘easy option’, you will need a tenacious and determined approach to succeed and will still need to work hard. The most important aspect is to find a franchise that you are enthusiastic and excited to take on, as you will need to fully commit to the new venture. 

However, franchising gives best of both worlds, offering training and support but you are still your own boss, setting your own goals and priorities and deciding your own timescales as well as making more time for yourself and your family.  

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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