While franchisees act as independent business owners, it is their connection to a wider community that allows them to stand so tall
Franchising is the fastest growing and most consistently successful way to deliver products and services. It’s a crazy mixture of conformity and individuality that combines the best elements of big business and small operations. Rather than waking up in the middle of the night and shouting ‘Eureka! I must become a franchisee’, people come to the conclusion that they want to run their own business over a period of time for a whole host of different reasons. Top of the list has to be taking control of your destiny and becoming your own boss. Other motivators include being rewarded directly for your own efforts, building a valuable capital asset, learning new skills and perhaps establishing a business that could provide employment for other family members.
Successful franchises can come from all walks of life. Within our own franchise brands individuals previous experience ranges from cattle ranching in Patagonia to being a greengrocer in Chiswick. What they all have in common is a desire to succeed, a willingness and propensity to work hard and an understanding of the fact that the franchise model and systems should be followed to the letter.
However, running your own independent business can be lonely and expensive. If you set up your own business you are responsible for every aspect, whereas with franchising you get all the benefits of owning your own business backed up by a raft of head-office support services. In addition to giving you access to the all-important brand, the franchisor is there to provide experience, know-how, proven operation methods, marketing tools, sales training, technical guidance as well as a corporate identity and trademarks. Not only this, once you have set up your franchised business you will be able to network with other franchisees to share best practice and advice. And by being part of a bigger group of people, you'll be able to enjoy economies of scale when it comes to buying services and supplies for the business and benefit from the research and development and business updates carried out for the brand by head office.
So, are there any disadvantages to being a franchisee? If you set up your own business you can do whatever you want but as the owner of a franchise territory you have to sign a legally binding franchise agreement and meet the expectations of the franchisor. It is important to be honest in all dealings, make the most out of the franchisor’s systems and work hard to build high levels of repeat business. There’s no point in becoming a franchisee if you are the type of person who likes to do your own thing and not be part of a bigger network. Mavericks do not make good franchisees.
Franchising is not for everyone but there is an overwhelming case to be made in its favour. One thing remains absolutely true about franchising – it allows you to be in business for yourself but not by yourself.